USWNT wins eighth straight match ahead of 2023 Women’s World Cup
By Official Florida FC
The U.S. women’s soccer team’s attempt to win an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup is underway.
The Americans won their Send-Off match 2-0 over Wales on Sunday afternoon in San Jose, California. It took more than an hour for the two-time world champions to breach a backline that was comprised of players who are out of season.
Despite the small things that need to be cleaned up before the World Cup opener against Vietnam on July 21, the USWNT achieved its two objectives: no injuries and no defeat.
Here are our three thoughts from the match.
Rodman states her case
Trinity Rodman entered the match to start the second half at the No. 9 position in place of Alex Morgan. The 21-year-old scored two goals. More importantly was her movement and ability to find space in dangerous areas throughout the attack.
USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski has primarily used Rodman as a wide forward. But, Morgan only has two goals in seven appearances for the USWNT this calendar year. Getting goals from the No. 9 position may not be a problem against Vietnam in the USWNT’s World Cup opener, but the starting XI cannot afford passengers, regardless of previous performance.
Andi Sullivan and Lindsey Horan appear to be two in stone starters in the midfield. Sullivan proved a calming influence in the middle of the park during the SheBelieves Cup this spring.
Regardless of who starts, the Americans cannot continue to give the ball away cheaply in the middle of the pitch. The USWNT had two turnovers in the first 10 minutes in Sunday’s Send Off match. Later in the first half, fullback Crystal Dunn gave the ball away near midfield when trying to connect with Horan.
That type of sloppiness wasn’t punished by a Welsh side that has scored multiple goals in only one of its previous 12 internationals. But, the Netherlands has enough quality in its midfield with Jill Roord and in attack with the speedy Lineth Beerensteyn to convert those mistakes into concessions.
Pace of possession
At halftime Horan and Andonovski told the broadcasting team the USWNT needed to play faster.
There were too many moments in the first half where passes, especially among defenders, were not to feet. When that happens, the game slows down and the team cannot break down an organized defense.
The USWNT remains deadly in transition. But, if the team is going to pull off an unprecedented trifecta, it will need to unlock defenses in a low block and teams that are organized in a middle block. Wales was outstanding at closing down space throughout the first hour. Once, the USWNT began producing accurate one and two-touch sequences, it was able to conjure the goals. That was not an accident.