USA-France Women's Olympic Soccer Player Ratings

Aug. 6 in Belo Horizonte
USA 1 France 0. Goal: Lloyd 63.
Att.:  11,782.

Inferior to the French in the first half, the USA improved significantly in the second half and celebrated a 1-0 win thanks to Carli Lloyd tapping in a rebound off Tobin Heath’s shot. The victory clinched a quarterfinal spot for the USA, which faces Colombia in its final group game on Tuesday.

After the USA’s 2-0 opening win over New Zealand, Coach Jill Ellis made two lineup changes. She started winger Crystal Dunn over Mallory Pugh, who suffered an ankle injury against the Kiwis, and central defender Julie Johnston, nursing a sore groin, made way for Whitney Engen.

Although the USA lacked rhythm for most of the game and rarely sparkled, it managed a victory against a French team that is likely its strongest competition for the gold medal.

U.S. Player Ratings:
7 Hope Solo (Seattle Reign) 200/0.
In the first half, was lucky France didn’t exploit after she swung and missed at a corner-kick cross, but she also tipped a Wendie Renard header onto the crossbar and snuffed a golden close-range chance from Marie-Laure Delie. Responded well to two second-half corner kicks during France’s comeback attempt and finished with six saves.

5 Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC) 84/2.
Right back wasn’t tested much because France preferred attacks down the other wing but was occupied enough to limit her attacking forays. She did launch the ball into French territory that started the scoring sequence.

6 Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers) 38/4
Central defender stepped in competently for Julie Johnston. Alongside Sauerbrunn, helped keep France from penetrating through the middle. Was part of the scoring sequence when she laid the ball off to Morgan Brian

7 Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City) 111/0.
Constantly intercepted low and high balls and her composure proved invaluable behind an incohesive U.S. midfield, especially in the first half.

4 Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns) 67/3.
Left back struggled to contain Delie, who had France’s best first-half chance after battling her off the ball. Gave up second-half corner while not under pressure. She did come forward frequently enough to help swing momentum the USA’s way in the second half.

4 Allie Long (Portland Thorns) 12/2.
Defensive midfielder improved in the second half after giveaways in the first half but didn’t manage to provide significant support for the attackers in front of her.

5 Morgan Brian (Houston Dash) 56/4.
Had little impact until she delivered the pass to wide-open Tobin Heath, whose shot off the post led to the gamewinner.

7 Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) 121/15.
Her free kick down the middle that keeper Sarah Bouhaddi tipped over the bar was only U.S. first-half threat. Her shot from a narrow angle was tipped off the post by Bouhaddi to set up Lloyd’s goal. Her left-wing attacks helped the French from regaining their first-half rhythm.

6 Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash) 226/99.
Frustrated for much of the game -- she was caught offside three times and misplayed balls -- but ended up the hero by being at the right place at the right time to score the decider.

5 Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit) 37/15.
Provided some rare U.S. attacks, from the right wing, in the first half, and also helped out defensively.

4 Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 114/68.
French defense had little trouble rendering the USA’s attacking spearhead ineffective.

5 Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit) 92/1.
Replaced Dunn in the 70th minute and provided a scare when she blasted a French corner kick into the outside side-netting of U.S. goal. But also helped produce a couple counterattacks to disrupt France’s late onslaught.

nr Lindsay Horan (Portland Thorns) 22/3.
Replaced Lloyd for the last eight minutes.

nr Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars) 72/34.
Replaced Klingenberg for three minutes of stoppage time.

(Ratings: 1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)

TRIVIA. Hope Solo earned her 200th cap, the first goalkeeper to reach that mark, and posted her 102nd shutout. Carli Lloyd, who also scored in the opener against New Zealand, now has eight Olympic goals, second only to Abby Wambach’s 10.

Aug. 6 in Belo Horizonte
USA 1 France 0. Goals: Lloyd 63.
USA -- Solo; O'Hara, Engen, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg (Press, 90); Long, Brian, Lloyd (Horan, 82); Dunn (Krieger, 70), Morgan, Heath.
France -- Bouhaddi; Houara, Renard, Mbock Bathy, Majri; Abily (Hamraoui, 83), Henry, Bussaglia; Diani, Delie (Lavogez, 86), Cadamuro (Thomis, 70).
Att.: 11,782.

24 comments about "USA-France Women's Olympic Soccer Player Ratings ".
  1. Bob Ashpole, August 6, 2016 at 11:46 p.m.

    My impression of the match is different. What changed at halftime is that France, after pressing high the entire first half, slowed down their game and seldom pressed high in the second half. This allowed the US more time and space, which they used to good advantage. France also played a very physical game, and I don't mean fairly, which the referee didn't stop. I suspect every US starter took some hard knocks today. I don't want to take anything away from Engen's performance--she was great--but Johnson is very important to the US team's attack and I think that her absence is part of the reason that the US initially struggled to find an attacking rhythm.

  2. R2 Dad, August 7, 2016 at 1:25 a.m.

    12k attending an olympic match of two top 5 teams? Lame, Brazil--really lame.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, August 7, 2016 at 3:37 a.m.

    I suspect that most attendees are Brazilians and attendance generally is far below expectations due to the many well-publicized problems.

  4. mike cassidy, August 7, 2016 at 11:08 a.m.

    The French set pieces were very threatening....USA's were not. Need to find someone who can deliver a dangerous ball in.

  5. R2 Dad replied, August 7, 2016 at 11:25 a.m.

    Rapinoe & Pugh have been taking corners until now--both were on the bench.

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, August 7, 2016 at 4:15 p.m.

    In a matchup against the US, France's strength is set pieces and playing in the air. This does not mean that the US needs to replace either Heath or Morgan. France's weakness is fitness. A terrible defensive mistake leaving Heath unmarked in the penalty area lead to the US goal. To both team's credit, it was a pleasure to watch a match without diving.

  7. Goal Goal, August 7, 2016 at 11:30 a.m.

    You can say what you want about the women's team but at the end they are a very good team. What I find interesting is a comparison of the women's team to the men's team. I will make it short to eliminate a lot of babble. The women players can receive the ball better. After receiving the ball it is still at their feet. They make better passes and their first step with the ball is far better than the men. More importantly they go to the goal. You have to score to win.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, August 7, 2016 at 3:59 p.m.

    The other significant WNT advantage is that this extremely high quality extends deep into the player pool.

  9. Kevin Leahy, August 7, 2016 at 12:04 p.m.

    I believe right now that, Christen Press is a more dynamic player than Alex Morgan. Would also prefer Lindsey Horan starting because she adds to the teams ability to create more chances. The depth of this team is awesome! I don't think anyone can score more than one goal against this team in any given game.

  10. Wooden Ships replied, August 7, 2016 at 3:20 p.m.

    Agreed. I've felt that for awhile now. Press is quicker of thought.

  11. Keith Bishop, August 7, 2016 at 1:08 p.m.

    Who to blame for the many scary picks and close calls on France's DFKs?

  12. Chance Hall, August 7, 2016 at 2:14 p.m.

    While I’m a big US Women’s fan, if you watched the same game I did the US was in a lot of trouble throughout most of the game. Not sure how they do the possession stats?? Speed, great passing and aggression were France's keys to the game. If not for Hope’s awesome performance, the score would have been much different. She is indeed the best in the Klingenberg got beat time and time again down her side. Understand the lineup was different, but these are all world class players and most of them were a step behind yesterday. I’m sure most countries would love to have any of the 18 players on our roster. Maybe this was a wake up call, and shows you can’t reply on your reputation as World Cup Champions to win. You’ve got to come to play – every game! They have big targets on their backs, everyone wants to beat the best. Hoping they will be better prepared for the rest of the games. They deserve to win. But yesterday, the French had their game faces on and knew exactly what they needed to do to beat us and at times it seemed they wanted it more... Go USA, dig deep and play like the champions you are!!!

  13. Chance Hall, August 7, 2016 at 2:16 p.m.

    So much for cut n paste. Should read Hope is the best in the World. Kling.... got beat etc.

  14. R2 Dad replied, August 7, 2016 at 3:09 p.m.

    I didn't get to see the whole match, but interesting issue with Kling getting beat. She has good possession and foot skills which are needed in the attacking 3rd, but she doesn't have the world class speed that's handy when defending against the 3-4 players in the world on teams that can exploit that. Hate to give up Dunn in midfield but she has the speed to match up when there is that mismatch at the corners. We might see this France team later and need to learn some lessons. The first half could have ended very differently.

  15. stewart hayes, August 7, 2016 at 2:50 p.m.

    France has a very good team. I felt certain that they would score. One of the strengths of the French are their free kicks. The USWNT did an excellent job not fouling within 40 yards of their goal and thus denied the French the opportunity to capitalize in this way. The USWNT head very well and probably thought they could handle any crosses. It was a surprise that Renard was so open a couple of times. There are a lot of things to improve upon but getting out of this stage on top looks probable and that is enough for now.

  16. Dick Grefe, August 7, 2016 at 8:38 p.m.

    I take it from the date/time this piece was posted that it was written within minutes of watching the match to its conclusion.
    My own experience with this sort of thing is that it's pretty darned hard to pay much attention to 11+ individual players while watching the match's flow and thinking about where it's going to end up.
    An interesting sports journalism exercise might be to watch the match a second or even third time to pay less attention to What's Going to Happen? and more on what's going on with individual players.
    My own second viewing of this match indicates that a few of the above ratings might need some serious re-evaluation, particularly those of Alex Morgan, Morgan Brian, and Allie Long.
    Alex did not score any of her trademark Baby Horse goals, but she was a highly influential forward, certainly the best on the pitch. She was active in the French half, did a good job of hold-up and possession in the MF, and played very intelligent soccer.
    Brian did what Moe does -- make quick and intelligent decisions and passes, including several which put the defense under pressure, relieved pressure with passes and possession, and, again, played an intelligent game. Most interesting post-match stat: The US had more possession than France. FWIW, Moe had a lot to do with that.
    Long did a very good job of making the holding MF spot an uneventful area with good anticipation, ball-winning, and passing.
    When I watch the match a third time, as I inevitably will, the above will probably change a bit. It must be hard to be a coach.
    The US will need to shore things up a bit to win this tournament, but they know that and know how to do it.

  17. James Madison, August 7, 2016 at 8:59 p.m.

    Ashpole and Grede came closest to watching the same mtch I did. I would have given Solo a 7, but everyone else a 5, except for adding bonus points to Heath and Lloyd for getting the goal. Even though Kberg was beaten on the dribble regularly, she chased and, when face-to-face, closed Delie down effectively. Ellis was smart to take Dunn off before she got a second yellow. Press would add the speed and bite that Dunn has, but with more skill and tactical understanding.

  18. Dan Eckert replied, August 8, 2016 at 7:41 a.m.

    James - I think your comments were spot on about K'berg. She had NO WHERE NEED the speed that the French player exhibited - but she adjusted, cut angles, and closed her down quickly.

    France made a tactical error in the 2nd Half and should have kept a high line and pressed the US. I thought for sure France would win as we could get no consistency in the 1st half - they did a wonderful job disrupting any attack. Also - gotta hand it to Solo (and thank God there were only 12K people - image 60K people shouting "Zika". Great focus on her part - and still the best keeper in world.

    An aside - maybe Jill could coach the men's team - imaging she'll leave after winning in Rio - it would be a step back for sure - but she's a great lady and someone needs to show the men how it's done.

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, August 8, 2016 at 2:08 p.m.

    Dan: it wasn't just France's high line, it was their work rate too. I was surprised that they managed 45 minutes before slowing the pace down. Nobody can play with that intensity for 90 minutes. I suspect that the game plan was to only press until they scored, hoping to score in the first 30 minutes and then slow the game down. At the start of the second half they tried to slow down the game; the US still had legs to run. Then down a goal, they were forced to chase the game.

  20. Chris Sapien , August 8, 2016 at 12:55 p.m.

    Let's not forget that beyond Hope's critical saves, she also had a calming influence on a very pressured back four. Her distribution back to player's feet that were seconds earlier under attack helped them find their confidence as the game progressed. Heath's service on set pieces was woefully poor this game unfortunately, and Morgan might as well been off the pitch. After it became obvious she would have little chance to get behind Renard who chased her down and passed her quite easily, she seemed to give up the idea of blowing through the channels and became stagnant imo.

  21. schultz rockne, August 8, 2016 at 11:32 p.m.

    Solo--a 'calming influence?' Sure, hypothetically. The women know she'll be good for two athletic saves a game--it's undeniable that she is a top shot-stopper...but 'distribution to player's feet...?' When has she ever 'passed' the ball out of the back? Any back pass--immediately booted...and that silly dropkick...Ellis probably thought early in her tenure, 'well, she's insecure in her personal life AND with the ball at her feet. We'll have her pretend like she's ten again and just boot it long and far!'---Also, she so often remains glued to her six-box when she needs to be assisting her back-sprinting defenders. Both O'Hara and Sauerbrunn were all 'what are you doing--we just sprinted back fifty yards to make a dangerous clearance when you could have run ten!' Solo applies her 'calming influence': 'I know, I know...I was just daydreaming that I was ten again!'

  22. Bob Ashpole replied, August 9, 2016 at 10:25 a.m.

    "...silly dropkick..."? If there is a better female keeper in the world than Hope Solo, I haven't seen or heard of her.

  23. Chance Hall, August 9, 2016 at 9:48 a.m.

    Schultz Rockne Wow, time to move on and stop living in the past. Must be nice to be perfect. I've mad a few bad decisions in my life. But, I moved on and learned from them. Maybe we didn't watch the same game? Her distributions were spot on, and she always plays the ball into the right space for the receiving player. If you've ever played soccer you should know you can't stay rooted to the spot you're in when you show for the ball. Once the pass is released you have to come to the ball because even the other team's players (the good ones) see the pass coming. Her effect is like having a 12th player on the field. The players all know she's got their back.

  24. Richard Brown, August 10, 2016 at 7:35 p.m.

    I have always felt the future keeper is the sweeper/keeper. He cuts off through pass attempts. That is really like playing with 12 players on the field.

    That is why the keeper has to work always on their foot skills.

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