USA-Spain: Women's World Cup Player Ratings

June 24 in Reims
USA 2 Spain 1. Goals: Rapinoe (pen.) 7, (pen.) 76; Hermoso 9.
Att.: 19,633.

The USA prevailed, 2-1, over Spain in what was by far its most challenging game at the World Cup so far. The Spaniards' ability to test the USA's defense and their quick response to the USA's go-ahead goal created a dramatic match and the specter of a major upset. But eventually Spain paid for its recklessness and the USA was rewarded for its resilience. Spain, which committed 17 fouls compared to the USA's five, conceded both its goals on penalty kicks, could have easily been called for another, and was lucky lenient referee Katalin Kulscar didn't yellow-card a Spaniard until the 85th minute.

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


Two minutes after the USA took a seventh minute lead, Alyssa Naeher, with lots of time and little pressure, served a short pass to Becky Sauerbrunn that was easy for Jennifer Hermoso to steal. The Spanish striker finished into the top corner. Naeher came out of her penalty kick in the 20th minute to head away a through ball, and she caught or punched away Spain's best crosses.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
5  Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 50/- (31)


The USA discovered how much its usual mode of attack could be disrupted by an offensive-minded team. Outside backs Crystal Dunn, who had to battle against right wing Lucia Garcia, and Kelley O'Hara, often occupied by Alexia Putellas, were forced to play much more conservatively. This resulted in far fewer balls on the right wing to Tobin Heath, who depends much O'Hara's support. Dunn did manage to streak forward a couple times in the second half, setting up a Rose Lavelle shot and delivering the ball to Lavelle via Alex Morgan that led to the second penalty kick call. Central defender Abby Dahlkemper, throughout the game and twice in stoppage time, cleared Spain's balls into the middle. Dahlkemper's passing sparked numerous U.S. attacks, including the one the led to the first penalty kick. Becky Sauerbrunn, who shared blame on the first goal, was also unbeatable in the air and blocked Lucia Garcia's 54th-minute shot.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals) 121/2 (30)
8  Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage) 44/0 (26)
5  Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals) 161/0 (34)
7  Crystal Dunn (NC Courage) 87/24 (26)


Julie Ertz commanded the midfield, helping limit Spain to wide attacks and serving a variety of passes -- to both wings and to the frontline -- during U.S. buildups. Sam Mewis helped Dunn defend on the flank favored by the Spaniards and also fed Megan Rapinoe. Mewis' two shots missed the target. When Rose Lavelle went solo downfield, it unsettled the Spaniards and one would have liked to see more it. Lavelle was fouled for the second penalty.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit) 30/9 (24)
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 85/19 (27)
6  Sam Mewis (NC Courage) 53/14 (26)


Mapi León's awkward challenge on Tobin Heath resulted in the first penalty kick. Heath, getting little service, managed only one shot, a miss from where one would have expected a cross. Many more attacks came from Megan Rapinoe on the left wing, where Rapinoe faced a feisty Marta Corredera all day long, and managed to break through for four shots. The Spaniards took turns fouling Alex Morgan, resulting in five free kicks in the midfield. Morgan didn't manage a shot on goal, arriving a tad late on two crosses. When she finally got to ball in the penalty area, the pass from Dunn deflected off her foot, but arrived at Lavelle's feet before the PK foul.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) 153/31 (30)
5  Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 166/106 (29)
7  Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC) 156/47 (33)


Coach Jill Ellis waited until the 85th minute to make the first of three subsitutions.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
nr  Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC) 278/113 (36)
nr  Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 72/9 (25)
nr  Christen Press (Utah Royals) 120/48 (30)

The USA and Spain have met just once before, a 1-0 USA friendly win in Alicante last January.

June 24 in Reims
USA 2 Spain 1. Goals: Rapinoe (pen.) 7, (pen.) 76; Hermoso 9.
USA -- Naeher; O'Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Lavelle (Horan 89), Ertz, Mewis; Heath, Morgan (Lloyd, 85), Rapinoe (Press, 90+7).
Spain -- Panos; Corredera, Paredes, Leon, Ouahabi; Losada (N. Garcia, 32), Torrecilla (Caldentey, 84), Guijarro; L.Garcia, Hermoso, Putellas (Falcon, 79).
Yellow cards: USA -- Rapinoe 37. Spain -- Paredes 85.  Red cards: none.
Referee: Katalin Kulscar (Hungary)
Att.: 19,633.

Shots: 12/5
Shots on goal: 3/1
Saves: 0/1
Corner Kicks: 3/2
Fouls: 5/17
Offside: 2/2
Possession: 54%/46%

40 comments about "USA-Spain: Women's World Cup Player Ratings".
  1. frank schoon, June 24, 2019 at 5:21 p.m.

    You can thank the ref for this win. The second penalty was a joke. If you can call that a penalty than the ref can call any penalty during corner kicks for there is so much worse going on. I'm glad the US won for a WC without US is not interesting, but they didn't deserve to win this game, sorry...Once Spain tied , I thought the US would score a couple goals second half,but it didn't happen. 
    The US women's program has got to get serious for they made mistakes like you see in U14 game.
    We have to raise our game to a higher level, better brand of game and that means bringing coaches who played at the highest men's level. All we have out there are energizer bunnies ,ready to go after a ball. I don't care if 150 degrees out our women still run like crazy, which is so much of our DNA of soccer. We have no idea how to play a controlled tempo game.
    The Spanish in the beginning couldn't put two passes together, at first, then they began to improve. What I noticed is that the Spanish are much better in the positional game and it shows in their passing. They knew two things, one, it was too hot to run, and two, don't try to run with the US for that is our strength.
    Here is what's wrong with the US, besides what I've had just mentioned. Ertz, the CM, has never been taught how to receive a ball from the outside backs. She receives the ball from O'hara to her right foot which means she has no field view further upfield. As a result Ertz's passes are usually backwards or sideways,thus stopping the attack forward and thereby giving the opponents more time to set up. And likewise O'Hara should know better but to pass to Ertz right foot, instead to her leftfoot which creates a quarter turn facing downfield. Where are the coaches on this, this should immediately have been corrected from day one. Worse, Horan has the same problem. This technical snafu creates a slow down in the tempo of play and it is very predictable. I can guarantee you  at Ajax, something like this won't happen the second time...but apparently with this coaching staff they don't see it or are not familiar with the problem. This is why I say we have to begin to get serious with the womens /mens program.


  2. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2019 at 5:35 p.m.

    I suspect you felt that the 2nd penalty was undeserved because the player was not moving toward the goal, but that just underscores how vicious and cynical the foul was--studs up with cleats raking the leg. 

  3. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 5:52 p.m.

    Bob we must talking about two different things. here. The only studs I saw was further upfield but the leg was not raised off the ground. I didn't see any studs on that second penalty. If if was so obvious than we would not have taken so long to figure out what had happened. I find that in these games so many penalties were called, way too many...

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2019 at 6:29 p.m.

    I suspect that you are talking about a studs up slide tackle against an ankle that also occured. Different play. Not in the penalty area.

  5. Kent James replied, June 25, 2019 at 11:27 a.m.

    Bob and Frank, you're both partially right on the penalty (foul on Lavelle).  There was not a lot of contact, but the Spanish defenders studs did catch Lavelle on the shin, which is why I think it was (probably rightfully) called.  I think Lavelle came from the Spaniards blind side and poked the ball away while the Spaniard caught her leg (unintentionally).  It was not a viscious studs up tackle, but a classic Lavelle got to the ball and touched it away so the Spaniard hit Lavelle instead of the ball.  

  6. frank schoon replied, June 25, 2019 at 12:03 p.m.

    Kent, I know you're a ref so I leave it to you.....The Dutch ref at the VAR didn't think it should be a penalty. I looked at it several times but I never noticed the cleat thing.
    I sense that there are way too many penalties called by the women refs at the world cup.Or perhaps the women defenders are not as sophisticated and create more unnecesary fouls. I could be wrong but it is a woman thing being more sensitive than men and therefore perhaps will call foiuls or penalties easier. I know in England the male refs are much tougher on calling fouls than the Dutch refs, that's a known fact. 

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, June 26, 2019 at 12:58 p.m.

    Kent, the foul was studs up and late--by a professional player--against an opposing playmaker. I think the contact was intended and meant to be intimidating. 

    The ref awarded a penalty and no card. I don't have a problem with that. I would not have questioned issuing a yellow card too. Given how this ref treated elbows to the face, I think she was being consistent.  

  8. beautiful game, June 24, 2019 at 5:26 p.m.

    Typical selective referreeing under Infantino's watch. One god-father unseated and replaced by another god-father.

  9. frank schoon, June 24, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

    Next, Heath had a horrible game which is partly her fault for the problem lies with her teammates. Wingers efficiency is very much depended upon the manner and direction of the passes they receive. For example so many passes came directly from the back O'hara. As I stated before, Rinus Michells would bench any back that made straight up pass to the wing. It is one of the worse passes you can make. Heath continuously received the ball with her back facing downfield positioned next to the sideline . The opponent's back would win just about every challenge .Heath was stuck and besides she is not good playing with her back facing downfield. The attack on the right flank was virtually useless. Furthermore by receiving with her back facing downfield, Heath couldn't use her penetarating runs and speed, it was nullified. O'Hara doesn't realize  what she has done and neither does the coaching staff. 
    THe other problem which was tactical, deals with the wings. Wingers never should receive a ball from a back instead from midfielders. The reason for that is the midfielder has an angle which creates two options that allows him to pass the ball to the wing , either go behind or in front of the opponent's back. In this manner Heath can use her speed to run on to the ball going behind the back or she has the option of creating space for herself (WHICH SHE DOESN'T DO) by first running downfield a few meters and quickly turn to receive the ball to her feet. Both ways Heath faces downfield. Next Post

  10. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 5:54 p.m.

    Bob, Spain didn't surprise me at all, they're beginners at this...As a matter of fact they played than the US in the second half. Give Spain another 5years or so

  11. stewart hayes replied, June 24, 2019 at 6:24 p.m.

    There was one point early in the second half where Heath lost the ball 4 times in a row, mostly because of her heavy touches but also because she was playing too wide.  One of the ways you break down the opponent on the flank is to pass to the winger with the back to goal but you need to have the winger play 10 yards inside of the sideline with space to turn or space for the supporting back to play up the line.  We were not doing that which left Heath stranded.  On the other hand Spain was setting up Dunn with good movement and freeing players down her flank.
    But the larger point is the team was a bit heavy footed today.  Earlier use of subs might have opened up the game.  Ellis waited too long to make changes.    

  12. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 6:37 p.m.

    stewart that is true, but Heath's problem is that she is not good with her back facing downfield even if she's away from the sideline. By getting passes from the a midfielder angled away from the sideline, she would be able to see her opponent as well as her teammate doing the passing and can quickly make her move downfield

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, June 27, 2019 at 1:32 a.m.

    I disagree about the "back to goal" comment. I have a lot of experience at winger. The flank isn't like playing in the central zone. I don't think I ever played winger when I wasn't open to the majority of the field. I say think, because unlike in the center-- 

    1. It is natural to be facing inside with your back to the touch line. I did it without even thinking about it. Why look at the stands?

    2. Passes will be coming from the inside. The winger should be the widest player. If the fullback is wider, then the fullback is functioning as the winger and the winger is functioning as an inside forward. 

    3. If the fullback and winger are both along the touch and the fullback is passing north south, this may be conventional wisdom in the US, but it is bad tactics.

  14. Bob Ashpole, June 24, 2019 at 5:31 p.m.

    I was disappointed in Spain's play. I was expecting better soccer from them.

    The back line did well and I was especially impressed with the fullbacks. 

    I thought Morgan played well considering that Spain did their best to force her to leave the game. 

  15. Peter Bechtold, June 24, 2019 at 5:34 p.m.

    Spain is coming along nicely, and you can see that their W Team is benefitting from the country's futbol culture.
    For me, both penalties were awfully soft and would not have been called by most referees, esp. the second one.

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2019 at 5:38 p.m.

    I don't consider a late studs up tackle something that can be overlooked.

  17. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 5:49 p.m.

    Bob the studs showing was fine for the player's leg was not raised off the ground. That is the first I looked for. I think we're talking about the same thing....

  18. Wooden Ships replied, June 24, 2019 at 5:59 p.m.

    Guess it’s only to quibble some, but Rose went down intentionally after her heavy touch. And, I love Rose’ game. Not faulting her, especially this era. Women aren’t known for their diving like the men but that contact seemed minimal. For me, it had nothing to do with her going away or lateral to goal, it was just her heavy touch. Not complaining, but it was a soft PK IMO. And, while I’m not a huge fan of Morgan’s, she falls over in a breeze, toughen up-turn your body to receive with the near foot, brace with the other. Llyod is as tough a striker as some of the other teams strikers. I’ll take the win, but I’d be surprised if we win Friday. 

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2019 at 6:26 p.m.

    Frank, I don't understand why you say that the player's leg wasn't raised off the ground. She raked the outside of the attacker's leg from the knee down. IMO that is extremely dangerous as well as violent play. The referee was also in perfect position to see the play.

    Peter, most referees are not FIFA referees and most FIFA referees are not selected for the finals. What "most" referees would do is beside the point. 

  20. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 6:31 p.m.

    Ships, I'm so impressed with the #9 le Sommer of France. she played on the left side the 2nd half. She has the best touch on the ball of any women sofar I"v seen and she can dribble penetrate and knows when to pass off at the last second. France looks good.  I do like O'hara's spunk , as well as Lloyd and our other outside midfielders, Mewis and Lavelle. But they all need to work on shooting...atrocious...

  21. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 6:39 p.m.

    Bob, we must be talking about a different thing. I don't believe the 2nd penalty had to do with studs...

  22. Seth Vieux replied, June 25, 2019 at 9:06 a.m.

    2nd penalty was studs up and raking below the knee of Lavelle, who was in the air. The Spanish defender’s foot was likely two feet off the ground leading with the spikes. I believe the VAR was to assess whether she deserved a red card. The reason she did not was that her trailing foot did not leave the ground (I.e. she did not jump into the tackle) and the spikes certainly made contact but extremely violently. First penalty was a no doubter as well. Honestly tip the cap to the Spaniards for their plan to try to bully the Americans, was a very tough performance. I think the ref did a great job considering how aggressively the Spaniards went after us. Don’t think she missed many calls at all but should have pulled out the cards far sooner. Rapinoe’s was deserved, but Spain should have got 2 or 3 before she finally showed them one.

  23. frank schoon, June 24, 2019 at 5:47 p.m.

    The other tactical problem is that our wings need to be positioned as far downfield away from midfield as far as possible. In this manner the wing is always in a 1v1 position, but what Heath drops back like Rapinhoe to midfield and as a result several golden rules are broken. One the wing needs to be positioned deep as possible and two, by dropping back to midfield the wing mixes two lines together which is NOT DONE, PERIOD!! By going back to midfield you're take your own   opponent with you and thereby  making harder on yourself for you not only have to contend with opponent's back but also other midfielders. By leaving a nice 1v1 cushy situation downfield , you're now outnumbered because have to deal with the opponent's midfielders as well. The next golden rule that is broken is wingers are SPACE CREATORS, in two ways. One, by positioning as deep as possible downfield you open up more space for your midfielders and defensive,but by coming back to midfield you close them down their space. Two wings create space by beating an opponent 1v1 and thereby forcing the opponents to leave their man to pick the wing up and thereby create space.
    If we are going to play serious soccer we need to bring in High Level EXPERTISE which, obviously, as NT play not done.
    Others things I noticed the players don’t shield well. Pugh is not good when placed under pressure by an opponent. That is why Pugh rarely was seen downfield. Spain’s flank play basically neutralizes our left flank… Rapinoe basically ran herself into ground considering her age, the heat…she didn’t play smart, same with Heath look position waiting the ball to downfield and run after it. TOO MANY long balls tells that our midfield and position upfront was not good. 

    Our mistake by our goalie was elementary at this level. Two were wrong here. ONE, you pass a center back with her back downfield, TWO,you don’t pass to defender with a man, when you had two teammate wide open on the other side of the penalty box.UNREAL. The other thing I found unreal was Rapinoe being called offside when playing on the wing, she did the same in the previous game…you have the whole of the field, I simply don’’t understand it….it’s something you see U14 do….


  24. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2019 at 6:18 p.m.

    Frank, most of the errors you point out are conventional wisdom in the US, athough I think everyone understands that Naheur's decision on the pass was an error.

    An example is the long north-south runs and long passes. In the US many coaches and players don't revere diagonal passes. Too bad, because they are easier to make and receive as well as harder to defend. In the US diagonal passing is perhaps the most obvious sign of Hispanic influence at the amateur and youth level. As a amateur player I used to hate it when everyone "supported" by running north away from the ball. Now we have a MNT coach that wants "vertical" play. I am not see any Dutch influence there.

  25. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 6:45 p.m.

    Bob, conventional wisdom? than why are these errors occurring at the highest level. Apparently this conventional wisdom is not taught or emphasized.
     What the goalie did was not an error? this was plain stupid. This could have  caused us to go home early. How can a goalie who has the complete view of the field pass to a centerback, wit her back facing downfield with a man on, when on her right side of the penalty box she had 2 teammates wide open .....You can't afford to make errors like that....

  26. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 7 p.m.

    Bob ,who said there is any Dutch influence here, of course....I'm of the opinion they don't have clue,regardless. Period

  27. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2019 at 7:19 p.m.

    What I was intending to convey was that the conventional wisdom was wrong and reinforcing bad play. 

    My Dutch influence comment was sarcasm.

    Finally I don't think anyone is going to be harder on Naeher than Naeher herself--if she is anything like every other keeper I have known in the last 50 years. What we should hope is that she learns from the experience.

  28. frank schoon, June 24, 2019 at 7:18 p.m.

    There was no agreement at the VAR about the second penalty. The dutch press stated that the Dutch ref. Makelelie one of the best refs in Holland felt it was no penalty but was over ruled by a female Hungarian ref. The press questioned why he was overruled when in fact he ranked above her in qualifications.
    I'm of the opinion that there are too many penalties called

  29. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2019 at 7:25 p.m.

    I can't read minds, but my thought is that the referee could have issued a red card and that both a card and a penalty would be too harsh.

    The only reason a knee injury did not occur is that the foot was not planted yet.

  30. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 7:35 p.m.

    Bob, you know, like Ships states, it’s going to be very tough against France. It is going to be one hell of a game and that is why I’m glad US won this one for I don’t Spain would be able to handle France at all. 

  31. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2019 at 7:41 p.m.

    At this level, every game is tough, but you and Ships are right. France in France is going to be very tough. It may well be the best match of the finals.

  32. Wooden Ships replied, June 24, 2019 at 7:58 p.m.

    I think you’re right Bob, the match of the finals. I hope we are ready, as France is due to put it together. I definitely agree Frank le sommer is special, dangerous, crafty and I’m not sorry to add, pretty. That adjective just takes away from any credibility I might have about the beautiful game (pun intended).

  33. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 8:19 p.m.

    Hey, Ships I agree with you on Le Sommers totally LOL. You know #6 ,another blonde was good too....
    yup , this could be the championship game as far as i’m Concerned

  34. James Madison, June 24, 2019 at 8:09 p.m.

    The lack of technique drives me crazy at times.  Even Rapinoe plays like the "little girl with the little curl right in the middle of her forehead.  When she's good, she's very, very good, but when she's bad, as in her CKs today, she's horried."  Dunn is similar--very athletic, but leaves gaping holes on defense.  Heath doesn't like to share and, after playing a vigorous 20 mintues, more or less quit.  Morgan let the fouling get to her.  Neuher's brain fart left me gasping.  Thank goodness Ertz, with the support of Mewis and Lavelle, still dominates the midfield.  Oh well, France didn't play that well either.

  35. frank schoon replied, June 24, 2019 at 8:25 p.m.

    James , we’re all getting the popcorn ready for the France game. Where is R2 in all of this . I want th hear his opinion too...
    James , I really wonder if Rapinoe will be ready for France. She has not played well IMO. I would like to see on that wing switching with Morgan. Iwaki not impressed with our frontline today....and you’re about Heath

  36. Kent James, June 25, 2019 at 11:32 a.m.

    Mike, you might want to mention that Rapinoe hit two superb pks (low and hard into the corner), one of which fooled the keeper and one of which didn't (and she still couldn't get it).  The 2nd was particularly tough since she had already scored once.  Credit to Rapinoe for icing those goals under huge pressure (and she did not rely on the keeper diving out of the way!).

  37. Ben Myers, June 25, 2019 at 1 p.m.

    I am appalled that the referee did not issue a yellow for persistent infringement on Alex Morgan, who was basically mugged the whole match to neutralize her.  As I watched the match, I kept asking myself where was the card for PI.

  38. Seth Vieux replied, June 26, 2019 at 5:51 p.m.

    I agree. On the one hand I thought the ref 'missed' very few calls, but on the other at some point it becomes clear that the Spaniards do not care how much you whistle them for very rough fouls so how can you not start carding for persistence? Once Morgan began to appeal to her I knew the Spanish plan was fully successful; they had taken her out of her game through persistent and intentional fouls. Was not happy that it took until what, the 85th minute and 16th/17th foul until she finally gave a yellow? And all but a few of those fouls fell in the unnecesarily rough category.

  39. C Tyson, June 25, 2019 at 5:36 p.m.

    I enjoyed the conversation between Frank and Bob. Regarding the pass from Naeher to Sauerbrunn, it was the wrong choice to make since, as it has been said over and over, with your back to the field, you don’t know what position you could be in. Add the fact that Sauerbrunn, who I feel is an excellent defender, is also very ‘nervous’ with the ball. You see it every time the ball is played to her by her body language. She tries to get rid of the ball as soon as she gets it so we won’t make a bad pass or put her team in trouble. At this level, your job is not only to defend but to occasionally start the offense. I never see that from her. 

  40. Ric Fonseca, June 30, 2019 at 7:26 p.m.

    I also wanted to comment on the ratings, for the most part, although Dunn's was a digit or two higher and Lavelle for sure did not have a good game.  Lastly, the opposition will go to great lengths to stymie a top player, y'all know whick players I am thinking about, female and female. And I agree that FIFA must provide better training and instruction , as I dread the day when a player gets chopped down so viciously to effect a broken limb (which has happened in the past) and then and only then will FIFA will close the corral gates after the bull/horse has escaped.

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