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2019 Women's World Cup

Jill Ellis faces defining midfield decision against France

Photo Copyright Daniela Porcelli

REIMS, France – Lindsey Horan was conspicuously absent from the United States’ women’s national team’s starting lineup on Monday.

The U.S. prevailed 2-1 over Spain in the round-of-16 match, advancing to take on hosts France in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. They did so by the skin of their teeth, enduring an overtly physical Spain side which looked nothing like the team known to be so artful in how it possesses the ball. (The U.S. had the upper hand in both possession and passing.)

As the Americans tried to adjust – prevailing by way of two penalty-kick goals by Megan Rapinoe – the lack of seeming adjustments by U.S. coach Jill Ellis grew increasingly curious. In the 90-plus degree heat, Ellis didn’t make a change until the 85th minute. That it took that long to turn to the bench, when the U.S. clearly needed to adapt to a different look from Spain, almost seemed counter-intuitive to Ellis’ group-stage practice of managing players’ workloads.

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