USWNT started the World Cup year on the right foot, but still figuring it out

Saturday’s launch didn’t go as planned United States women’s national team. Front Alex Morgan felt a tight stretch in his shins and had to be dropped from the starting line-up a few minutes before the first game.

It’s not ideal to lose the team’s top scorer for any reason related to injury. However, this is the kind of crisis management the United States can expect in World Cup in six months. Simulating the World Cup is the whole reason they made the journey to New Zealandwill co-host the summer tournament with Australia.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)

in step Ashley bloomswho hasn’t started in over six months and seems to have slipped down the rankings deep down to third place picked No. 9. With Morgan being pulled from the roster and Sophia SmithMVP of the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League, having been left home with a minor injury, Hatch is next to play on Saturday.

In the 22nd minute, Hatch opened the scoring for America won 5-0 against New Zealand (the second of two friendlies this week between the sides) calmly ended a beautiful combination from the US that developed on the team’s left flank.

“It’s the opportunity everyone wants, to get started for this team,” Hatch told the HBO Max broadcast at halftime. “So just always be ready and always be prepared.”

Hatch’s goal has personal implications for the 27-year-old striker’s quest to make her first World Cup roster, and it was one of several positive developments on Saturday for a team. The United States is still trying to find the best version of itself.

Just 72 hours ago, the US played a sporadic, dull and goalless first half against New Zealand, choosing to back off the confrontation. The second half changes resulted in a significant improvement and four goals scored, but Wednesday’s game continued to trend towards an imperfect performance, particularly worrying against a well-beaten New Zealand team. High prices have missed some of the kick-off matches due to matches being outside the FIFA window.

Saturday’s performance left a completely different feeling. The Americans took control of the game from the opening whistle and for the first time in a long time, they looked like the confident, high pressing team that had won the past two World Cups. Reminding yourself of that identity is an important takeaway from this January trip, said the American midfielder. rosewho scored in the 2019 World Cup final.

The US scored in the 12th minute or earlier in every game except the final at the 2019 World Cup. The team’s high press soon stifled their opponents and gave the Americans the lead, allowing them to control the game. Much of that team’s core is missing from the current roster, and that restlessness is no longer a prominent feature.

“One of the most important things is to start off strong,” says Lavelle. “We had a slow start [on Wednesday]. I think when we come out strong and we play like that, I think it will be more difficult [for opponents] to keep up, so I think that’s the biggest thing. When I think about what we’ve done in 2019, I think for the most part we got off to a really good start and we’re going to score very soon. I definitely think that’s an emphasis for us.”

Lavelle is now a veteran on this US team and is at the heart of the attack. Her role was significantly different on Saturday.

Lindsey Horan played her first game last week before returning to her club Lyon, as part of a deal with US Soccer, leaving a gap for the United States in the box-to-box quarterback role on Wednesday. Seven. In another dimension, Lavelle – the creative midfielder who created the team’s play – transitioned back to a more defensive role and played deeper than she used to for the US, often collecting the ball. from a central defender to turn and pick a pass. pass. Ashley Sanchez starting at Lavelle’s usual 10 on Saturday.

Sanchez and Lavelle have played as double 10s in the past, but this is a completely different look, as Lavelle plays the role of two strikers with Andi Sullivan. The changes appear to bring out the best for all three individuals for the day and mark a major improvement over Wednesday’s test midfield. Taylor Kornieck started her first international match in an unfamiliar position (defensive midfielder).

“Having [Horan] being here is important for the team, but also important for the player who will take on that role when she’s not here, just to see what the expectations are and what the player needs to do,” coach US team captain Vlatko Andonovski told the media ahead of the match, “The way we see it, it’s just an opportunity for us to meet other people, but also an opportunity for others to show their abilities. and hopefully get a spot for the next one.”

Lavelle won’t often play as deep as she showed on Saturday, but Andonovski should go away feeling confident he can deploy that midfield when needed, possibly against an opponent weaker in the World Cup group stage like Vietnam (and perhaps with Catherine Macario play alongside Lavelle, after Macario’s return this spring from a torn ACL). That Saturday’s midfield trio looked so strong, which, over time, is encouraging given the unit’s troubled times over the past year.

Internal wins will be the main on-field takeaway from this round-the-world trip for Andonovski and the US players. Yes, the adversary is the one the United States is expected to defeat, as has now happened in 19 of the 21 meetings. The United States overcame a dominant New Zealand team 22-0 on Saturday.

The team’s trip to New Zealand had two purposes: to provide a young, relatively inexperienced squad that simulated the World Cup schedule in the stadiums where they would play all their group stage matches. and had a favorable World Cup year with more cohesion than Phat.

Wednesday’s attempt went awry, which is a January tradition even for historically home games. However, Saturday brought encouragement, from Hatch and Lavelle in their roles, to Mallory Swanson (nee Pugh) scores again to continue her hot form. Having coordinated play in goal building – Hatch’s opener in particular – has seen the US incorporate recent missing sequences. Crystal Dunn and The Holy Trinity Rodman coordinated on the left, looking for central midfielders to form multiple triangle passes before Hatch could finish.

No, New Zealand is not England or Spain or Germany, all of which have exposed America’s weaknesses in recent victories. January of a World Cup year is to fix the problem when it counts in the summer, no matter who the opponent is. More difficult tests await next month against Brazil, Canadaand Japan – three of the top 11 teams in the world. Saturday’s performance was a step in the right direction for the US

“I think it’s two good games just to get out,” US defender Sofia Huerta speak. “Some cobwebs, it’s out of season, and get ready for this year.”


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button