Commentary

USA-Brazil: SheBelieves Cup Player Ratings

USA-BRAZIL EXPRESS:
March 5 in Tampa, Fla.
USA 1 Brazil 0. Goals: Heath 20.
Att.14,009


After 2-2 ties against both Japan and England, the USA finished second to England in the SheBelieves Cup thanks to Tuesday's 1-0 win over Brazil, which had opened with loses to England (2-1) and Japan (3-1). A swift counterattack led to Tobin Heath's 20th-minute goal, a well-struck shot from 17 yards into the upper corner. Otherwise, it was not an impressive evening for the U.S. offense.

USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)
GOALKEEPER
With Alyssa Naeher sidelined with a shoulder injury and after Adrianna Franch had a poor outing in Saturday's 2-2 tie with England, Ashlyn Harris got her first start of 2019. Harris made a diving save on a close-range header by Ludmila in 75th minute and alertly came out to smother a through ball in the 88th minute.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Ashlyn Harris
(Orlando Pride) 20/0 (33)

DEFENDERS
One of the Brazilian crosses cleared by an Abby Dahlkemper header went straight to Mallory Pugh to spark the counterattack that led to the game's only goal. Dahlkemper and her central defense partner Becky Sauerbrunn had little trouble stifling the Brazilian frontline, which got little support from its defense-minded midfield. Crystal Dunn, who won her battles with Marta, hit a great cross-field pass to Heath in the second half and also attacked down the wings, as did Kelley O’Hara. But neither of their efforts caused many problems for the Brazilians. O'Hara's 34th-minute diving header, unfortunately, went straight to the keeper, or it would have become a viral video clip.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals) 115/2 (30)
6 Abby Dahlkemper
(NC Courage) 35/0 (25)
6 Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals) 153/0 (33)
6 Crystal Dunn
(NC Courage) 80/24 (26)

MIDFIELDERS
Mallory Pugh
, who should have been awarded a penalty kick seconds after kickoff when bowled over by Thaisa, relayed the ball to Tobin Heath on the sequence that led to the gamewinner. Pugh, who later hit a perfect cross for Kelley O'Hara's diving header that keeper Aline caught, was subbed at halftime. Central midfielder Julie Ertz toiled defensively but also gave up the ball with poor touches. It remains an issue that the USA's central midfielder is saddled with so much defensive work, U.S. attacks are predictably down the flanks. Sam Mewis, on the left side of midfield, covered a lot of ground and made some key defensive contributions late in the game when the Brazilians put more effort into attacking.

Player (Club)caps/goals (age)
5 Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) 48/13 (20)
5 Julie Ertz
(Chicago Red Stars) 77/18 (26)
6 Sam Mewis (NC Courage) 45/8 (26)

FORWARDS
Megan Rapinoe struck two free kicks straight into the Brazilian wall. Aside from her strike into the net that was nullified because she was a step offside, it was an underwhelming performance by the left winger, who hit a poor cross in the 40th minute after one of the few impressive multi-pass U.S. buildups. Alex Morgan took the shot that rebounded off keeper Aline to Tobin Heath on the goal. Otherwise, Morgan saw little of the ball. Heath had superbly dribbled down field and fed Morgan before finishing the rebound. In the 16th minute, Heath shot straight at Aline when she had plenty of time to make more of the opportunity.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Tobin Heath
(Portland Thorns) 146/27 (30)
4 Alex Morgan
(Orlando Pride) 158/99 (29)
4 Megan Rapinoe 
(Reign FC) 148/43 (33)

SUBSTITUTES
Christen Press, who replaced Pugh at halftime, quickly became the USA's most active player. She won balls in the Brazilian half and attacked swiftly, but like her over-hit cross in the 56th minute, was unable to make a profound impact on the incohesive U.S. offense. Emily Sonnett blocked a cross shortly after replacing O'Hara in the 66th minute. The last three subs came late in the game.

Player (Club)caps/goals (age)
6 Christen Press (Utah Royals) 111/46 (30)
6 Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns) 30/0 (25)
NR
Tierna Davidson
(Chicago Red Stars) 17/1 (20)
NR Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC) 269/105 (26)
NR Jessica McDonald (NC Courage) 6/1 (31)

TRIVIA. The USA's all-time record against Brazil is now: 28 wins, 3 losses, 5 ties. The losses came in 1997 (1-0 in a friendly in Sao Paulo), 2007 (4-0 in the 2007 World Cup semifinals in China), and 2014 (3-2 in a friendly tournament in Brasilia).

March 5 in Tampa, Fla.
USA 1 Brazil 0. Goals: Heath 20,
USA -- Harris; O'Hara (Sonnett, 66), Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Pugh (Press, 46), Ertz, Mewis; Heath (McDonald, 87), Morgan (Lloyd, 88), Rapinoe (Davidson, 83).
Brazil -- Aline; Letícia, Erika, Thaisa, Andressa, Formiga; Debinha, Marta, Adriana; Beatriz (Ludmila, 65), Monica.
Yellow cards: Brazil -- Andressa 56. Red cards: none.
Referee:
Carol Chenard (Canada)
Att.:
14,009

Stats:
USA/Brazil
Shots:
18/11
Shots on Goal:
6/3
Saves:
3/5
Corner Kicks:
2/2
Fouls:
8/18
Offside:
3/1
Possession: 50%/50%

16 comments about "USA-Brazil: SheBelieves Cup Player Ratings".
  1. Ron Frechette, March 6, 2019 at 7:08 a.m.

    The game showed why the US is going to have to grind out wins in this year's WC. Was happy to see that the US responded and handled the physical nature of the Brizilian's game. I thought this was missing in the 1st game.
    Coach Ellis is working with what she has for players - but the touches and the passing was at times very difficult to watch. Can we attribute this to most of the US players not having gone through a full pre-season with their teams? I would have thought that the USWNT camp would have gotten all of the rust off, but it did not seem so.
    I don't know how Dunn gets a 6 for a rating - watching her dive in and missing the tackle and the subsequent attack through her vacated space multiple times was tough to take. This was not the only game her missed tackles started to put the US under pressure.

  2. John Soares, March 6, 2019 at 7:33 a.m.

    A good, but not the most exciting game.
    Give Brazil credit  they played a tight well controlled game.
    Mews had changed the game when she came in as a sub replacing Lavelle in previous games, was excellent today.
    Pugh not nearly as effective inside.
    Should Harris be first choice!?
    The team seems to be in a good place at this point.
    Would like to see a change/increase in tempo.

  3. frank schoon, March 6, 2019 at 10:04 a.m.

    This game represented basically how we play, we rely upon Athletic prowess, and counterattacking soccer. This type of low level soccer has brought success to the women's program, historically, and I don't see this style of soccer changing anytime soon unless US soccer changes its way of thinking and bring in real " top quality" coaches to raise our game to a higher level. The women's success was/is due to our Athleticism and Talent not to great coaching, for if it were due to great coaching we wouldn't continually be playing this low type of level game. If we had great coaches, and considering the Talent and Great Athletes the rest of the world wouldn't catching up to us and in effect play a better brand of soccer. But I guess it easier just to rely just on Talent and Athletic Prowess to get us somewhere.
    The quality of play by the US women's team is a reflection of the training the women  have received in their developmental years. Realize these women were the star players and always played for the best teams and SUPPOSEDLY by good "Coaching"in the past 15 years, which I don't they actually had.
    For example WNT have difficulty building up an attack from the back, and actually aren't even doing it correctly.  That I blame on Ellis, her coaching staff and all of the previous coaches these star players played for....Technically, the women lack the ability to make a pass that could skip several stations in order for next to the last station to advantage...It's just meat and potatos out there....I would fall out of my chair if I noticed one player apply the outside of her foot. Our Athleticism hides, actually, our weakness of play.
    Look at Japan, they realize they can't run with us or teams who have Athletic prowess, strength and size and therefore they rely on technical skill, short passes and are so much better with "interplay". Japan ,in other words, has to play 'soccer' to compete. That is why my hat goes off for their program for their soccer is much more aligned to making their players employ more of the real aspects of soccer. NEXT POST.

  4. frank schoon, March 6, 2019 at 10:55 a.m.

     I watched this particular game not so much in how our team plays for you only have to watch them a couple of times to get the jest. I watched it to see Morgan played, becuase some criticize her for running too much of a North/South pattern. I like Morgan she is the only one on the front line, who is more aware of her teammates or rather her surroundings, which I miss with Heath and Rapinoe.
    Morgan is more than just a centerforward, she drops back to midfield, lays off a pass to her midfielders, runs towards the flanks to help(although she favors movement, center to left much much more). She is a work horse, a team player. I never noticed any emotional let down in her face, or disgust, or frustration...she's a real trooper. She doesn't waste time after a mistake but continues playing and being involved. But taking those positive qualities can be a cost to her scoring abilities. A good example of this is Patrick Kluivert ,a former Ajax and Barcelona great. He was a great goal scorer until van Gaal told him to get more involved in different aspects of the game, looking for the 3rd man, dropping back to midfield, laying off balls, creating space for others..etc. As a result he began to lose some of his goal scoring ability. Yes , he became more rounded as a player but at a COST that diminished his goal scoring prowess. Cruyff when he coached Barcelona, told Romario the great Brazilian goal scorer, "I got you to score goals for us, that's what you're good at and NOTHING ELSE and therefore just hang that penalty area". Cruyff, in other words, employed the player's strength, what he's good at and what he's weak at will be taken care of by his teammates; and the rest was history the "Dreamteam" of Barcelona.
    Another problem I see is the "chemisty' between Rapino, Morgan and Heath. Rapinoe, as we say in Holland has her own 'BV' going on, meaning she has her own Propietory business. Rapinoe is for Rapinoe, she doesn't look for the nice 'end' pass ,the nice assist for someone to score, she prefers  to receive the last pass herself to score. Now granted she does work hard, and seen often running back on defense...that initself is a whole other discussion, I'm not going to get into. I don't see a great connection between Rapinoe and Heath ,although Heath is more aware of Rapinoe than vice versa.NEXT POST

  5. frank schoon replied, March 6, 2019 at 12:53 p.m.

    I meant to say ," I don't see a great connection between Rapinoe and Morgan, although Morgan is more of Rapinoe than vice versa"

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, March 6, 2019 at 9:27 p.m.

    I was glad you took a look at Morgan. She is hugely unappreciated by many people who judge her only on number of goals scored. (No goals in this match so she gets the lowest rating on a winning side, and that is from someone knowlegeable.)  

    There must be something in the water that makes Americans love a physical game and demand that we fiercely "tackle opponents" rather than the ball. (Playing without subs teaches you quickly that endless running is how you lose.)

    I always was a midfielder at heart and love making and seeing the passes that set up a goal more than I like scoring myself. That mindset was a challenge when playing forward. Nothing is more exciting to me than making (or watchinng) a play that has the opposing keeper screaming at his back line. :)  



     

  7. frank schoon replied, March 6, 2019 at 9:47 p.m.

    LOL. I love taking players  on one on one. I didn’t care so much about the goals. This is why I always had a  detailed eye for technical skills employed by other players. 

  8. beautiful game, March 6, 2019 at 11:05 a.m.

    "SheBelieves"...time get get rid of this marketing brand...more than corny.

  9. frank schoon, March 6, 2019 at 11:40 a.m.

    Heath, likewise has her own 'BV' going. I mean, as soon as she gets the ball it is off to the races. In other words we have two similar style of wing players in their nature of play, of which neither one employs combinational play unless it is absolutely necessary at the end of her play.
    Next, we have Morgan who has a tendency, to run straight down the field on the break as shown on the video . The whole front line, Rapinoe, Morgan, Heath are off to races....there is no chemistry. All 3 are hardworking but are not connected to each other's playing characteristics in a manner so that hides each other's weakness or aids the other's strength. 
    Because Morgan does so much more as a Centerforward, the other players have to cover her position.  Morgan,let us say, runs toward the leftflank , who will take her position. In that case it should be the right halfback,  Pugh. Why the rightmid, because the attention will be on the Heath and Morgan on the left, therefore you need a blind side run. But that's not happening. The two outside halfbacks Pugh and Lavelle need to be aware of the blindside run but they are rarely seen there. One of the problems is that our front line is more interested in beating everybody to the opponent's goal as soon as possible leaving little chance to set up an attack. Look at the Brazilian when they go on attack and end up in our third with tons of players to pass to, we don't; the Brazilian are good in 'interplay' ,we aren't; we are not good in passing in small spaces under pressure....then you have to ask why.....bad coaching throughout the developmental years of the players...
    The way Morgan plays, she would do better as a second striker behind the lead striker for that gives her more time to look and see where to position herself. I don't like 4-2-3-1 system. Instead Morgan first of all needs to be more aware of where to pick her position then she make a move. She moved perfectly in one play in the first half, instead of running straight down she positioned on the left side of the penalty area and almost scored from a nice diagonal pass from Heath....

  10. frank schoon, March 6, 2019 at 12:08 p.m.

    I would suggest, that US soccer need to look at the Centerback system, which ,I think, is an outdated mode of defense. The center system has been around for over 60 years and it was originated  by England. The English played a 4-4-2 system and therefore we have 2 centerbacks. Furthermore the English were/are great at heading the ball from crosses. Therefore the two centerbacks needed to be good in the air and tough defenders, they were also lacking in good skills. Today we employ the 2 centerbacks as if we're playing English soccer, both centerbacks are tall, and less skillful defenders.
    Today we don't do crosses coming the wing much at all ,instead most wings are cutting inside. The only crosses,if there are any comes from our backs who are lousy at it. Technically, the crosses today, are so bad,  many of which end up behind the goal or out in the parking lot. We don't have good crossing of the ball. It's becoming a lost art. 
    I would have one small and one tall defender in the middle both who have good ball skills and have speed.  This would aid the offensive attack and build up from the back. But instead we still have today 2 ball handling stiffs as centerbacks. We would have a triangle with the #6, that  would outnumer the opponent centerforward, we could employ the 3rd man off the ball and we are able go on to midfield creating numerical superiority in two ways, either through positioning, or beating an opponenet with the ball; but in sum we would create a "free" man at midfield.
    I am clueless to see teams play with the old center back system. I guess coaches lack the creativeness, or individuality but instead wait for other coaches to change things. This is the problem with coaching, they all copy each other and talk as if they really know the game.
     A good example was Johan Cruyff, for he began the 3-4-3 system when everyone was playing 4-4-2. Everyone stated he was crazy, but according to Cruyff why have 4 defenders when there 2 strikers for you only need 3 defenders. After Cruyff success everyone realized you don''t need 4 defenders....It is so obvious, but no one guts has to try something new even if the rational calls for it.
     Considering our Athleticism our size our speed this would be such a great addition to our game to have a player like a Heath and Mewis for example  both as centerbacks.


  11. Bob Ashpole replied, March 6, 2019 at 2:41 p.m.

    I agree with you Frank. The disappointment is that the WNT has the potential to play some really good soccer. If they do well this year, there will likely still be complacency and no improvements next cycle either. Even with a new coach and new GM. USSF will ensure that there is no change.

    I like winning but I like good soccer more.

  12. frank schoon replied, March 6, 2019 at 4:01 p.m.

    Bob, I agree. We have a natural, build-in quality of Athletic prowess that  any women's in the rest of the world would love to have. But for their shortcomings they are forced to apply good soccer capabilities to play against us, a la Japan. Can you imagine if we had Japan's soccer abilities and with our Athletic prowess how much better we would be....

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, March 6, 2019 at 9:08 p.m.

    I am a bit of an optimist. I think we do have Japan's talent, but we don't apply it like them. My optimism, however, will never be tested.

  14. frank schoon replied, March 6, 2019 at 9:20 p.m.

    Bob, it is all a question of training.... Japan trains and emphasizes on  what is best for them and it shows in how they their game. Yes, we can play like Japan but we don’t train on those aspects...

  15. ForTheLoveOfPele Gallagher, March 6, 2019 at 1:35 p.m.

    Frank, Give it a rest, We get the message that you are not a fan of the USWNT and how they play and that you obivously are a great coach. We all look forward to watching how your teams progress professionally

  16. beautiful game, March 23, 2019 at 7:32 p.m.

    SheBelieves is killing me...change the terrible soundbite.

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