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USA suffers historic defeat to Denmark
by Paul Kennedy, March 10th, 2014 1:52PM

TAGS:  denmark, women's national team


[ALGARVE CUP] The USA has gone from having not lost in two years to losing two games in a row for the first time since 2001. After having its 43-game unbeaten streak snapped by Sweden on Friday, the USA suffered a historic defeat when it lost to Denmark, 5-3, in Albufeira, Portugal . Before Monday, it had never trailed 3-0 at the half and never given up five goals in a game in the 30-year history of the program.

The Americans came back from 3-0 and 4-1 down to trail 4-3 on goals by Christen Press, Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe and had plenty more chances, but they were undone by some bad defending. Two goals in three minutes from Nadia Nadim -- the daughter of an Afghan National Army general executed by the Taliban in 2000 -- put the Danes ahead 3-0 after Katrine Veje had given them the lead. Johanna Rasmussen made it 4-1 after Press had scored the first U.S. goal, and Karoline Nielsen sealed the winning with the fifth goal in stoppage time.

The starting backline featured only one holdover from the 2012 Olympic gold-medal team: captain Christie Rampone. But Meghan Klingenberg and Whitney Engen have been playing in Europe for UEFA Women's UEFA Champions League quarterfinalists Tyreso -- Engen also played on English champion Liverpool last summer -- and Stephanie Cox had been recalled. In midfield, Coach Tom Sermanni gave starts to both Mewis sisters, Kristie and Sam, for the first time.

U.S. losing streaks:
1991: Norway 1-0, Norway 2-1, China 2-1
1993: Norway 1-0, Germany 1-0, Germany 2-1.

1985: England 3-1, Denmark 1-0.
1987: Sweden 2-1, Norway 1-0.
1988: Italy 2-1, England 2-0.
1991: Denmark 1-0, China 2-1
1992: Norway 3-1, Norway 4-2.
2000: Norway 3-2, Norway 2-1.
2000: Norway 3-2, Canada 3-1.
2001: Italy 1-0, Canada 3-0.
2001: Sweden 2-0, Norway 4-3.

Denmark was coming off a semifinal appearance at Euro 2013 where it beat France in a shootout in the quarterfinals only to lose Norway by the same fate in the semis.

The Danes have one of Europe's best young teams. They played eight players 22 years old or younger against the USA. The youngest were 19-year-old Julie Jensen, who started in midfield, 18-year-old Frederikke Thogersen, a late sub, and the 19-year-old Nielsen.

TRIVIA. In the three games, the USA outshot its opponents, 54-21.

March 10 in Albufeira
Denmark 5 USA 3. Goals: Veje 24, Nadim 35, 39, Rasmussen 62, K.Nielsen 90+3; Press 61, Leroux 63, Rapinoe 68.
Denmark -- Petersen (C.Sorensen, 46); T.Nielsen, Pedersen, Knudsen, Christiansen (K.Nielsen, 77), Jensen (Larsen, 46), S.Sorensen (Kristiansen, 69), Troelsgaard (Hagelskjaer, 46), Nadim, Veje, Rasmussen (Thogersen, 88).
USA -- Solo; Klingenberg (O’Hara, 60), Rampone, Engen, Cox (Wambach, 85); O’Reilly (Rapinoe, 54), S.Mewis (Sauerbrunn, 62),  Lloyd, K.Mewis (Hagen, 82); Press, Leroux.

  1. James Madison
    commented on: March 11, 2014 at 2:38 p.m.
    Player ratings, PLEASE!! You do it for the men; why discriminate?
  1. John DiFiore
    commented on: March 12, 2014 at 3:35 a.m.
    WTF happened???? 5 goals???
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: March 12, 2014 at 11:08 a.m.
    watch the highlights here:
  1. David Huff
    commented on: March 12, 2014 at 4:35 p.m.
    US reliance on clubs that provide big and strong athletic players but whose technical skills are not at the top perhaps coming back to haunt us now that the rest of the world has decided that it is ok to field women's teams.
  1. Brian Threlkeld
    commented on: March 12, 2014 at 8:31 p.m.
    @ David Huff — I've heard this simplistic stereotype about U.S. players before, "Big and athletic, but not skilled," and find it no more persuasive now than it was before the Algarve Cup. //¶// First, having watched a lot of the U.S. women's matches, there is abundant evidence, which I won't belabor here, that they •do• have a high level of skill. (And, of the 15 field players who saw action for the U.S. against Denmark, 7 have played or are playing for European or Australian clubs: Klingenberg (Tyresö FF in Sweden), Engen (Tyresö, and Liverpool Ladies), Rapinoe (Sydney FC in Australia, and Olympique Lyonnais in France), Sauerbrunn (Røa IL in Norway), Kristie Mewis (Canberra United FC in Australia), Hagen (FC Bayern Munich), and Press (Kopparbergs/Göteborg, and Tyresö). It won't wash to argue that U.S. players don't fit in with a European style of play.) //¶// Second, if your assessment were plausible, then it's hardly likely the U.S. would have just run off a two-year unbeaten streak. //¶// Third, the women's failings in this year's Algarve Cup were not a matter of getting beat by players more skilled on the ball, but tactical failures involving a lack of coordination and field-awareness on the back line, especially. These are problems that can be readily addressed by coaching, and through time spent playing as a unit. It's astonishing the U.S. wasn't better prepared — but, again, that's not a matter of technical skills. //¶// And fourth, the U.S. dominated the run of play in the Cup against Japan, Sweden, and (at least in the second half) Denmark. We tied or lost those games because we failed to finish abundant opportunities. Those teams deserve credit for playing tenacious defense, and watching for opportunities to counterattack, but the U.S. wasn't "out-skilled" by them. //¶// This year's Algarve Cup raises issues with defensive organization, and ability to finish. It does •not• represent a crisis in our team's level of individual technical skills.

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