Backdrop. Most teams try to move on from a defeat as quickly as possible.
But putting their opening win at the
Women's World Cup behind them hasn't been as easy for members of the U.S. national team.
Despite the debate that has raged over the 13-0 win over Thailand, head coach Jill Ellis
says the nature of a short tournament like the World Cup -- three group matches in 10 days, followed by as many as four days over the following 17 days -- has forced her players and staff to move on
even if the opening game was still a topic of conservation four days later at the pre-game press conference for Sunday's USA-Chile game at sold-out Parc des Princes.
"The beauty of this
tournament is," Ellis said, "the game that you just played is irrelevant. You can do a lot of breakdown on games you played, but the takeaways from games you’ve played has to be on what’s
in front of you. I think that’s how it has to be in a tournament format. You can’t dwell on games.”
Ellis held Becky Sauerbrunn out of the lineup against
Thailand as a precaution. In her place, Sam Mewis started in midfield and Julie Ertz returned to the backline, where she excelled at the 2015 Women's World Cup. All Mewis did was score
two goals and add two assists in the first 56 minutes of the rout over Thailand. Taking her out of the starting lineup won't be easy.
Ellis did not say what changes she'll make but
emphasized the considerable depth she has. Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd both came off the bench against Thailand and scored.
“We want to make this a long
tournament,” Ellis said. “To do that, we certainly know it’s going to take a lot of physical effort and output from every single one of those players.”
Goalkeeper: 1 Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 47/0) Defenders: 5 Kelley
O’Hara (Utah Royals; 119/2) -- 4 Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 41/0) -- 8 Julie Ertz(Chicago Red Stars; 83/18) -- 19 Crystal Dunn
(NC Courage; 86/24) Midfielders: -- 9 Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns; 69/9) -- 3 Sam Mewis (NC Courage;
51/14) -- 16 Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 28/9) Forwards: 17 Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns; 151/30) -- 13
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 164/106) -- 15 Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 154/45) Note: In parentheses are caps and
Chile. In its Women's World Cup debut, La Roja held favored Sweden, a participant in all eight finals,
scoreless until after a weather delay late in the second half. Goals in the 83rd minute and the fourth minute of stoppage time gave the Swedes a 2-0 win.
Chile lost to the USA 4-0 and 3-0
in a pair of friendlies played after it qualified for the first time by finishing second in the 2018 Copa America Femenina it hosted. The standout was 6-foot Christiane Endler in goal.
Endler, who played college soccer at the University of South Florida, will be back home in Paris on Sunday. She plays for Paris St. Germain after stints with clubs in England and Spain.
Despite its lack of World Cup experience, the Chileans aren't overawed being on in the international stage. They have Chile has 12 players playing club soccer in Europe plus two in Brazil.Nor are they overawed by their opponent.
“We don’t go on to the pitch thinking of losing by a small margin,” said Chile forward Yanara Aedo,
who helped the Washington Spirit's reserves win the 2015 W-League title and now plays at Valencia in Spain. “We go out to get something, at least a point. It’s not a victory to lose by a
small margin against the USA. A victory for us is to play well, to the best of our capabilities, and playing the way we know to play.”