USA-France: Women's Friendly Player Ratings

Jan. 19 in Le Havre, France
France 3 USA 1. Goals: Diani (Cascarino) 9, Diani (Torrent) 57, Katoto (Bussaglia) 78; Pugh (Lloyd) 91+.
Att.: 23,000.

Overconfidence during preparations for this summer's World Cup won't be a problem for the USA thanks to its feeble performance in a 3-1 loss to France that ended the Americans' 28-game unbeaten streak.

USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)
The Kadidiatou Diani shots that beat Alyssa Naeher low and high were superb, but the U.S. goalkeeper reacted in slow motion as Marie-Antoinette Katoto cruised past her to score France's third. Naeher was well-positioned to block two French headers off corner kicks and a close-range volley from Diani in the 39th minute.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
4 Alyssa Naeher
(Chicago Red Stars) 39/0 (30)

France went after the USA's youngest starter, 20-year-old left back Emily Fox, from the get-go and took a 1-0 lead in the 9th minute when Delphine Cascarino blazed past the UNC sophomore to set up Diani. Central defender Becky Sauerbrunn failed in the veteran leadership department. Her partner Abby Dahlkemper, who only timidly challenged Diani on the second goal, and right back Emily Sonnett hit a few good balls out of the back, but this backline couldn't help an overwhelmed midfield.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
4 Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns) 27/0 (25)

4 Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage) 31/0 (25)

4 Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals) 150/0 (33)

3 Emily Fox (Univ. of North Carolina) 3/0 (20)

With midfielder Julie Ertz out because of a minor injury -- as well as winger Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath -- Coach Jill Ellis moved Crystal Dunn, usually a left back for the USA, into the midfield. Dunn passed poorly throughout, was outmuscled by the French, and wasted a 1-on-1 in the 70th minute. Morgan Brian, who fell while marking Diane on the first goal, contributed zero to the attack. Lindsey Horan was the only U.S. midfielder able to fend off French tackles and also toiled defensively. Not only did the French look technically superior and fitter -- they outnumbered the Americans in the midfield. A situation for which Coach Jill Ellis found no solution.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
3 Crystal Dunn (NC Courage) 76/24 (26)

3 Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars) 82/6 (25)

5 Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 63/7 (24)

Christen Press
, the only U.S. forward who troubled the French for 90 minutes, twice shot straight to the keeper after impressively beating her foes, and headed wide on a third chance. Center forward Alex Morgan hardly saw the ball, and in the 52nd minute missed the ball on a heading opportunity. Mallory Pugh's performance would have gone down as the worst of the attackers -- so often did she lose the ball and hit poor passes -- had she not scored the consolation goal in stoppage time with a superb 12-yard shot just inside the far post.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
4 Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) 44/13 (20)

3 Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 154/98 (29)

5 Christen Press (Utah Royals) 107/46 (30)

Tierna Davidson replaced Fox in 53rd minute and France scored again from that flank in the 57th. Carli Lloyd shot high shortly after entering, but assisted on Pugh's goal. Jessica McDonald, an 84th-minute sub, had passed the ball to Lloyd.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
3 Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 13/1 (20)

Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC) 266/105 (36)

NR Jessica McDonald
(NC Courage) 4/1 (30)

NR Sam Mewis (NC Courage) 42/8 (26)

TRIVIA: The USA also lost at France four years ago (2-0 in Lorient) in the first game of its build-up to the 2015 World Cup, which the USA won. The loss marked the USA's first since falling to Australia (1-0) in July 2017.

Jan. 19 in Le Havre, France
France 3 USA 1.
Goals: Diani (Cascarino) 9, Diani (Torrent) 57, Katoto (Bussaglia) 78; Pugh (Lloyd) 91+.
France -- Bouhaddi; Torrent, Tounkara, Renard, Majri; Henry, Bussaglia; Cascarino (Katoto, 69), Thiney, Le Sommer; Diani (Asseyi, 83).
USA --  Naeher; Sonnett (Lloyd, 71), Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Fox (Davidson, 53); Brian, Horan (Mewis, 84), Dunn; Pugh, Morgan (McDonald, 84), Press.
Yellow cards: none
Red cards: none
Referee: Referee Pernilla Larsson (SWE)
Att.: 23,000.

Shots: 14/8
Shots on target: 9/4
Saves: 3/6
Corner Kicks: 8/3
Fouls: 8/4
Offside: 2/4

22 comments about "USA-France: Women's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Wooden Ships, January 19, 2019 at 7:52 p.m.

    Heather Oreilley had some honest comments post game. The more skilled players are ever present today for a number of countries. As she indicated, there hasn’t been much improvement over the last couple years. Is it just me or is this the first time SA has given player ratings? 

  2. beautiful game, January 19, 2019 at 9:01 p.m.

    Fox wasn't beaten by "blazing speed"...she was beaten for the first Les Bleus goal because of horrific positioning in shielding the ball.

  3. Michael Saunders replied, January 19, 2019 at 11:27 p.m.

    Totally agree that Fox's speed was not the issue for horrific shielding of the ball.  Later she gave up the ball again for the same reason. 

  4. R2 Dad, January 19, 2019 at 9:43 p.m.

    1) good write-up, Mike.
    2) thanks for the ratings--very much appreciated. 
    3) You can play anyone at outside back (e.g. Davidson) when competing against almost any other than a top 5 team. But when you play France, Japan, Germany, those outside backs actually need to defend.
    4) All our attacking talent goes starved for service when we can't hold onto the ball. The USWNT is starting to look like the USMNT, which is a huge problem.
    5) Jill was quoted elsewhere: I'm not worried. We know who we are and what we can do."  Now I'M worried.

  5. Michael Saunders, January 19, 2019 at 11:21 p.m.

    Thank you for the ratings!  

  6. frank schoon, January 20, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

     Here is my opinion. One of the problems I see is that the defensive criticism on Fox is not totally justified. The problem should have been seen in the first 5min. of the game by Ellis and her coaching staff and ,obviously they didn't; for they allowed this to go on. Here is the problem. Horan #9 , who I think is one of the better players on the team ,as far as being comfortable with the ball under pressure, was the problem ,defensively. Horan playing left half tucks way too far in towards the other side of the field,as if playing centerhalf or even righthalf . As a result it allowed the french rightback to be wide open, unmarked, and to make runs upfield forcing Fox to guard or  handle two french attacking players, of which Cascarino was one of them.  Fortunately, the french, like the US side, were clueless to this tactical snafu, for they should have seen this and right away and offered lots of quick diagonal passes to the right side, which you didn't see coming from their leftside.
    I was expecting from this BLATANT tactical error to hear REACTION from either side along the sidelines, while I was pulling my hair out watching this disaster and worse even the color commentators didn't have no clue.
    Cruyff once stated that fans only watch what is obvious out there but never understand what the REAL problem is,  for example, Fox looked bad to them, but they don't the really notice the real problem which could have been corrected if Horan moved 10 meters more to her left which was  all that was necessary to alleviate the situation. It was Horan that failed her defensive duties not Fox...NEXT POST.

  7. frank schoon, January 20, 2019 at 11:27 a.m.

    Lets look at the offensive qualities of the US team. WHY would you post Horan as a lefthalfback when she is right footed. Again, I was hoping the color commentators would at least mention or talk about this, but again I realize I expect too much from these socalled experts and this is another reason is that our color soccer commentating is on first grade level...
    Again ,the overal fault lies with the USSF coaching academy for it teaches only the basic obvious X's and O's but not the inner machinery of what makes the x's and o's function other words coaches are not taught the technical variances that lead to better tactical functioning in relation to how the players are situated which each other on the field.
    Notice, Horan, slows the game down due to her being rightfooted and being POSITIONED on the wrong side of the field. She always receives the ball from her defense with her back facing downfield, resulting in her having totally no view of the field, other than her own third. Her body stance and her being right footed doesn't not allow for quick give and goes around midfield, which slow the attack, and also she can be defended easier. Where she is positioned and how she receives the ball does not allow for a nice lead to third man off the ball, and the way she is position ed leads to too much counter clockwise spin on the ball going forwards. Furthermore all of Horan's passes are either SQUARE or BACKWARDS, which is not exactly efficient, in other words Horan who is pretty decent with a ball is underutilized. 
    Another characteristic of Horan is that everything she does is in ONE tempo, slow...Look at the TOTAL picture, she plays in one tempo ,slow , she lacks any variance of acceleration that could surprise the opponent, she usually has her back facing downfield, usually gives square or backpasses, lacks good field view when on the ball and is not capable of giving quick give and go's due to the position and body stance of where she plays on the field, and as far as efficiency goes her passes rarely beats an opponent.
    THe bright side of Horan is that she employs functional technique and can even improve upon that it if she could work with a retired player like a Valderama. NEXT POST

  8. frank schoon replied, January 21, 2019 at 8:49 p.m.

    Bob, I have not kept up with the USWNT. I’m not familiar with any of the players. I will know more about them when watching Spain. You seem to be much knowledgeable. 
    I was not impressed with Dunn and found her weak with the ball pressure situation.

  9. frank schoon, January 20, 2019 at 11:50 a.m.

    Now lets look at Presser, who plays in front of Horan, has speed but alas her speed is underutilized because; one,  Horan can never directly pass to Presser because her back is facing downfield,  and in order to pass to Presser Horan would have to make a 270 degree turn; two, Fox could reach Presser with a long pass which not only takes longer but it is also well telegraphed; and three there is rarely room for a good leadpass given to Pressure that would travel diagonally directly behing the french right back. Another problem I see is the manner how how Fox runs with the ball is too much on her heels ,therefore she is unable to make nice passes that can drop with a backspin behind defenders.
    That whole leftside attackwise is therefore weak. Another problem is that Presser relies on speed, which is the usual characteristic of our US attackers. Presser is a one-shot deal meaning, after he quick run she has no other or secondary move or action after, it's all or nothing. Presser lacks what Cascarino has which is plenty of shake and bake move along with speed. Presser is your typical North Carolina , Anson Dorance , type of player.
    Our attack is further hampered by Presser having no support, from either Fox or Horan. We didn't have an attacking leftback because Cascarino dominated and therefore was nowhere to be seen on the attack.
    I would like to see Horan play as a righthalf, and therefore make this our control side. Horan is needs players around her to be efficient, for she is combinational type of player. She handles the ball well, knows where to pass to and is strong on the ball and shields well. Then we need to have a wing, a Cascarino type who can shake and bake,drive defenders nuts, and knows she will not only get good service from Horan, but also doesn't Horan rarely lose the ball which means continue attack. Horan furthermore can overlap, beat a defender 1v1, and can cross the ball for she has a strong kick and of course you have to have 3rd person an attacker to go along, all which can drive the opponents nuts for we have than so many more attacking options. With Horan on the ball, our team has not only more time set up an attack, but also it allows more players on the attack. As the opponents draw attention to our right side, it will leave our left side with so much space wide open to make back field runs which would make Presser become more of an asset.....

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, January 21, 2019 at 6:34 p.m.

    Good comments Frank. Horan normally plays inside right. Press normally plays on the right wing. Dunn normally plays on the left of a midfield diamond (as a LB). The way Dunn normally plays LB may explain (not excuse) why Horan was too far inside. Fox impressed me. 

    The team always looks like a different team with the missing Ertz in the pivot position. The match was about what I expected--the US looked like they were in pre-season, while France looked in good form. 

    Some people may think that starting the year off playing France in France was too ambitious, but I think it is exactly the start that the team needed.

  11. frank schoon replied, January 21, 2019 at 8:51 p.m.

    Bob, I have not kept up with the USWNT. I’m not familiar with any of the players. I will know more about them when watching Spain. You seem to be much knowledgeable. 
    I was not impressed with Dunn and found her weak with the ball pressure situation.

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, January 21, 2019 at 9:01 p.m.

    This was not a good match to evaluate the players. I only saw a couple of decent passes. They played really poorly as a team--slow with bad touches and disconnected, but that is not normal. I hope. :)

  13. frank schoon replied, January 21, 2019 at 9:03 p.m.

    Bob, since you told me that Horan plays usually on the right side of the field, it is understandable why she drifted so far to the right side in this game, but that should have corrected Ellis. Furthermore , I also found that our front line is similar across board , and the flanks are also too similar 

  14. frank schoon replied, January 21, 2019 at 9:34 p.m.

    Bob, there were lots  of bad passes on both sides, especially unforced errors right to the opponent’s feet. Give and goes are a rarity. 
    Can’t wait to see the Spain game tomorrow

  15. Nick Gabris, January 20, 2019 at noon

    The overconfidence comes from playing all of those mediocre friendlies in 2018. All the WNT coaches wanted was wins, now it is payback time, when you are playing the quality teams you should have been playing in 2018 to see where improvements needed to be made. I commented on this last year during those games, that the WNT will have a rough go at the WC. Any quality coach would have been aware of this. Hopefully they can get their act together in time. Good luck!

  16. R2 Dad replied, January 21, 2019 at 1:53 a.m.

    This appears to be the Ellis roadmap--very similar to 2014 run-up to 2015 WC. I was skeptical then, and Ellis proved me wrong. This time it may be different--or it could go the way it did 4 years ago. Big picture we need dmids and outside backs to be able to turn and run at defenders. We didn't have that yesterday against a composed French team and we looked weak. Now, this may be head games on the part of Ellis, who doesn't want to show her hand and deliberately allow the French to gain a false sense of confidence. Maybe Ellis told our players to play slowly, since they're in preseason now. Maybe. We may play France in the quarters, when all these questions will be answered.

  17. James Madison, January 20, 2019 at 6:27 p.m.

    At last, after I've pleaded for them for I cannot remember how long, player ratings!!  And as R2 Dad notes and I have observed before, the women seem increasingly to copy and thereby to be infected by the defects that plague the men. Ugh!

  18. Stephen Stephens replied, January 20, 2019 at 7:29 p.m.

    This loss of focus and poor play is a direct result in the person directing the squad.  Jill Ellis need to be removed.  

  19. Stephen Stephens, January 20, 2019 at 7:26 p.m.

    You were much too harse with   Saurbrunn, she played her heart out and pushed the ball up on many occations.  The remainder of the back line sucked pure and simple.  I honestly think the USA need a new gaffer.  Jill Ellis is not the person for this position.   You have all this talent and play long ball and loose pass after pass all night long.  Something is wrong with the training system and the team concept.  

  20. R2 Dad replied, January 21, 2019 at 1:40 a.m.

    This may answer some of your questions:

  21. uffe gustafsson, January 21, 2019 at 5:10 p.m.

    Frank I do have to agree with you on the Emily fox disaster she had no help from her mid fielder against a really good player. Though fox really got her into trouble not shielding that ball and somehow stepped towards the sideline instead goal side and got beat.
    horan just didn’t look good bad passing and defencevly  not helping out when the French just keeped attacking on that side. Press was open all game long but never got a pass, I’m like don’t you see her wide open and the few times she got a pass things started to happen.

  22. frank schoon replied, January 21, 2019 at 5:32 p.m.

    Uffe, yes ,so true, i"m glad you noticed that...and yes, Fox did not shield well in that particular situation. There were a lot other apects I didn't mention but we'll see how they play against spain....

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