ToN: Rapinoe engineers USWNT win in amazing comeback

The U.S. women's national team has had some amazing comebacks through the years, but nothing like what more than 21,000 fans saw at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday. The USA came back from two goals down in the last nine minutes to beat Brazil, 4-3, in the Tournament of Nations.

Megan Rapinoe led the way with her first U.S. goal since the opening game of the 2015 Women's World Cup and added two assists.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis continued her experimentation, starting Abby Dahlkemper and Casey Short in the middle of the backline and inserting captain Becky Sauerbrunn at central midfielder.

Press returned the favor five minutes later, setting up Rapinoe for her 32nd career goal to the near post. On the winner in the 89th minute, Rapinoe wasn't credited with an assist but her ball to Kelley O'Hara started the sequence. Julie Ertz scored on a loose ball in the area after O'Hara's cross bounced off the sliding Carli Lloyd.

-- Australia, which beat the USA, 1-0, in the opener, leads the Tournament of Nations after a 4-2 victory over Japan. The tournament wraps up Thursday at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The USA faces Japan in the nightcap (7 p.m. PT on ESPN2 and UDN) after Australia takes on Brazil (4:15 p.m. PT on ESPN3).

July 30 in San Diego, Calif.
USA 4 Brazil 3. Goals: Mewis 18, Press 80, Rapinoe 85, Ertz 89; Andressinha 2, 78, Bruna Benites 63.
USA -- Naeher; Smith (Ertz, 57), Dahlkemper, Short (Leroux, 76), O'Hara; Sauerbrunn, Mewis (Long, 86), Lloyd; Dunn (Pugh, 53), Morgan (Press, 57),  Rapinoe (Williams, 90+1).
Brazil -- Barbara; Leticia (Maria, 71), Monica, Bruna Benites, Jucinara (Tamires, 46); Djenifer, Gabi Nunes (Camila, 22), Andressinha; Debinha (Andreia Rosa, 82), Marta, Bia Zaneratto (Ludmila, 86).
Att.: 21,096.
43 comments about "ToN: Rapinoe engineers USWNT win in amazing comeback".
  1. Karl Schreiber, July 31, 2017 at 1:22 a.m.

    My take-away from this game:
    The San Diego audience of 21000 was simply phenomenal, energizing, world-class. Bravo!

  2. Bob Ashpole, July 31, 2017 at 5:12 a.m.

    There were 2 different games played tonight, the first lasted 80 disappointing minutes followed a much improved 13 1/2 minutes of play. Rapinoe played strong the entire time.

  3. Terry Lynch, July 31, 2017 at 8 a.m.

    Julie (Johnston) Ertz changed the game. Obvious to see her take charge. She should be captain. Christen Press was also good. I can't understand why she scores, on average, "every other game" but doesn't get more minutes. I don't really care for Rapinoe but her goal was world class and one of the best I've seen in a long time. Lloyd was MIA. OTH? Oh, and we need a goalkeeper.

  4. charles davenport replied, July 31, 2017 at 9:57 a.m.

    Hope Solo may be forgiven for her "sins"?

  5. Ric Fonseca, July 31, 2017 at 8:25 a.m.

    To say that Lloyd was MIA, hey R.T. Lynch, did it ever occur to you that Brazil was ready for her and did everything hey could to stifle her play making? She seemed to have one at least two players on her, and Press and Leroux's insertion s served to spark it up, fresh legs for sure helped in the attacking third. Ladies did themselves excelently well tonight!. BRAVO!!

  6. E Velazquez, July 31, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.

    Does the coach MS.Ellis do any goalkeeping teaching?, if not, maybe we need a more complete coach ;if we can not afford a goalkeeping coach the federation should try to solve this problem The first goal should be unforgivable for a keeper who plays professionally. Regarding the game itself :there were too many hight shots that should have been lower with no possibilities for their keeper to stop the ball.A small reminder to Ms Ellis :any central midfielder has to dominate the ball with both feet. Ms. Saurbrunn lacks this skill. Don't you think so?

  7. charles davenport replied, July 31, 2017 at 9:57 a.m.

    Hope Solo may be forgiven for her sins?

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, July 31, 2017 at 1:08 p.m.

    E Velazquez, don't you think someone with the technical skill to excel at CB for the US has sufficient technical skill to play in front of the CBs? I also disagree with blaming a national team coach for the supposedly poor technical development of a player the coach is evaluating.

  9. ForTheLoveOfPele Gallagher, July 31, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.

    E Velazquez, to say "any central midfielder has to dominate the ball with both feet. Sauerbrunn lacks this skill" is not accurate. Sauerbrunn has skills with both feet, can dribble out of pressure (go back and watch some of the Australia game) and delivers balls with both feet (see World Cup). What she doesn't have is experience in the position since her youth playing days. With more experience, she'd do very well in the position. But the game settles down when she is in the central defender role. Lloyd MIA? Seriously? While I'm not the biggest Lloyd fan, I did find her more noticeable last night, moving off the ball, checking back to the ball, laying balls off, making secondary runs, and having 2-3 good looks on frame. Julie Ertz played well, but notexactly sure a good 15+ minutes suddenly makes her captain material. That's a pretty emotional comment with little factual basis. Rapinoe had one of her best games in a long time beating an over-matched defender. Kudo's for the US players realizing this and getting her the ball. But puzzling why Brazil didn't make a switch to end the domination. Finally, interesting that many of the goals came when a couple layers were subbed out. Passing / sharing the ball up top became a little easier then

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, July 31, 2017 at 12:58 p.m.

    Don't you think Brazil already started their best choice against Rapinoe? A team on defense can overload the center or overload the flank, but they cannot overload the flank and the center at the same time. That is why Rapinoe, a player who is still dangerous 1v2, saw a lot of 1v1 situations.

  11. stewart hayes, July 31, 2017 at 11:28 a.m.

    The ref was in over her head. A lot of crude and professional late tackles ignored and Brazilian dives rewarded. One foul led to Dunn's exit. Brazil are very good at this and it is good to see their negative tactics ultimately fail although they came very close to winning this outing. USA was frankly very hard to watch for much of the game. Rapinoe and Press with 2 goals and 3 assists were clearly invaluable. O'Hara had something to prove as well. Fueled by her lapses her anger grew into something very positive at the end with the blistering run and cross that ultimately led to the winning goal.

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, July 31, 2017 at 1:12 p.m.

    I am not sure what the cause was, but Marta not even being cautioned for a studs at the face high kick which warranted a straight red left me speechless.

  13. Stuart d. Warner, July 31, 2017 at 12:48 p.m.

    The team misses Tobin Heath.

  14. R2 Dad replied, July 31, 2017 at 5:32 p.m.

    She's 29, out injured, already has 131 caps. We might not see her soon.

  15. Forever Blue, July 31, 2017 at 1:09 p.m.

    Love Sauerbrunn as central defender not midfielder. She has the capability but not the experience. At least Ertz play holding for her club. Also think Casey should stay on the outside. Hate to say it but Lloyd is still the best player and only person who can pass a ball through the middle. Every other ball seems t come from the outside which can be very predictable. Lloyd is older and a little slower so they should require less defending from her to keep her productive offensively, at least till Lavelle is back. Not a big fan of Rapinoe but she showed up big time. She's always been the emotional one, it just sometimes it leads to trying to do too much. This game it was very productive. We still need a quality finisher. Press is a good hardworking forward but not convincing against good teams. We still look like we are trying to find our identity as a team. No rhythm to the game.

  16. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis, July 31, 2017 at 2:49 p.m.

    For God's sake, would you people go down to the local community college and find some English major to do proofreading for this pathetic magazine!

  17. R2 Dad replied, July 31, 2017 at 5:28 p.m.

    U get wut u pay 4. In this case, it's free so not sure how you can be dissatisfied with that. Even the NYT, WSJ and WP have grammar and punctuation errors these days.

  18. John Soares, July 31, 2017 at 5:58 p.m.

    I think SA does a great job overall. Considering my own mistakes... I'll be the last to complain. Must be that you loved the article and had nothing to complain about on the subject and stated views/opinions:)

  19. James Madison, July 31, 2017 at 7:39 p.m.

    As usual, the men get player ratings; the women do not. Why not? Rapinoe was a menace the entire game. Press should get more time; Dunn less. Overall, too many unforced errors.

  20. Wooden Ships replied, July 31, 2017 at 9:27 p.m.

    James, I agree we need the USWNT rated as well. SA, you could use a woman's contribution and they could specialize in all the things USWNT. There is plenty to cover and if memory serves their accomplishments dwarf the men. Could increase the market share.

  21. R2 Dad, July 31, 2017 at 10:33 p.m.

    Agree with Stewart and Bob on the ref. Borjas was erratic all day. Really didn't want to give a PK for a kick to the head inside the box so gave an indirect in the 4th minute. In the 25th minute gave a direct free kick for impeding the player (which is indirect). In the 27th minute the foul by Beatriz was a cardable offense. In the 53rd minute, carded the WRONG PLAYER, O'Hara made the tackle not Sauerbrunn. In the 60th minute, Pereira cleans out O'Hara but no card? In the 66th minute, the Marta high cleat Bob mentions above nearly catching Short in the head--very dangerous play. This is a FIFA ref who clearly isn't getting enough high-level matches and when dropped into this environment isn't sharp enough.

  22. Patterson Gimlin, August 1, 2017 at 5:23 a.m.

    The US central defense had too many slow balls played back to the keeper. The US lacked the ability to hold the ball and work the ball foward. The long, slow high crosses and long balls down the sidelines to out sprint the Brazilians were ineffective. I believe that as the women play the qualifying matches to come, Press, Ertz, Syndey L will see more starting opportunities. Rapino, Lloyd and O'Hara are a solid core for the next few years. Forget the Hope Solo return stuff. Naeher backed up Hope Solo for years so she's getting an opportunity. However, would like to see the other young keepers see some time in friendly matches to see if there is something better to hold the defense together more effectively.

  23. Ric Fonseca, August 1, 2017 at 2:59 p.m.

    Hey St.Denis, welcome to the "Comment Club!" Been doing this, and done that, for quite some time now. Really now, to get someone from a community college (hey, watch it here with the ComColl comments, after almost 40 years in this higher education system... well you get my drift!!!) It is rather difficult for the SA folks to have someone do the proof reading since it is a daily, like published every day, know-whatImean?... and I am sure they may have an automatic program of sorts that can do that.

  24. Ric Fonseca, August 1, 2017 at 3:04 p.m.

    Hey Amigos, good point re: the :non rating" processes, and I completely agree that for the longest time, excluding the Lynn Berling era, SA has not had a woman reporter, and I wonder just why the heck not? And BTW, someone above asked if Coach Ellis coached the GKs, well, don't know where the person's been, but I am sure he must, should, or ought to know that all teams, men or women, have one and even two GK coaches. As for the center official, yes I agree, she seemed out of sorts with herself, and even let the Brazilieras get into her face, and as I recall Marta even just about hugged her during the course of the game, and lastly the Brasileiras sure got some excellent pointers from the men on how to react when "fouled!"

  25. Greg Clader, August 2, 2017 at 10:21 a.m.

    We are too direct in our play in order to maintain our grip on a TOP 5 spot, much less #1. For now we are still on par with France, Germany, Japan, Sweden,
    Brazil, Australia, North Korea, and England, but the fall is coming. Maybe it will come in 2019, depending on how long it takes the others to match us athletically. Until now we have dominated the same way that Oklahoma and Barry Switzer dominated college football with the WISHBONE offense. Everyone knew knew they were going to run the ball, but still couldn't stop it. In the same way, the whole world knows the USWNT is going to try to solve most problems by either putting the ball in the air, or dribbling out of pressure. They just haven't been able to stop it from being wildly successful. BUT, just like Swtizer and Oklahoma, we won't keep winning that way. I guess we will take the route England's men have. Not until there is a total collapse i.e. not getting out of CONCACAF qualification, will we see the need for true changes in how we approach THE BEAUTIFUL GAME.

  26. R2 Dad replied, August 2, 2017 at 3:30 p.m.

    Agreed, but I've sold Ellis short before so curious how the next world cup circumstances get resolved. It might be a coincidence, but once we shifted to a 3-4-3 (or whatever that formation was) around the 85th minute in that last game, the team suddenly got better in the attacking half and we had half a dozen scoring opportunities. Maybe giving up on the outside backs is the best way to resolve this issue in the short term. Maybe we'll get a real 10 in the bargain, though not sure who that might be. Pugh?

  27. Bob Ashpole replied, August 2, 2017 at 6:08 p.m.

    There is no such thing as "too direct." Attacking problems are poor technique and poor execution, not the same thing as tactics. Your comment ignores what happens out of possession altogether. Moreover the best soccer involves a complex shifting of organization and tactics not only between games but throughout a game. What we need are more great players, great in all aspects of the game. One of the biggest problems with the WNT in the past has been the lack of integration of new players. There have been 10 players with over 200 caps. In contrast Cobi Jones has most caps on the men's side with 164. Landon Donavon had 157. Lilly had an astounding 354 caps. One thing Ellis is doing is opening up playing opportunities for other players. Maybe this won't change who goes to the finals for the US in 2019, but it is better for the pool and the future. There is such a huge difference between club and college and playing for the WNT.

  28. Bob Ashpole replied, August 2, 2017 at 6:12 p.m.

    I was thinking poor decisions was part of execution, but I should have expressly listed it too as a problem.

  29. R2 Dad replied, August 2, 2017 at 11:38 p.m.

    Bob, I think the USWNT does play too directly, which is to say playing so many long balls that the tactic becomes the primary strategy. Against 95% of the teams out there, we can get away with it but against the top 5 we forego possession and often pay the price. Would you agree?

  30. Bob Ashpole replied, August 3, 2017 at 1:28 a.m.

    My point is that when it works, direct play is thought to be great. The fault is not generic to a long pass. The fault is in either the lack of skill (passing or first touch skill or both), poor execution (nobody is perfect all the time), or a poor decision (making the pass anyway when it wasn't on). I would say the US players generally need better skills and better decision making. On the men's side, there is more of a problem with positioning and speed of play--the WMT generally does better (a "C" vs a "D" or worse for the men). I am hopefull that we are seeing this year a period of improvement for the MNT in both speed of play and positioning. Maybe you consider that semantics, but it is the way I think about the game. I know that most people would agree with your statement. I played over 500 amateur matches in the 433 and found long passes (and getting the ball to the forwards early) to have an important place in attacking soccer.

  31. Bob Ashpole replied, August 3, 2017 at 1:45 a.m.

    Maybe this will put my view in perspective. When the team needs a goal, a back's job is to get the ball to a midfielder (in good position) as soon as possible, a midfielder's job is to get the ball to a forward (in good position) as soon as possible, and a forward's job is to be dangerous both on the ball and off. Direct, but not foolish, is my first choice. A back passing directly to a forward at the right time can be devastating. Doing it repeatedly is poor tactics, but then doing anything repeatedly is predictable and as such poor offensive tactics.

  32. Greg Clader replied, August 3, 2017 at 5:11 a.m.

    I differ in opinion. There is such a thing as too direct. Our women are not creative in their runs off the ball or in combining with each other beyond 2 players. And they do overuse the long every match. It's always "on" for them. They do not value possession nor do they try to manipulate the opponent with ball movement. So FRUSTRATING to watch how many times they try to cram the ball forward and give it back to the opponent. You people on here are great historians and have probably forgotten more about American soccer philosophy/tactics than I will ever know. I just respectfully but vehemently disagree with your ideas about the how the game should be played. I think our approach is archaic, over simplistic, and unfitting for moving the game forward. Anson Dorrance epitomizes the (in my opinion) flawed approach with his quote, "I believe the game should be played at a sprint." Sorry, but that just isn't something you'll get from the coaches in countries where soccer really matters. There is a time for the tempo of play to be high, but other times where it needs more control, and the rhythm of the play should be slower and purposeful. Our women don't don't show any understanding of this concept. It isn't a part of the American paradigm for soccer. No, you move forward relentlessly at great pace 99% of the time, you use your legs to solve soccer problems, but rarely your brains. What kind of impact would Lloyd or Morgan make if they didn't have those wheels? Where would our women be if they couldn't simply run around or run over an opponent? I believe the answer is....nowhere. They play with their heads down, their body position is often wrong when receiving a ball, and they are going to go 1 v 1 and try to run past the pressure rather than passing through the pressure. Are there flashes of combination play, of course, but just brief moments. Soccer would never have been called the beautiful game if our women's style of play were the model.

  33. Forever Blue replied, August 3, 2017 at 12:34 p.m.

    Greg. Saying the team plays too direct gives the assumption that it is intentional. Direct play can also involve keeping possession of the ball. The major difference is the is an emphasis on getting the ball up the field as quickly as possible. Germany and France have both been successful playing a more direct tip of play. As Bob stated the key is in skill (ability to actually trap a ball or pass accurately) vision and knowledge of the game. I don't see any rhythm to our game. It seems like they just try to field the best players they can and make it up as they go along. Then there is this thing of playing people out of position. Hisbis the senior national team. Play them in their strongest positions.
    I do agree with you that the ball does not come through the middle enough. But that also eludes to a lack of skill and confidence. Unfortunately Lloyd and Rapinoe still look like the best players who can play a good through ball.

  34. R2 Dad replied, August 3, 2017 at 11:18 p.m.

    Forever, did you see the Australia-Brazil match (6-1)? If so, did it appear Australia had rhythm in that match? They played directly, they scored a bunch of goals--does that appear desirable because they got a result with a bunch of balls over the top?

  35. Forever Blue replied, August 3, 2017 at 11:51 p.m.

    R2, missed the game but watched their game against US and they had more rhythm than we did. I will not deny that results do matter, especially at this level, so a 6-1 win is always desirable. Brazil is no slouch so if the balls over top were accurate and controlled efficiently then its good execution and still "beautiful".

  36. R2 Dad replied, August 4, 2017 at 8:48 a.m.

    So when I watch the highlights, to me, it appears Brazil's poor defense has allowed most of these goals. Yes, personal skill has created a couple here but for the most part bad defensive decisions and certainly impotent goalkeeping have facilitated this scoreline. So credit to Australia for pressing their advantage, but I wouldn't put money on them in 2019. This is kickball. If defenses decide to park the bus, what will they be able to do, really?

  37. Greg Clader, August 2, 2017 at 3:39 p.m.

    Pugh could be an excellent 10.

  38. Forever Blue replied, August 3, 2017 at 12:36 p.m.

    I think Lavelle would make a better #10. Pugh' touch and control still needs work. I thought they would start to rotate Heath into that role as well. Otherwise go to the college ranks or bring in Sanchez from the youth squad.

  39. R2 Dad replied, August 3, 2017 at 2:42 p.m.

    Was Lavelle a 10 at any point? Don't know much about her other than wiki says she is a midfielder...

  40. Forever Blue replied, August 3, 2017 at 11:42 p.m.

    Watched her last few games on USWNT. She showed creativity, poise and skill. And a lefty for good measure.

  41. Allan Lindh, August 3, 2017 at 2:13 p.m.

    Without Lavelle, Heath and Bryan USWNT weak in the middle. When they are back, different team. And surely a call to Hope Solo to see how she is doing is in order. I suspect that even at her age, she is still the best in the world.

  42. R2 Dad replied, August 3, 2017 at 2:52 p.m.

    Agreed, but if we had a style of play the team wouldn't look or play differently--it would just be different pieces to the same puzzle. Maybe those 2nd string pieces wouldn't be as effective but this is something we should be striving to establish. Without Abbey's forehead to focus on, the team has struggled to define its style of play. Ellis is still searching for it. Hopefully it doesn't mean playing 2 d-mids in a 3-4-3.

  43. Greg Clader, August 3, 2017 at 5:14 p.m.

    Lindsey Horan can for sure play in a central position as long as she is paired with someone who can pickup the defensive slack. She has the technical ability and more importantly the awareness necessary to generate the type of play I would like to see more of with our women.

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