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2020 Tokyo Olympics

Did the USWNT use the right game plan against Australia?

Daniela Porcelli/ISI Photos

Mixing a healthy dose of pragmatism, defensive organization, and perhaps even fear, the United States women’s national team moved on to the knockout rounds of the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday with an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Australia.

How the USWNT contained Australia, and themselves

With a tie all that was needed to guarantee advancement, U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski lined up the American side in a way previously unseen over his first 25 games in charge.

The U.S. still set up, ostensibly, in a 4-3-3, but this time it more closely resembled a 4-4-2 “empty bucket” with Julie Ertz and Sam Mewis playing as dual No. 6s, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe staying wide and relatively deep on the wings, and Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle completing the shape up top — with Lavelle pushing exceptionally high and into the front line.

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