Commentary

USA-Sweden: Women's World Cup Player Ratings

USA-SWEDEN EXPRESS:
June 20 in Le Havre
USA 2 Sweden 0. Goals: Horan 3, own goal (Andersson) 50
Att.: 22,418

In a matchup between two teams that had already clinched passage into the knockout stage, the USA scored early in both halves for a 2-0 win over Sweden. Although by far the most highly rated of the USA's Group F foes, the Swedes -- who started four players who hadn't yet seen action at this World Cup -- hardly impressed beyond their grit. The USA faces Spain in the round of 16 on Monday.


USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

GOALKEEPER

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Another game without Alyssa Naeher getting a real test, although the two shots that came at her had some pace. She flailed at Kosovare Asllani's free-kick cross but it flew too high for the Swedes as well.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
5 Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 49/- (31)

DEFENDERS

Kelley O'Hara's hard-nosed defending got reckless a couple times. She was yellow-carded in the 59th minute and got away with clattering into Amanda Ilested in the U.S. penalty area. O'Hara, more so in the first half, moved up to combine with Tobin Heath and Rose Lavelle. On this day, Abby Dahlkemper's long balls out of the back weren't working. She and central back partner Becky Sauerbrunn kept the Swedes from having any serious chances. Crystal Dunn shut down Sofia Jakobsson and surged forward on the left. (Julie Ertz sat the game out with a minor injury.)

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals) 120/2 (30)
6 Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage) 43/0 (26)
6 Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals) 160/0 (34)
7 Crystal Dunn (NC Courage) 87/24 (26)

MIDFIELDERS

Lindsey Horan pounced into the goal area to stab home the quickest goal so far at this tournament. She also patrolled the midfield to allow others to attack. Sam Mewis, who got a touch on Megan Rapinoe's corner kick as it made its way to Horan on the first goal, supplied the best passes to the frontline. Credit Rose Lavelle for trying to attack down the middle a couple times, but none of her four shots threatened.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
7 Sam Mewis (NC Courage) 52/14 (26)
7 Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 70/9 (25)
6 Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit) 29/9 (24)

FORWARDS

This first-string frontline did not look sharp after sitting out Sunday's 3-0 win over Chile. Megan Rapinoe misplayed several balls, but she won and delivered the corner kick that led to the first goal and the cross that led to the second. She also, from near the corner flag, hit a clever pass to Rose Lavelle at the edge of the penalty area.  Alex Morgan took two bad shots, ended a couple attacks with bad touches, took a knock in the 35th minute and was subbed at halftime. Tobin Heath's right wing work was ineffective in the first half because her passes missed. So early in the second half she shot from a narrow angle instead of seeking a teammate in middle. The ball deflected high off Jonna Andersson's foot and into the goal to make it 2-0.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) 152/31 (30)
3 Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 165/106 (29)
6 Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC) 155/45 (33)

SUBSTITUTES

In a game that the Swedes turned even scrappier after the USA's second goal, the subs had little impact. Carli Lloyd managed two shots, and should have finished in the 90th on Mewis' through ball, although Hedvig Lindahl's save was the best of the day. Christen Press exploited a rare moment when the Swedes didn't overcrowd the midfield after she intercepted a pass and stormed through middle, and dished it to Mewis on a play that ended with a corner kick.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
5 Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 277/113)
5 Christen Press (Utah Royals) 118/48 (30)
nr Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) 56/17 (21)

TRIVIA 1.
This World Cup marks the first since 2003 that the USA won all three of its group-stage games. En route to the 2015 World Cup title, the USA opened with 3-1 win over Australia, a 0-0 tie with Sweden, and a 1-0 win over Nigeria.

TRIVIA 2.
This is the first World Cup at which the USA shut out all three of its group-stage opponents.

June 20 in Le Havre
USA 2 Sweden 0. Goals: Horan 3, own goal (Andersson) 50
USA -- Naeher; O'Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Lavelle, Horan, Mewis; Heath, Morgan (Lloyd, 46), Rapinoe (Pugh, 83).
Sweden -- Lindahl; Bjorn, Ilestedt, Sembrant, Andersson; Zigiotti-Olme, Seger (Glas, 63); Jakobsson, Asllani (Hurtig, 79), Schough (Rolfo, 57); Blackstenius.
Yellow cards: USA -- O'Hara 59. Sweden -- Jakobsson 87.  Red cards: none.
Referee: Anastasia Pustovoytova (Russia).
Att.: 22,418.

Stats:
USA/Sweden
Shots: 18/6
Shots on goal: 4/2
Saves: 2/2
Corner Kicks: 5/2
Fouls: 5/9
Offside: 3/1
Possession: 58%/42%

13 comments about "USA-Sweden: Women's World Cup Player Ratings".
  1. Hat Trick, June 20, 2019 at 9:34 p.m.

    It was nice to see one of our national teams that had a midfield that could control the game and knew how to move the ball foward instead of constantly passing it back.  It was also nice to see a team that could string together 3 or 4 accurate passes to their own team mates.  Just saying !

    The women play an exciting style and they are fun to watch.  Proud of them and congratulate them.

  2. Bob Ashpole, June 20, 2019 at 10:12 p.m.

    Good job by the players and coaches. I would not have believed it possible, but the team looks even stronger this year than in 2015.

    Best wishes for continued success. 

  3. John Soares, June 20, 2019 at 11:46 p.m.

    USA had control most of the game. Got a little sloppy at times in the second half.
    No one is perfect. Still the team to beat.
    Great to see any substitution comes without skipping a beat.

  4. stewart hayes, June 20, 2019 at 11:50 p.m.

    Considering this was the first real game the result was satisfactory.  When we knock the ball around the back though I start to get nervous.  The giveaways today had me wondering what was going on.  If I had a counter attacking team I would love to sit back and wait for the team to give me the ball.  Heath could not seem to combine with anyone and seemed to ignore teammates running down her side.  I wanted to see more poise and subtlety today but we looked like we were in a hurry all day, no change of rhythm and possession that did not flow.  If this is the best it gets perhaps it will be enough but I have my doubts.     

  5. Kent James, June 21, 2019 at 12:14 a.m.

    Generally I thought everyone played well (as the ratings justifiably indicate), against a pretty solid opponent (that was certainly agressive and worked relentlessly).  The only weakness I saw was (as Stewart also mentioned) the play out of the back.  Defensively, the back 4 were fine (though Dunn I thought struggled occasionally).  My main concern is Saeurbrunn's play with the ball; she seemed very uncomfortable and at a loss as to what to do with it.  There seemed to be a lot of times when she had the ball, with no one in front of her (for 15-20 yds), but instead of going forward into the space to force Sweden to adjust, she passed the ball to her teammates who were often well covered.  On a number of occasions she passed back to Dahlkemper who was under much more pressure than Saeurbrunn was; passing to your covered centerback who has no support (other than the GK) strikes me as a very dangerous habit.  Whilie I get that maybe not a lot of players were open (and I think we could be faulted for not working harder to provide targets for the centerbacks when they had the ball), find a less risky outlet!  

  6. frank schoon, June 21, 2019 at 7:03 a.m.

    Stewart, exactly. I saw two teams play today that have no ability of being able to control the tempo of the game. They never got out of first gear. Neither country is known skillful approach to soccer so the next best thing is what they are good at, run, run,run, employing lots of athletic prowess, resulting in lots of BAD passes.  Yes, the game certainly wasn’t boring even if it was A game that had Neanderthal quality about it. Like the men ,the women style of soccer needs a new fresh approach, from they have been displaying in the past 30years.
    I actually enjoyed this the Dutch play Canada.
    I was surprised the Dutch actually played soccer, they controlled the tempo and kept to their style and I have to admit it was enjoyable to watch the Dutch. I hope it will be USA vs Holland, although, I’m afraid , the US will win for I don’t think the Dutch are ready for athletic onslaught of the US team. That will be next step in their development to counter this type of game and onslaught. Although dutch women soccer began late and it still has its problems but the Dutch are playing a much better brand of soccer than the US already.  I hope after the US win this cup that they will serious begin think of  making and improving our women’s brand of soccer and hire a good coach... Phil Neville of England has done so far a great job for England ,but than look at his background.

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, June 21, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.

    I suspect that Sweden would have tried to bunker and counter like they did under Pia at the Olympics but for the early US goal. They ended up chasing the game. 

    Spain should be an interesting and very different type of opponent.

    Prospects for change are dim. After the men failed to qualify, USSF made clear that they don't want any changes made. Whatever happens next, the WNT looks stronger than ever. The simple truth is that most managers (in all fields) feel threatened by change. I suspect that we are doomed to repeat England's nightmare of waking up in the 1950s to the realization that the sport has passed them by.

    If a nation has good players, why not play good soccer?

  8. frank schoon replied, June 21, 2019 at 11:54 a.m.

    Bob, Spain is weak, they are new at it. To me it is going to be England, US, Holland , Germany, and maybe  another country, I guess. I haven't seem them all play.
    Earney Stewart can resign as far as I'm concerned. I think they picked him to keep things as they are ,that's why It took him a year to go through the coaching process.
    The way I look at things is that we have everything to make women soccer look great but we need to make changes in the way we play. We have the players, the athletes, the experience but what we lack is a push to change the way we play to higher level. They are winning and therefore it difficult to think we need to change. The women's team could be just as successful with employing half the energy they currently employing by playing a smarter more technical game. 
    We need a high level and that means someone who has played the highest men's level, who bring in the much needed changes.
    I've given up on the men's team..that's going nowhere...

  9. Seth Vieux replied, June 21, 2019 at 1:31 p.m.

    Frank I think you've probably got the four semi-finalists right, though wouldn't be terribly shocked if Australia manages to knock England out. I think any of the 3 you listed and Australia at least have a legitimate chance to knock USWNT out with a strong performance against a pedestrian performance from our women. Am curious to see how our defense holds when they finally face a team with enough talent to actually threaten offensively.

  10. frank schoon replied, June 21, 2019 at 1:44 p.m.

    Seth, your guess is as good as mine... Who knows...

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, June 21, 2019 at 6:07 p.m.

    Hard to predict who is going to get a hot streak except for the top 5. 

    What I didn't expect was the number of US supporters in the stands. I expect all the UEFA teams to have lots of fans too. It won't just be French crowds.  

  12. frank schoon, June 21, 2019 at 7:03 a.m.

    Stewart, exactly. I saw two teams play today that have no ability of being able to control the tempo of the game. They never got out of first gear. Neither country is known skillful approach to soccer so the next best thing is what they are good at, run, run,run, employing lots of athletic prowess, resulting in lots of BAD passes.  Yes, the game certainly wasn’t boring even if it was A game that had Neanderthal quality about it. Like the men ,the women style of soccer needs a new fresh approach, from they have been displaying in the past 30years.
    I actually enjoyed this the Dutch play Canada.
    I was surprised the Dutch actually played soccer, they controlled the tempo and kept to their style and I have to admit it was enjoyable to watch the Dutch. I hope it will be USA vs Holland, although, I’m afraid , the US will win for I don’t think the Dutch are ready for athletic onslaught of the US team. That will be next step in their development to counter this type of game and onslaught. Although dutch women soccer began late and it still has its problems but the Dutch are playing a much better brand of soccer than the US already.  I hope after the US win this cup that they will serious begin think of  making and improving our women’s brand of soccer and hire a good coach... Phil Neville of England has done so far a great job for England ,but than look at his background.

  13. Ben Myers, June 21, 2019 at 12:21 p.m.

    Yes, a scrappy physical game by the Swedes.  They were a little too viscious for my liking.

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