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USWNT 1, Japan 0: Team shapes, rotation, roster bubble watch

Japan’s 3-4-3 gave the U.S. trouble, but Mallory Swanson saved the day again. And what did we just learn about the potential World Cup rotation? And the roster?

Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Mallory Swanson did it again on Sunday, and the United States women’s national team defeated Japan, 1-0. The lone tally of the match came moments before halftime, against the run of play.

Swanson has now scored six goals in four matches in 2023, including all three for the U.S. at the SheBelieves Cup.

With the acknowledgement that we could discuss Swanson’s form all day, here are three other talking points from the United States’ victory:

How team shapes dictated play

Japan stuck with an aggressive 3-4-3, just as we saw against Brazil on Thursday, and it gave the United States significant trouble at the outset of the game. It was the high press of Japan, not the U.S., that dictated the tilt of the field in the opening 45 minutes, but once again Japan struggled with the final product in front of net and failed to score, eventually paying for it when Swanson got 1-v-1 with Shiori Miyake.

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