[USA-BRAZIL REPORT CARD] Hope Solo and Christie Rampone were among the standouts in the USA's victory over Brazil. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players ...
Rating Player (Club) GP/G
8 Hope Solo (magicJack) 98/-
Flying save in penalty-kick shootout punctuated a strong performance of snagged crosses, smothered shots and emotional hectoring of teammates, opponents and officials. Saved Cristiane’s penalty kick in regulation by diving to her left; the save was nullified by an encroachment call, after being cautioned for dissent, she had no chance to stop Marta’s re-kick, nor her incredible flick that gave Brazil a 2-1 lead in overtime.
7 Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt/GER) 21/0
Strong defensively, thwarted Rosana and Maurine when they came down her flank and also tucked in to break up attempted combination plays near the penalty area. Played good balls up the flanks at times and set up Rodriguez with a pass that was ruled offside, and Wambach for a shot that was blocked. Wasn’t as prone as some teammates to careless turnovers, though she did lose the ball at times. Ended the PK shootout with an unerring shot just inside the base of the post.
8 Christie Rampone (Philadelphia Independence) 238/4
Plugged holes, won balls on double-teams and stepped into midfield to shut off Brazilian attack without exposing the U.S. to balls played over the top. Raced half the length of the field twice to defuse potential breakthroughs by Marta. She kept the back line in sync most of the time, which frustrated Brazil’s three-pronged attack and limited chances at goal. Lost a ball that Ester shot and was blocked.
5 Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers) 62/2
Struggled through good and bad moments in which she’d win a ball then lose it right back but also kept her zone secure most of the time. Victimized by Marta’s lob, which prompted a desperation tackle that was ruled a foul and produced a red card in the 65th minute.
6 Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers) 51/0
Bailed out Rampone after she’d lost the ball by blocking Ester’s shot and on several occasions teamed up with the U.S. captain to shut down Marta and teammates when they attempted dribbles into the penalty area. Lost some duels yet tackled more crisply and confidently than in the group phase, and also jockeyed opponents into areas where her teammates could help out.
4 Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers) 44/14
Limited mostly to defensive duties while tracking back to control Brazil’s attacks down the flanks. Committed several midfield fouls that stilted the opponent’s momentum. Struggled to find time and space in the attacking half of the field.
6 Shannon Boxx (magicJack) 148/22
Delivered the early cross that resulted in Brazil’s own goal, got up the left side a few more times before settling into a central role. Lost the mark during a corner kick on Aline, who shot into the side netting, and also on Marta’s overtime goal. Played a hybrid centerback/midfield role after Buehler’s red card and lasted the entire game despite being the oldest player on the field. Sent ball that Megan Rapinoe crossed for dramatic equalizer. Nailed first U.S. shootout kick into the top corner on a re-take after keeper moved too soon.
5 Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat) 112/28
Very fortunate not to be sent off with a second caution when she handled a ball at midfield early in the second half after she’d fouled Cristiane with a high kick. Hit the crossbar with a header from a free kick. Played some good balls to the forwards, battled for high balls on set plays. Cut inside with a good pass from O'Reilly to shot left-footed over the crossbar.
5 Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC) 145/30
Ran at the Brazilian defense without too much success though she did set up Lloyd for a shot. Seldom found enough space to cross effectively from the end line. Lost a few balls in bad spots, including one that gave Marta a chance to run into the U.S. penalty area and fire a shot over the crossbar. Defended tenaciously and forced turnovers by her pressure and quickness around the ball.
7 Abby Wambach (magicJack) 160/120
Not prominent in the first half but grew in stature as the game unfolded. Helped force Daiane’s own goal by barreling into the goalmouth for Boxx’s cross. Tested Brazilian keeper Andreia in the first overtime with a searing low shot the keeper saved brilliantly. Won numerous defensive headers on set plays. Buried her header from Rapinoe’s soaring cross in the final seconds, converted USA’s third penalty kick in the shootout to give it a lead it never lost.
4 Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence) 68/17
Shaky on the ball when checking back into midfield and one giveaway provided Brazil with a prime attacking opportunity. Started sequence on left flank that yielded a shot by Boxx. Poor first touches hampered her attempts to dribble or combine with Wambach though they did hook up late in the first half to create a chance for Boxx.
7 Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence) 33/11
Giveaways and lost duels were overridden by excellent attacking play. Served up several dangerous crosses and set plays -- including free kick Lloyd headed off the bar -- before the majestic diagonal ball that Wambach headed home. Cautioned for hard tackle on Formiga in stoppage time of regulation, a minute later, she stoned Marta one-v-one. Converted fourth USA kick in shootout.
4 Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash) 21/7
Active and energetic but not all that incisive despite going against fatiguing opponents. Reached edge of the penalty area in the final seconds of regulation to hit a shot that was blocked.
4 Tobin Heath (Boston Breakers) 29/2
Replaced O’Reilly for the final 15 minutes; got in a few tackles but otherwise rarely touched the ball.
(1-low; 5=average; 10=high.)