USA-New Zealand: Ertz, in new role, is the difference

This has been a year of experimentation for the U.S. women's national team, but a few changes could become permanent. Julie Ertz, a dominating center back in 2015 and 2016, has started the last two games in midfield, and her two first-half goals were the difference Friday night as the USA beat New Zealand, 3-1.

Ellis has been experimenting with three in the back and four in the back. With the emergence of Abby Dahlkemper alongside Becky Sauerbrunn at center back, Ertz did not start her first game of the year until the final game of the Tournament of Nations against Japan in August.

Ertz almost scored in the 11th minute with an overhead volley over the crossbar but did not miss in the 16th and 24th minutes to give the USA a 2-0 lead.

Alex Morgan scored her 75th career goal to complete the U.S. scoring off an assists from Sofia Huerta, who was making her U.S. debut.

Next up: The USA and New Zealand will meet on Tuesday at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, where a crowd of more than 30,000 is expected.

Sept. 15 in Commerce City, Colo.
USA 3 New Zealand 1. Goals: Ertz 16, 24, Morgan 79; Wilkinson 79.
USA -- Naeher; Smith (Huerta, 51), Sauerbrunn, Dahlkemper, O'Hara (Short, 77); Ertz, Mewis (Long, 60), Horan (Brian, 74); Pugh (Dunn, 60), Morgan, Rapinoe (Press, 60).
New Zealand -- Nayler; Percival, Moore, Stott, Riley; White (Phillips, 87), Longo, Yallop (Chance, 84), Hassett, Bowen; Wilkinson.
Att.: 17,301.
5 comments about "USA-New Zealand: Ertz, in new role, is the difference".
  1. James Froehlich, September 16, 2017 at 10:05 a.m.

    Ertz has more bite than Michael Bradley! Sign her up!

  2. Forever Blue replied, September 17, 2017 at 9:23 a.m.

    Agreed. I always saw her as a holding/defensive midfielder. I thought she held the ball and dribbled too much for a center back which sometimes exposed the back line. But her presence is definitely valuable in the team.

  3. Richard T. Lynch, September 18, 2017 at 8:13 a.m.

    Agree Julie is powerful playing out of that position. The midfield looked the best in a long while with her, Horan, and Mewis. Struggled a little when the subs came in but also good to see Brian back on the field. Would like to see her combined with Ertz and Horan, if she's healthy.

  4. Bob Ashpole, September 18, 2017 at 10:58 a.m.

    Ertz certainly had a great game. Another high point was Huerta at fullback. Her first US cap and debuting at fullback. The assist was great, but her attacking ability was not the issue. Her 1v1 defending was the issue. She will only get better and is a good addition to the player pool.

  5. Craig Cummings, September 18, 2017 at 10:13 p.m.

    Go Silver Ferns. The ALL WHITES, Ladies team soccer team.

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