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U.S. player ratings
by Ridge Mahoney, July 10th, 2011 10:41PM
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TAGS:  women's national team, women's world cup


[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.)

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 8:07 a.m.
    If Bo Derek is a 10, then Hope Solo is a 12...mho...she always does her job in goal. She adds a touch of class to the game. How can anyone not just love her?..she has it all, extreme athletic abiltiy, physicaly fit, attractive, what's not to like?...I have yet to see her make a big mistake in any game. Abby Wamback, well, I have to admit, she is a "comeback kid" even at 30, she made the big play, this is from in this game an past recent ones, she has shown that she is nto the most fit on the pitch, but, she is a leader, an experienced making the big play, in this game, I think she is deserving of an 8 for sure...she has a command presence that other youngsters follow. I look forward to who we have to come into the footsteps of Abby. This game really was a first rate game, It was extremely difficult to keep from watching for what to come next in this game...I think it is difficult to rate all players fairly , ie. a player gets few tackles, few touches, etc..that may be just because the ball is not in her zone of the pitch...if in her zone, an she does not make tackles or delay her mark, that is another situation then...all in all, most I agree on the ratings, bowever, very difficult to do...non the less, a GREAT an EXCITING game, one I taped for future viewing an to encourage my youngster to my old saying "it is not over until the fat lady sings"..did not invent it, but, believe in it....I really look forward to Soccer America Daily...
  1. John Munnell
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 9:22 a.m.
    I've said earlier that when Rachel gets turned, she's dead. That she was close enough to even appear to foul Marta is a testament to her tenacity, anyway. Amy R and Heather are one-trick ponies, not nearly enough of a threat to good defenders --- should have the same 4 rating. I'd have to see Alex Morgan for longer stretches, but she appears more of the same. Amy L has no apparent idea of what to do with the ball when she wins it. Her distribution is actually worse when she has time...and heaven help her if she chooses to dribble upfield. She survived this match --- nothing better than a 5. But I think they all get an extra point for the finding the will to win...amazing effort.
  1. Sidney Hall
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 9:31 a.m.
    Although I held my breath for over 120 minutes, this was one of the best games of soccer I've ever seen. I'm not sure why the officiating always seems to dominate the crucial USA games, but this time the women even overcame very questionable calls. I know Aby scored the header, but to me the absolute HERO of the game was Hope Solo. Not only did she keep the US in the game time after time, but she made not one, but TWO PK saves! How many goalkeepers, man or woman, have ever done that in a World Cup?? Has to be a record. Two games to go to become champions again!!!
  1. Mark Grody
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 9:44 a.m.
    Brad Friedel saved two against Korea (in Korea) in regulation time.
  1. Carl Hudson
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 10:39 a.m.
    I WAS going to give Boxx, LLoyd, and Heather O'Reilly their much-deserved 2 ratings because they can't possess a ball, and when they do they are 100% to turn it over. They shouldn't make a Special Olympics squad with their clumsiness. However the first two, not realizing how bad they are. did manage to make their PK's (though these were poorly taken - too high). So I will be lenient and upgrade them to 4's.
  1. Carl Hudson
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 12:56 p.m.
    Ric Fonseca, have you ever watched the totally unskilled doofuses Boxx and LLoyd REPEATEDLY turning the ball over, and O'Reilly's inability to bring down and control a ball before "one-touch" losing it? I won't bother commenting on the lack of skill of Buehler, Lepielbet, and Rodriguez. Whoever picked these players should be jailed.
  1. James Madison
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 1:12 p.m.
    It ain't as though there are a lot of choices. What we saw on the field is the best we have. Mike was generous to Buehler and very generous to Boxx, but otherwise reasonably close, at least to my view. The fascinating thing about the game is that the US played their best soccer of the tournament after they were a player down. The other lesson to be learned is NEVER GIVE UP. Fortune may smile kindly upon you.
  1. Charles Stamos
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 3:16 p.m.
    Carl - I would have to agre with Ric that the Special Olympics comment is inappropriate. You also tend to exaggerate when you say that Boxx O'Reilly and Lloyd will turn it over 100% of the time. This is a grey game/world, almost never 0 or 100%, so I would agree that Boxx, Lloyd, and O'Reilly did not have great games, rather they deserve ratings of around 4's. Also, we do lack a good bench, so the starting 11 are probably our best. I do like the idea of Buehler being out of the semis.
  1. Carl Hudson
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 3:46 p.m.
    OK Charles. You are correct. I should have said "99% of the time" :
  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 7:14 p.m.
    Ridge got these ratings right. Rampone and Solo held the team together (Rampone has been so key in covering a back line that has struggled, especially with speedy players). Lloyd looked tired (but she did hit the crossbar on that nice header); Julie Foudy was right that Rapinoe should have replaced Lloyd instead of Cheyney. Cheyney is so good at getting solid shots on goal she should be on the field as much as possible (since we seem to struggle offensively). I thought Wambach looked tired and slow, but her grit, determination and finishing justify keeping her on the field even when she's tired. The shot that forced the keeper to make a great save in the extra time, and obviously the goal, show that; the amazing part of her goal was that while the keeper made an error by coming out and not getting the cross, even if she stayed home, Wambach's finish was so strong and accurate the keeper would have had no chance. Experience, will and technical ability showed through in the end. Credit should also go to every US player who took a pk; they looked so calm, and they nailed every one (in contrast, some of the Brazilian kicks were fortunate to go in; had Solo not guessed wrong on two of them, she would have had a chance to save them, since they were a lot weaker than the one she did save (which she guessed correctly on)).
  1. Bernie Lenhoff
    commented on: July 12, 2011 at 1:56 a.m.
    I'm in Carl's camp. The lack of technical ability on the US team makes them unwatchable for any fan of jogo bonito. Only Lauren Cheney has any sense of calm, control, and vision (unfortunately, when she places the ball accurately to one of her teammates' feet, they promptly give the ball away- 99% of the time). On the other hand, France is playing beautiful football- every player passes accurately, kills the ball with a touch, moves to support their teammates. The WC deserves a France-Japan final, not Sweden's boring ugly long ball, or USA's frantic athletic scrambling. I say France over USA 3-1.

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