Commentary

USA-Belgium: Women's Friendly Player Ratings

USA-BELGIUM EXPRESS:
April 7 in Los Angeles
USA 6 Belgium 0. Goals: Lloyd 14, 19, Horan 26, Mewis 33, Morgan 52, McDonald 90+1.
Att.: 20,941.

After opening 2019  with three wins, two ties and a loss while conceding 10 goals in six games against fellow 2019 World Cup qualifiers, the USA overwhelmed Belgium in a 6-0 victory that included four headed goals in the first half. Although Belgium has never qualified for a Women's World Cup, it was a confidence-boosting win for the USA against a team that hadn't given up more than two goals in a game since 2017 -- and conceded just two goals in its last six games, which included a 1-1 tie with Spain. The evening's biggest winner was 36-year-old Carli Lloyd, who in a rare start went the full 90, scored the USA's first two goals, and notched an assist.

USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)
GOALKEEPER
Belgium failed to test Alyssa Naeher even once. Ashlyn Harris took over for Naeher in the second half.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
5  Alyssa Naeher
(Chicago Red Stars) 43/0 (30)

DEFENDERS
Coach Jill Ellis made three changes to the backline after last Thursday's 5-3 win over Australia. Ali Krieger looked sharp and energetic while making her first U.S. appearance since April 2017. Julie Ertz moved from the midfield to the central defender role she played during the USA's 2015 World Cup win, reuniting in the middle with Becky Sauerbrunn. And Tierna Davidson started at left back as Crystal Dunn moved into midfield. Davidson set up Carli Lloyd's first goal with a floated free kick from midfield. Although the backline played flawlessly, most Belgium attacks broke down in the midfield.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride) 99/1 (34)

6 Becky Sauerbrunn 155/0 (33)

6 Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 79/18 (26)

7 Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 19/1 (20)

MIDFIELDERS
At times, Lindsey Horan hurried her passes, but she dominated the midfield, disrupting the Belgians in their own half and constantly sparking attacks. Her 26th-minute header made it 3-0. Samantha Mewis scored her header in the 33rd minute. Crystal Dunn may be more effective attacking from the backline, but she assisted brilliantly on Lloyd's second goal with a well hit cross after juking past defender Laura Deloose.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Samantha Mewis (NC Courage) 47/8 (26)

7 Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 66/7 (24)

6 Crystal Dunn (NC Courage) 82/24 (26)

FORWARDS
Veteran Carli Lloyd, who had seen only 34 minutes of action in six games this year, got her first start since November of last year, and scored twice on headers to put the USA ahead 2-0 by the 19th minute. And she set up Alex Morgan's goal. Christen Press had three assists -- a corner kick that set up Horan's header and free kicks for headers by Mewis and Jessica McDonald. Press' only blemish -- a missed shot from three yards in the 70th minute. Mallory Pugh, who had scored twice against Australia coming off the bench, had one decent shot but was plagued by poor touches and passes, such as when she hit a cross into a defender shortly before being subbed in the 61st minute.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
4 Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) 50/15 (20)

8 Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC) 271/107 (36)

7 Christen Press (Utah Royals) 113/47 (30)

SUBSTITUTES
Alex Morgan scored her 101th U.S goals seven minutes after replacing Dunn at halftime, roofing the ball from a tight angle after a nifty one-two with Lloyd. Jessica McDonald, who missed from five yards in the 86th minute, wrapped up the scoring with a header -- the fifth headed goal of the game -- off a Press free kick.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 160/101 (29)

5
Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage) 37/0 (25)

5 Allie Long (Reign FC) 42/6 (31)

6 Jessica McDonald (NC Courage) 6/2 (31)

5
Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride) 21/0 (33)

5 McCall Zerboni (NC Courage) 9/0 (32)

TRIVIA: Carli Lloyd's two goals upped her career total to 107 to tie her with Michelle Akers for fourth on the all-time U.S. scorers list. Lloyd scored her first U.S. goal in October 2006 against Chinese Taipei.

April 7 in Los Angeles
USA 6 Belgium 0. Goals: Goals: Lloyd 14, 19, Horan 26, Mewis 33, Morgan 52, McDonald 90+1.
USA -- Naeher (Harris, 46); Krieger, Sauerbrunn, Ertz (Dahlkemper, 46), Davidson; Horan (Long, 60), Mewis (Zerboni, 73), Dunn (Morgan, 46); Pugh (McDonald, 61), Lloyd, Press.
Belgium -- Evard, De Neve, Jaques (Coutereels, 59), Philtjens (Van Belle, 59), Deloose (Wijnants, 85), De Caigny (Van Kerkhoven, 80), Missipo (Onzia, 86), Biesmans, Wullaert, Cayman, Vande Vedle (Dhont, 46)
Yellow cards: USA -- Lloyd 64; Belgium -- Coutereels 90.
Red cards: none.
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva (USA)
Att.: 20,941

Stats:
USA/Belgium
Shots: 17/4
Shots on target: 8/0
Saves: 0/2
Corner Kicks: 4/2
Fouls: 6/10
Offside: 1/2
Possession: 57%/43%

11 comments about "USA-Belgium: Women's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. R2 Dad, April 8, 2019 at 6:41 a.m.

    Dunn's juke and floated ball after driving to the end line is not seen often in the women's game. I wouldn't mind her on the left as an alternate to Rapinoe, for that added dimension. The aerial attack was good practice--haven't seen anything like that since Abby. If the USWNT is to get to the Final this year, they will need some variation on this very direct attack Ellis seems set on.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, April 8, 2019 at 9:05 a.m.

    Dunn impressed me greatly playing as a CAM. She is extremely quick and dangerous there with the ball. 

  3. John Soares, April 8, 2019 at 8 a.m.

    OK, it wasn't Australia, but the USA only had four return "starters", two (Ertz and Dunn) in different positions.
    Great, fun game...especially the first half.
    Is this the new starting lineup? Just kidding.
    ?With Sonnett not impressing. Did Krieger just win her job back. At least as back up to Ohara?
    ?Naeher has not looked comfortable. Should Harris start?
    Welcome back Lloyd!!!
    Still best team in the World. If, when they don't  win by 4 or 5 goals it's not because they failed....give some credit to the opponents that have greatly improved over the last few years.
    Ok, Let the the criticism begin:)




  4. Bob Ashpole, April 8, 2019 at 9:26 a.m.

    Belguim was sorely outplayed. Although it was a friendly, the US starters were all playing for a spot on the roster. High motivation to dominate.

    Every time I see Pugh play, I think about how to improve her play. If, if, if. I wonder if she has read Mia Hamm's book (Go For the Goal) and Lloyd's book (When No One Was Watching). Mia's talks about a young person's development while Lloyd's talks about an older athlete reinventing themselves. Those two books are good reading for aspiring athletes of any sport and either gender. 

    Dunn was amazing at left CAM. I think her best position may be playing just behind the front three. She is so explosive. It wasn't just her attacking play. She was dominating on defense too. That woman is motivated. 

    The problem was this was not a defensive test at all of the US back line. So there is no real comparison between this match and the last.

    But even having said that, there were some players that did well and others that did not do well enough.


  5. frank schoon, April 8, 2019 at 3:05 p.m.

    I Have no idea why this game was ever played. I don't think the Belgian goalie ever dove for a ball in her life. They gave the American players soooo much space.  It would have been much better to watch an inter-squad game to see how they match up.
    I

  6. Carl Hudson, April 8, 2019 at 5:14 p.m.

      At least we didn't have to watch the hopeless Lavelle kicking the ball
    in the wrong direction.  And where is that very good left ouside back
    by the last name of Short? She is better than 75% of the roster.

  7. beautiful game, April 8, 2019 at 11:01 p.m.

    No contest, not worth the price of admission...actually boring. Playing against minnows in order to fine tune the team is a total waste.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, April 9, 2019 at 6:53 p.m.

    Guess what BG? This is why there is a "She Believes" tournament. Belgium is ranked no. 20. The next 3 opponents are South Africa (49), New Zealand (19), and Mexico (26).

    24 teams go to the finals. They can't all be top ten teams. We were fortunate to get New Zealand (Grp E) and South Africa (Grp B).

  9. Nick Gabris replied, April 10, 2019 at 12:47 p.m.

    Agree! Ellis just wants the wins to pad her resume if and when she is replaced after the WC. She has no clue in coaching at a national level.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, April 11, 2019 at 1:12 a.m.

    Nick, I have never even met Jill Ellis, but I find your personal attack on Jill Ellis offensive.

  11. Nick Gabris, April 11, 2019 at 12:24 p.m.

    Bob, appreciate the reply, my comment was not an attack it is my opinion which everyone has a right to. If you are satisfied with the way JE has handled this team then thats great, I for one am not satisfied. why do you think the team is rated #3 in the world since JE has been in charge? Playing mediocre teams does not improve the team. I am sure that you have some soccer qualifications to realize that. I have followed this team since the begining of their existance and find that this coach has regressed this team due to her inexperience at the national level of play. If you are satisfied with this result of managing, then more power to you. Good luck at the WC.



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