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USWNT Lose 1-0 to England: Mostly Positive Thoughts Going Forward

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HARRISON, NJ – It was 5pm and the temperature felt like it was in the single digits at Red Bull Arena, yet a sellout crowd of 26,000 was arriving to watch the USA take on England. Droves of fans all bundled up were packing in to the arena hoping for a USWNT win. Something they’ve become accustomed to for a while now.

The national team was coming off of it’s first SheBelieves Cup win this season vs. 2nd ranked Germany and leading the table. However things just didn’t go the same Saturday. In the 89th minute of the game England was able to take advantage of a late corner kick and put the ball past US goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Here is what I took from this game:

Future is Bright:

Pugh dribbles the ball towards goal, looking for a cross. Photo (Bobby O'Hara/PureSportsNY)

Pugh dribbles the ball towards goal, looking for a cross. Photo (Bobby O’Hara/PureSportsNY)

The future of the squad isn’t close to dropping off. I love what I’ve seen when Mallory Pugh has been given minutes. She pushes the ball forward and she constantly keeps her head up looking to make a play. On Saturday Pugh was put up top with Morgan at forward and I must say, I did like the chemistry between the two. For me she seems like a great wing player, my only question would be can she consistently finish in front of the net? The 18 year old has a bright future and will quickly become the offensive utility player Ellis has been looking for. Rose Lavelle made an immediate impact in her first start Saturday. Her on the ball skills were elite and she found ways to make smart and precise passes from the important wing position. If Ellis want’s to keep the 3-5-2 it’s because of players like Lavelle.

Jill Ellis’s Lineup Creates NO CONSISTENCY

Alex Morgan dribbles through a defender in the first half. Photo (Bobby O'Hara/ PuresportsNY)

Alex Morgan dribbles through a defender in the first half. Photo (Bobby O’Hara/ PuresportsNY)

I admit I’ve never been a fan of Jill Ellis, but I’ve given her a chance and I simply can’t take it any longer. The US is lucky to have such a talented roster full of youth, however they also have experienced vets that are the mold of a team. The problem is those players are now being forced to play out of position and with different players every other game. NO CONSISTENCY: BAD ANTICIPATION. Wambach for year’s fed off the timing of Alex Morgan’s runs and making her move to the net. That is an example of knowing from experience a player’s tendencies and anticipating where to move with or without the ball. Lately the chemistry seems to be lacking and ruining the chances at goal.

3-5-2 Formation is Still a Work in Progress;

England Goes up 1-0 in the 89th Minute. Photo (Bobby O'Hara/ PureSportsNY)

England Goes up 1-0 in the 89th Minute. Photo (Bobby O’Hara/ PureSportsNY)

The latest switch to the 3-5-2 scheme has had it’s moments and shown its flaws in different ways so far through the She Believes Cup. It has positively effected players such as Crystal Dunn and Rose Lavelle two young wing players who have shown their attacking talents with the ball at their feet. While it also showed the havoc it can create on a pressured back line. The US has many versatile athletes so it could work out, but it also relies on tactical and precise passing lanes, which let’s be honest isn’t really American style futbol. Heck multiple major players on this team (Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn) have all left to go play club ball outside the US to improve their skills.

Final thoughts:

The USWNT is well off and still at the top of the talent pool. The players are top class athletes and just because a few people want to instantly change everything up over a 1-0 last second loss to England shouldn’t keep them worrying. The thing is I actually think they are over-thinking the whole thing. Find out who your starters are and start them. The chemistry will grow and hopefully their score tally will as well. Personally I’d like to see Carli Lloyd allowed to go back to attacking the net more (her mindset should be the goal), while Morgan and Press start up top (how have these two not played side by side recently?). Unfortunately the back line will face some challenges, but mostly due to the scheme. The next major competition for the national team isn’t for a while so let those players that want to expand their game go over seas and experience it, while the younger talent grow in the NWSL.

 

-Bobby O’Hara/ PuresportsNY

 

 

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