USA-Germany: Windy conditions play havoc in SheBelieves Cup opener

March 1 in Columbus, Ohio
USA 1 Germany 0. Goal: Rapinoe 17.
Att.: 14,591.

The USA opened the 2018 SheBelieves Cup with a 1-0 win over Germany thanks to a goal by Megan Rapinoe in the 17th minute. The surprise of the tournament's opening day in chilly Columbus was England's 4-1 win over France in Phil Neville's debut as England head coach.

1. Heavy winds make conditions very difficult.

The game was played in bad weather with heavy winds playing havoc with balls in the air, and it ended with flurries.

With the wind at their back in the first half, USA struck for the game's only goal. Alyssa Naeher collected a ball in the U.S. penalty area and launched a quick punt to Alex Morgan, who flicked the ball on to Rapinoe, who beat the German backline and fired the ball past goalkeeper Almuth Schult.

2. U.S. youth movement continues.

U.S. Jill Ellis has not been shy about bringing new players into the national team. That youth movement, which began after the 2015 Women's World Cup championship, has continued into 2018.

Only two players who started against Germany a year ago in the SheBelieves Cup started on Thursday night: Naeher and Carli Lloyd, who wore the captain's armband again with Becky Sauerbrunn sidelined.

For the second game in a row, two teenagers were in the starting lineup: 19-year-olds Mallory Pugh and Tierna Davidson. Three of the four defenders -- Taylor Smith, Abby Dahlkemper and Davidson -- were playing in their first SheBelieves Cup game.

3. Germany struggles in second half.

It was a disappointing performance for Germany after a promising start. Steffi Jones' team had its chances early in game but could not do much in the second half, even with the wind at its back.

The USA had a 9-3 edge in shots after intermission to finish the game with a 14-7 edge.

TRIVIA. The USA has won its opening game at all three SheBelieves Cups. It also beat Germany, 1-0, last year and opened with a 2-1 win over England in 2016.

March 1 in Columbus, Ohio
USA 1 Germany 0. Goal: Rapinoe 17.
USA -- Naeher; Smith, Dahlkemper, Davidson, O'Hara (Short, 79); Ertz (McCaskill, 72), Horan,  Lloyd (Brian, 65); Pugh (Williams, 90+1), Morgan (Long, 90+4), Rapinoe (Sonnett, 86).
Germany -- Schult, Hendrich, Maier (Kayikci, 76), Peter (Goessling, 54), Marozsan, Popp, Daebritz, Dallmann (Magull, 68), Faist, Huth, Kemme.
Att.: 14,591.

Shots: 14 / 7
Shots on Goal: 4 / 2
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 6 / 13
Offside: 0 / 2
21 comments about "USA-Germany: Windy conditions play havoc in SheBelieves Cup opener".
  1. Bob Ashpole, March 2, 2018 at 12:13 a.m.

    Horrible weather. Rain to sleet to snow.

    Playing in the rain in summer weather is pleasant. This isn't Summer, not even Spring yet.

    Best news, as the article notes in point 2, was the play by the new players. Not mentioned in the article is that the USA was able to effectively high press in a 433 against the No. 2 ranked team in the world, also very good news. 

  2. James Madison, March 2, 2018 at 4:34 p.m.

    Where, oh where, are the player ratings?

  3. Wooden Ships replied, March 2, 2018 at 7:54 p.m.

    Excellent question. SA must believe ratings aren’t warranted, unless you’re male. It’s the USWNT and it’s 2018. 

  4. R2 Dad replied, March 2, 2018 at 7:56 p.m.

    The women deserve to be treated equal to the men, except for being rated in which case they are fragile, subservient supplicants. Didn't you get the SA memo?

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, March 2, 2018 at 8:28 p.m.

    I don't pay attention to anyone's player ratings.  I would rather read a narrative.

  6. Wooden Ships replied, March 3, 2018 at 5:35 a.m.

    I agree Bob, the narrative is best, but why do it for the men and not the women. The symbolism of one and not the other is just wrong today. 

  7. frank schoon replied, March 3, 2018 at 11:04 a.m.

    RATINGS ??  When you watch a women's basketball game how often do you hear the announcer give out shooting percentages of the players or the league in general. I'm still waiting....
    Did we ever give out ratings back in the early 90's with the MNT....I don't remember. As far as I'm concerned we shouldn't even bother with ratings of the that is going to do a lot of good either way...who cares... I rather worry about seeing some decent soccer first , than I'll begin to get semi-interested in ratings. 

  8. frank schoon replied, March 3, 2018 at 11:05 a.m.

    RATINGS ??  When you watch a women's basketball game how often do you hear the announcer give out shooting percentages of the players or the league in general. I'm still waiting....
    Did we ever give out ratings back in the early 90's with the MNT....I don't remember. As far as I'm concerned we shouldn't even bother with ratings of the that is going to do a lot of good either way...who cares... I rather worry about seeing some decent soccer first , than I'll begin to get semi-interested in ratings. 

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, March 3, 2018 at 12:05 p.m.

    Wooden Ships, you make an excellent point.

  10. R2 Dad, March 2, 2018 at 8:39 p.m.

    Yes results matter, but I guess the windy conditions didn't lead ellis to insist the team play the ball on the ground in the defensive half, which would have been a good test. The pressing play did not hide our weak outside backs, who cannot run at defenders. Ertz shines in the attacking half, but has a hard time linking up with outside backs to get the ball upfield on the ground--maybe this is by design? Lloyd's first touch was poor, as was Pugh's. Also, Pugh has got to resist this urge for flicks since that first touch is not so good. Rapino is listed as the left wing, but played centrally often. I was surprised how often balls into the box went through without a touch. Curious how ellis will set them up against france, which is struggling. Glad ellis is bringing in new blood--curious who her best XI is at this point.

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, March 3, 2018 at 11:46 a.m.

    Ironic that you mention this, I expected that the women would play on the ground the second half due to the wind. Watching this game between the top 2 national teams, however, lead me to the opposite conclusion. 

    The US WNT has physical and technical strengths. The combination of high pressure defense and direct play creates a lot of 1v1 matchups. That sets the stage to exploit technical skills. If you have a team of great 1v1 players, this approach actually is a very good Plan A. A slow buildup possession style play is relegated to Plan B. 

    I cannot believe you said "our weak outside backs." Kelley O'Hara is among the best in the world on the ball or off, if not the best in the world. She also plays forward, scored 24 goals in 35 appearances for the U20s and scored 15 goals for her club last year.     

  12. R2 Dad replied, March 3, 2018 at 3:52 p.m.

    Bob, KO didn't play a minute at the last world cup--she wasn't even the best in the team at that position. If Klingenberg hadn't been injured KO might still be riding the pine (they're both 29). Regardless of how much KO scores, outside backs need to defend and link play forward.

    Not sure what you saw in this match, but this is what I saw:

    5:00 - Ohara heads directly to an opponent in the defensive 3rd.
    8:00 - Smith poor touch allows opponents to continue attack
    8:15 - Ohara another ill-advised header into a dangerous area in the defending 3rd.
    19:40 - Ohara turns over ball in defensive 3rd (though not entirely her fault), almost scores an own goal
    21:00 - Smith and Pugh switch positions so Pugh can dribble from defensive 3rd since Smith unable
    26:00 - Smith couldn't trap ball, toe-poked into dangerous space in the defensive 3rd.
    30:00 -  Smith poor pass results in turnover
    31:00 - Smith backpass, nothing to offer going forward
    31:15 - Smith turnover straight to opponent
    37:00 - smith throw-in straight to opponent

    So yeah, weak outside backs. Thankfully, the second half was not as eventful for the US back line but that was more down to Germany falling apart.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, March 3, 2018 at 5:41 p.m.

  14. R2 Dad replied, March 4, 2018 at 1:48 a.m.

    correction: played 61+15+29=105 minutes (plus stoppage). Didn't start the final--klingenberg did, played 90. Ohara subbed Rapinoe at 61st minute after all the goals scored. Doesn't sound world class to me then, evidence in Ohio suggests nothing has changed. But every player needs a fanboi.

  15. frank schoon, March 3, 2018 at 11:29 a.m.

    Has anyone approached the USSF Coaching School Academy in teaching their future coaches of America in able teach players in not passing to the feet but pass so that the players can take the ball on the move thus creating a quicker up tempo. These US women all pass the ball strictly to feet which tells me they have no clue in what the next option is of the upcoming receiver of the pass. Watching these games, technically, puts me to sleep....It's like dribble the ball, look up , pass the ball to the next receiver's feet, the receiver takes ball, dribbles ,looks passes to the feet of the next player or gives it a whack down field ,etc... Were talking about ratings here?...I'll tell what we need to do is to rate the USSF Coaching Academy on the garbage they teach the future coaches on how to pass the ball, technically,  in relation the next option of the receiver.  I can't believe how bad the level of passing on National Team is.....

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, March 3, 2018 at 12:04 p.m.

    Frank, I believe the technical and tactical level of play is a glass half full vs. half empty situation. We both are looking for a full glass. In my perspective, team tactics have much improved comparing how they attacked in the first half of the decade to how they attack in 2015 through now.

    I think key to success now is continually finding the best 1v1 players, players that excell both defending and attacking. Winning through having better players rather than rely on out-hustling opponents. This is the new view I took away from this match--that Ellis was using agressive high pressure both attacking and defending to create 1v1 matchups across the field when we attacked.        

  17. frank schoon replied, March 3, 2018 at 12:42 p.m.

    Bob, First of all I'm not looking looking for a full glass for we don't have that even after 50 years with the man side. But what I'm looking for and that doesn't require 50 years to accomplish is the ability to teach players to understand not to pass to the feet for it slows everything down and thereby not utilizing open space...That this is common failure in men's as well as women's soccer and it is a reflection upon  the quality of coaching at the highest level.
    And I"m sure even after Ellis's Pro-coaching license this is not going to change.  

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, March 3, 2018 at 1:34 p.m.

    Frank, I am not sure that Ellis (the WNT coach) is the coach to blame or the coach to change it. 

    I think that the problem at the youth levels is what you have identified before--coaches who don't have significant playing experience to provide a context for what they read and are told about coaching and playing.

    Take your comment about passing to feet. I understand what you meant about being faster, and I also understand that sometimes circumstances favor passing to feet as opposed to space. The sad thing is that I expect good adult amateur players to understand the concept, and we are discussing professional players here. But then I have high expectations and was lucky enough to play with some extremely good amatuer players.

    The wind, and wintery mix, may have had something to do with placement of the passes. I want to point out that the US team with the wind did not overhit as many passes as the German team did in the 2nd half. Then again I have seen what you are talking about in good weather and in both the MNT and WNT matches.

    Perhaps the answer is across all levels to place a greater emphasis in technical training on coaches looking at ways to improve tactical speed and spend less time on team tactics.

  19. frank schoon replied, March 3, 2018 at 2:32 p.m.

    Bob, first of all I disagree on your assertion about the lack of playing experience by coaches not able to teach that particular aspect of passing. Just look at the higher level coaches, high school , college, professional and National..NONE OF THEM DO IT. Cruyff back in '84 when he became coach of Ajax had to teach this aspect of passing to the first team ,a the team that consisted of Van Basten, Rykaard, Vanenburg,etc , great players already in their own right. This follows that  none of the coaches from youth up to professional weren't doing it either. Taking this a step further the Dutch KNVB, that was so popular world wide didn't teach it. This is why ,I remember as he was driving to his mother's house telling me directly that 'these coaches (professional) don't know anything about soccer". He had a very low opinion of them.
    The concept of passing to a player on the move doesn't take any brains but it does take ,at times, the right touch, timing, field view. 
    Yes, Bob, ofcourse there are times that you can only pass to the feet but they do it even when you shouldn't. Just like there are times when you don't want to one-touch it but hold on to it.
    How often do you see in the backfield a outside back pass to the centerback or vice versa pass to the feet when he has about 15 yards of space to go forward into ,as an example..
    Tactical speed and team tactics are combined and shouldn't be a seperate issue , for both it all ties in to the capabilities of the player as far as when having ball possession.

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, March 3, 2018 at 10:32 p.m.

    Frank, I have to accept what you say generally about coaches. I simply haven't had an opportunity to watch "higher level" soccer coaches train (outside of demonstrations). As a player, I have only had one "higher level" soccer coach and he wasn't a big talker.  

  21. frank schoon replied, March 4, 2018 at 10:25 a.m.

    Bob, you don't have to watch higher level coaches train to get an idea what they teach. All you have to do is watch their product out on the field to figure out what they teach or emphasize. When Cruyff stated 'these coaches don't know anything" he was talking about the pros for criticizing the coaches below that level would be unfair but indirectly if the pro-level coached are not good than it automatically infers those below are also criticized.
    Watching the women play, besides this tournament, the one thing that stands out in their play is THE OBVIOUS AND PREDICTABLE passing to the feet. It is the same for the men,but it stands out so much more with the women. Notice no one is talking about this aspect for Cruyff, himself, criticized this particular aspect 35 years ago. Than you have to ask yourself why isn't this stressed at the USSF coaching academy to coaches for it stands out like a sore thumb during a game. This is why I criticize the Coaching Academy for those who teach to the coaches are not good teachers for they themselves have not played at a high level to teach the finer insights.... This is why no matter how high the level of coaching license, for example an A-level coaching license, one obtains it is only as good as the level of play of those who teach the coaches. Unfortunately, that level is not to good.
    Wim Jonk who trained and overlooked the Ajax youth program for Cruyff during the Cruyffian revolution in the years leading up to Cruyff's death was interviewed. He stated  he often had discussions with Cruyff. And the one thing Cruyff rarely mentioned was soccer systems like 4-3-3 but instead placed BIG emphasis on the PRINCICPLES of soccer, which need to be taught first to players, for without these principles one can't play good soccer. For example, third man off the ball; passing in front of the player instead of to his feet in order to keep tempo of game going; receiving the ball with the bottom front foot not with inside of foot; pass to the far foot away from the defender; on the building up from the back always skip a line or station thereby creating a third,unseen, man off the ball, don't pass a ball in the air to someone who is shorter than his opponent; never turn your back  to the goalie as you walk back upfield; trapping the ball with one foot in a manner that the other foot can make a follow pass in the right direction, etc ,etc, many principles  need to be taught to today's players which are not taught .

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