Commentary

USA-France: Women's World Cup Player Ratings

USA-FRANCE EXPRESS:
June 28 in Paris
USA 2 France 1. Goals: Rapinoe 5, 65; Renard 81.
Att.: 45,595.


The USA has reached the Women's World Cup semifinals for the eighth straight time since the tournament's inception in 1991 thanks to a 2-1 quarterfinal win over host France. As it has in all of its games at this World Cup, the USA scored early. That proved particularly valuable against the French, who controlled much of the midfield play but didn't find the net until the 81st minute after the USA had scored its second. While the Americans capitalized on minimum attacks, the French faltered against the USA's firm backline. The USA faces England in the semifinals on Tuesday.

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

GOALKEEPER

The two crosses through the goal area that Alyssa Naeher misjudged turned out innocuous. Naeher tipped Eugenie Le Sommer's lobbed shot over the crossbar in the 78th minute and one minute later made a diving save on Amadine Henry's shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 51/- (31)

DEFENDERS

Right back Kelley O'Hara prevented Le Sommer and Amel Majri from delivering effective passes from the left wing. Crystal Dunn had the toughest assignment, battling Kadidiatou Diani. Although Diani slipped through a few times, Dunn held her up long enough for the U.S. central backs to be well positioned to prevent Diani's efforts from creating clear chances. Dunn also set up Tobin Heath for a goal called back for an offsiide that probably should have stood. Central defenders Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn ensured that France's 60-40 edge in possession didn't translate into chances inside the penalty area. Dahlkemper and Sauerbrunn committed zero fouls while defending superbly. Sauerbrunn won several headers and tackles, including a slide-tackle near the wing on Delphine Cascarino that put the brakes on a French counterattack in the 76th minute. The backline also moved shrewdly enough to catch the French offside six times, faltering only the free kick that Wendie Renard scored on.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
7  Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals) 122/2 (30)
7  Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage) 45/0 (26)
8  Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals) 162/0 (34)
8  Crystal Dunn (NC Courage) 89/24 (26)

MIDFIELDERS

Julie Ertz, after a pass from Megan Rapinoe, took the USA's first shot in the 1st minute. A strike from 22 yards solidly hit but straight to the keeper. Ertz did well defensively to force the French wide and often moved back to assist the backline. She won balls in the U.S. penalty area and in the midfield. Samantha Mewis managed three shots on goal -- including one that required a diving save from goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi in the 1st minute of the second half and a rebound opportunity for Heath that Sarah Bouhaddi kick-saved -- despite spending much of her time defending. Lavelle, who set up a Mewis shot late in the first half, ended some promising forays with poor passes.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
4  Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit) 31/9 (24)
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 86/19 (27)
6  Sam Mewis (NC Courage) 54/14 (26)

FORWARDS

Alex Morgan stormed down the wing and was fouled by Griedge Mbock Bathy for the free kick that Megan Rapinoe smashed low through a crowd into the net for the 5th minute go-ahead goal. Morgan, who shot weakly to goalkeeper Bouhaddi in the 14th minute, later in the first half gave up possession three times with a bad passes and twice with fouls. But Morgan made up for the flaws by helping set up the second goal with a pass to Tobin Heath.  While Rapinoe was a consistent threat on the left wing, Heath rarely got the ball on the right wing. When she finally did, from Morgan's pass, she sent in the pass in for Rapinoe's second finish. Heath committed the foul on the free kick that set up France's goal. Rapinoe scored her second goal after a perfectly timed run into the middle and with a crisp strike past Marion Torrent and Bouhaddi.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) 154/31 (30)
6  Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 167/106 (29)
9  Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC) 157/49 (33)

SUBSTITUTES

Bringing in Lindsey Horan for the last half hour was a wise move by Coach Jill Ellis. Although she couldn't stop 6-foot-1 Wendie Renard on her headed goal, Horan disrupted the French midfield as Ertz retreated to defend with the center backs. Carli Lloyd intercepted a French pass in the midfield and helped keep the French backed up when they searched for the late equalizer.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 73/9 (25)
nr  Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC) 279/113 (36)
nr  Christen Press (Utah Royals) 121/48 (30)

TRIVIA.
The USA never lost a World Cup game in which it scored first.

June 28 in Paris
USA 2 France 1. Goals: Rapinoe, 5, 65; Renard 81.
USA -- Naeher; O'Hara, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Lavelle  (Horan, 63), Ertz, Mewis (Lloyd, 82); Heath, Morgan, Rapinoe (Press, 87).
France -- Bouhaddi; Torrent, Mbock Bathy, Renard, Majri; Henry, Thiney, Bussaglia; Diani, Gauvin (Cascarino, 76), Le Sommer (Asseyi, 82).
Yellow cards: USA -- none. France -- Mbock Bathy 4, Bussaglia 90+4.  Red cards: none.
Referee: Maryna Striletska (Ukraine)
Att.: 45,595.

Stats:
USA/France
Shots: 10/20
Shots on goal: 8/5
Saves: 4/6
Corner Kicks: 3/7
Fouls: 11/8
Offside: 3/6
Possession: 40%/60%

45 comments about "USA-France: Women's World Cup Player Ratings".
  1. James Madison, June 28, 2019 at 8:58 p.m.

    Rapinoe gave the French right back fits, but a (9)?  And you over-rated Morgan and Heath, way over-rated Dunn, who is a disaster waiting to happen on defense and too reckless on attack, and under-rated Lavelle.  Without the help of Ertz, the CBs would have been overcome. 

    France was the better side technically, but the US attack was the more effective; and goal no. 3 certainly looked OK on tv. 

  2. uffe gustafsson, June 28, 2019 at 8:58 p.m.

    Defensive scores right on.
    dunn deserved that score especially after everyone thought she was the weak link and man did she step up. That defensive line did an awesome job.
    rapino is a special player she was a menice for the French. Tobine did her defensive work and didn’t get to attack as much. Mid field was solid.
    great game. Same for the late subs they did the job to perfection.

  3. Peter Bechtold, June 28, 2019 at 9:02 p.m.

    Big victory for the American women in the much hyped game,methinks overhyped. Was this really the final being played in the quarters? Could be, but I am not so sure. FWIW, at halftime I said to my sandwich in front of me that neither of these two will win the cup. I would not be surprised if England wins on Tuesday because the Three Lionesses play a more pure soccer. About Germany we don’t know because they have been forced to play without their clearly best player who is scheduled to return tomorrow.

  4. Kent James, June 28, 2019 at 10:08 p.m.

    Dunn deserves a 10 for the defense she played, mostly against Diani (who seemed to me to be the most dangerous player on the field) but also against Cascarino, who came on late when Dunn must have been exhausted.  I'll take away a point from her for giving the ball away a bit to easily on occasion (so 9),  but boy did she step up (since France came at her side again and again).  Very intense, exciting game.  I just hope they don't have a letdown in the next game.  I don't know how good Germany or England are, but France warranted it's reputation, and the US did what they needed to do.

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, June 29, 2019 at 1:09 a.m.

    The entire team stepped up and was outstanding, and there were lots of 1v1 battles won. Rapinoe had a great night. Dunn was simply amazing. 

    Ellis made a surprising, gutsy move switching to a 541, but she certainly judged the French correctly. I can't recall ever seeing a USWNT play catenaccio before.

    France is a great team.

    I am not going to comment on the officials. They deserve to be shunned.

  6. Seth Vieux replied, June 29, 2019 at 11:04 p.m.

    Dunn was simply dominant. Was quite concerned about how well she could transition to LB, and that performance was an absolute statement.

  7. Kevin Leahy, June 29, 2019 at 7:27 a.m.

    Believe Dunn was a 9 & Rapinoe not that high. Lavelle was overwhelmed by the physicality of the match and Ellis is lucky to not have it bite her leaving Horan on the bench. There isn't any sane reason for her not to be starting! Morgan was also outstanding. Her work off the ball was a huge factor in the match. Who has the most in the tank will be critical against England. Hats off to France!! They just seemed to lack the final pass but, it was a great match.

  8. frank schoon, June 29, 2019 at 7:47 a.m.

    Now that the smoke of Euphoria has cleared, lets really take a look at the game and what it really has to say as far soccer development. I look at the game at 2 levels, one ,the mundane, the fan level, which is the result of our win and we're moving on to the next game and two, the more serious side as it applies to our soccer development,coaching ,training, and footballng capabilities.
    First of all let me make a quick comment on the player ratings of which I think someone was a little high on somethinggiving those ratings. How can a team who had difficulty in making two consecutive passes (sometimes one) throughout the game have its players rate so high; furthermore if you follow this line of reasoning the French players on average would rate 10 or above, for the french players played at a much higer tempo and were able to pass and handle the ball under pressure,mind you, at a faster tempo and pace of game that the Americans can only envision in their dreams....
    The old adage, at the world cup the best team doesn't necessarily wins certainly applies here, it that simple.
    Dunn needs to retire for her main weakness is that at a higher tempo and with an opponent tight on her case, she is useless and makes elementary mistakes, ofcourse this applies to few more players. I noticed that about Dunn in the previous game as well, she is not good under pressure.
    Erntz is slow and likewise has difficulty under pressure with a  man on. And what I mean by slow is her ball handling capabilities, thinking. O'hara is fast, speedwise, but not in thinking or ball handling. And what I mean by ball handling capabilities is the foot movement with the ball , the thinking , leaving out running. Heath, has not had a decent game in the past 2 games, other than the pass she gave that allowed Rapinhoe to score, she has done basically nothing. And Morgan ,likewise. The US women has had the run of things for most of the teams they play can't match them. 
    Cruyff once stated if you give an opponent time and space then they all look like great players. And this has been the case with the US team, the weaker teams give them too much time and space. The French finally took care of that situation and we looked like a basic U14 out there.
    NEXT POST....

  9. frank schoon, June 29, 2019 at 8:16 a.m.

    We can count our lucky stars that French, culturewise, has never produced great goal scorers ,other than Just Fontain who scored 15 at the '58 WC, since that time they have produced mostly good midfielders , Platini, Giresse, and couple of others, and once in a while couple of good wingers, Ginola, a Kopa, Henry. If you look at the women their better players are midfielders, LaSommer and Henry, they really don't have much up front. As a matter of fact, Dunn was lucky her direct opponent, right wing lacked good one on one moves and was slow. Great defenders or great front line attackers have never been a hallmark of French soccer only great midfielders and ofcourse that reflects back into  their culture as well,for one only has to look at their way of thinking,foreign policywise; for you don't know what to expect from the French, it always in the middle somewhere. This is why Cruyff when he was coach, the first thing he would look at when watching the opponents is the coach...what is his backround. He knows what to expect if the coach was a former attacking player or a former defender but  he sees a former midfielders as being not sure of themselves, for they as midfielders have played too much in a zone of "should I attack or defend".
    Cruyff would have his assistant and scout Tonnie Bruin Slot, sit behind the coach's bench in the stand and watch his reactions after the first goal scored or substitutions and the second half Bruins Slot would sit behind the opponent's goal not at the 50yard line. Cruyff  would always sub if  he's going to sub begining 2nd half  5min. into the second half not at the start of the secondhalf therefore making it more difficult  for the other coach to counter.
    Just like when Cruyff coached Barcelona, when buying a player from Seville or from the Basque region of the country , you have to know not only the players capabilities but also the culture where he grew up in even they are though both Spanish. NEXT POST. 

  10. frank schoon, June 29, 2019 at 8:39 a.m.

    Looking at this game with an eye on our player development, one has to admit this was no win. Look the US was  first in women's soccer, we are way ahead of other countries in terms of everything but we are not in terms of player development. I look at a country like France whose women are already playing and are capable of playing at a higher level,skillwise and thinking, a faster tempo and I don't mean "fast running" which we seem to thrive upon. Did you see the ball movement, not only individually but as a team, fast ,quick with good positional soccer forcing our team considered probably top in the world incapable of stringing two complete passes together during most of the game. 
    Yes, we won, but that is just momentary for if we  look at our long term development we have to ask ourselves what is WRONG with our coaching and training for every good team we play, men or women, they can knock the ball around we can't. How can the French women soccer  which began so much later in their soccer development play better a better brand of soccer. That's the question we have to ask and what can be done about it . We need to understand that running speed has nothing to do playing fast soccer, it all has to do with ballhandling skills and thinking.....
    I mean ,look at England even, they made a great move by bringing a coach a former player who played at the highest level and given the England women's a boost in their level of play and I find them enjoyable to watch. Furthermore ,I enjoy watching Phil Neville during the game, how he carries himself, his mannerisms...he doing such a great job.  I wish they would hire him for US women for he would be able to raise our raise our level of play up a notch which is something Ellis and her staff is not capable of doing...actually I wouldn't mind him coaching the men's team.
    Let's see how the Dutchies are going to play against Italy. I wasn't happy with their last game.

  11. Wooden Ships replied, June 29, 2019 at 9:23 a.m.

    I really get tired of agreeing with you Frank-haha. Glad for the win, but you’re correct in the French skills. While we can agree that we earned the win, it was due more to France being off on their final ball and shots. Yes, our defense held up but France were repeatedly in scoring areas. Their nerves and our confidence was the difference. Watching the Italy-Holland match, again two teams with players that have superior possession skills and imagination. 

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, June 29, 2019 at 3:56 p.m.

    I agree that winning this match only encourgages US Soccer not to grow. But then my idea would be to win and improve, not lose so that are more motivated to change.

    Frank I think you are too harsh in your comments on the players, particularly Dunn. You are a coach Frank. Coaches are supposed to be focused on improving players, not dumping on them publicly and telling them to retire. 

    What I noticed that surprised me was that the US was taking advantage of its superior fitness, even though France had 3 more days of rest than the US. More importantly, France did not effectively use its possession game to exhaust the US. What is the point of a possession game if you don't run your opponent ragged. France was noticeably fatigued after 70 minutes.

  13. frank schoon replied, June 29, 2019 at 4:09 p.m.

    Bob, sorry you’re absolutely right. It was more of an expression, should have exoressed my self in better terms. Didn’t mean for her to retire of course not, my bad

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, June 29, 2019 at 4:53 p.m.

    I understand Frank. All of us here share one wish. The US has achieved about all that is possible by tenancity and physicality alone. We want the US game to grow, which means better fundamentals and learning to dominate play through superior skills and positioning. It is frustrating to see several nations growing their game while the USWNT still plays the same as in 1991.

    Next cycle won't be any different in CONCACAF qualifying, but several European nations are likely to be greatly improved.

  15. frank schoon replied, June 29, 2019 at 8:45 p.m.

    Bob, this is why I call for higher expertise coaching to come in for we have to get better coaches/coaching....as I stated before. Like you the WNT hasn't changed their way of playing since '91.

  16. frank schoon, June 29, 2019 at 9:27 a.m.

    Ships, I hope that Italian striker with blonde hair, the cute one, comes over to the US and plays here. She is exciting and we need women like that to boost women soccer attendance here.  

  17. Wooden Ships replied, June 29, 2019 at 9:55 a.m.

    I never notice such things, concentrating on skill has my full attention. 

  18. frank schoon replied, June 29, 2019 at 10:03 a.m.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL, you ole Fox

  19. beautiful game, June 29, 2019 at 12:19 p.m.

    Good game by USNT. Unfortunately for France, too many unforced giveaways deflated their rhythm. Rapinoe executed and has been consistent since start of WC. BTW, more cameras should be added on the pitch to further kill the televised game. Anyone getting dizzy from the ping-pong facials?

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, June 29, 2019 at 4:33 p.m.

    I agree 100% BG.

    I watched the other day without my glasses. I really need more tight closeups of the numbers on the back of the shirts during the run of play. Otherwise I will have to put on my glasses or get a bigger TV to know which player has the ball--just in case the commentators don't tell me everytime the ball is given to another player.

    Thanks to the commentators I know when the player with the pink hair has the ball, that her name is Rapinoe!

  21. frank schoon replied, June 29, 2019 at 8:58 p.m.

    Bob what I would like to see is big number on the front of the shorts like Celtics used to have. I like you have difficulty seeing who is who. 

  22. Kevin Leahy, June 29, 2019 at 3:53 p.m.

    Frank, sorry to disagree about with you about Dunn. She is playing out of position and was relentless. If a French player got by her, they couldn't get away from her. Also believe that Morgan did a lot of dirty work helping her team maintain possession. The French were better in moving the ball but, I also believe the coach had a lot to do with that. Not starting Lindsey Horan didn't help because Lavell was getting run over. After the second U.S. goal they were playing a 4 - 5 - 1.

  23. beautiful game replied, June 29, 2019 at 5:42 p.m.

    France better moving the ball? They were better in giveaways which the commentators refer to as 'intercepted'.

  24. frank schoon replied, June 29, 2019 at 8:42 p.m.

    Kevin,Today ,the outside back are suppose to attack as well as defend so their job has become a more of a binary one. I therefore judge a defender not only on stopping capabilities but what she does once she gets the ball from the opponent for it does one no good in stopping an opponent than take the ball and mess up a build up or some other attacking foray and as a result you're back playing defense trying to stop the opponent. Today ,the outside back are suppose to attack so their job has become a more of a binary one.
    Realize Dunn was also playing against a weak attacker, slow and not creative which allowed her some compensation on defense.
    Dunn maybe playing out of position but whatever position she is used to playing the weakness she has regardless is that she is not good with the ball under pressure or having her back faciing downfield with a men in her back.
    The French were good in moving the ball, and sure the coach has something to do with that but realize this particular aspect has mostly  been taught by the club coaches in france  they play for and not so much by the National team coach for she doesn't she them as much as a regular club coach. Further that leads me to question what is wrong with our coaching/ development.
    Not starting Horan is something for Lavell?? I don't know about that but I can tell that Having Horan and Ertz at midfield is not balanced for they are very similar and slow and that wouldn't work against the french in particular. After the second US goal we were playing 4-5-1 and that's when the french scored to....

  25. frank schoon replied, June 29, 2019 at 8:47 p.m.

    John , you're right about "give aways" but that is currently very omnipresent in the women's game regardless of who it is. Because French had the ball much more and passed a lot more they also made more passing errors.....

  26. frank schoon replied, June 29, 2019 at 8:49 p.m.

    BG, that was meant fo you,r I accidently posted to John

  27. Seth Vieux replied, June 29, 2019 at 11:02 p.m.

    Diani is a pretty dangerous attacking player and Dunn consistently shut her down. Dunn (a natural winger) also made a great run (even broke stride to hold her run on a late pass) and perfectly timed centering ball for Heath to easily finish. It was close but certainly looked like a poor offside call. Frank you are just plain wrong on this one. I do agree with you on Ertz and Horan being similar and probably not well suited as 2 of 3 in a midfield. Despite Dahlkemper playing quite well and earning my confidence at CB, I think moving Ertz back to pair with Sauerbrunn and putting Horan in the middle makes this team better defensively and offensively. I think Ertz is a great player, and perhaps if we played two central midfielders it would make sense to try her there. But 4-3-3 demands so much of a CM and Ertz just does not have the skill set or vision.  Horan does.

  28. Kent James replied, June 30, 2019 at 9:09 a.m.

    My goodness Frank, sometimes you are so hard on the players.  Diani was slow and unskilled AND Dunn was a weak outside back?  Really? That's not what I saw.  That was the first time I've seen Diani and I thought she was the most dangerous player on the field.  Since you like skill (a point on which we agree), I thought you'd appreciate her.  Her touch and deception were amazing.  Diani was relentless and Dunn was able to do just enough to stop her (without relying on clumsy fouling or dirty play).  While it is fair to criticize Dunn for giving the ball away and not doing as much on offense, you have to look at the big picture; in this game, the major threat faced by the US was Diani's offense, so Dunn's first (and almost only) focus had to be to shut her down, which she did.  

  29. frank schoon replied, June 30, 2019 at 11:44 a.m.

    Kent, you and I judge skills a little differently. I'll put it bluntly Diani has lousy skills. I wish these announers would have a better eye and understanding of the game and go a little deeper into the technical aspects of the players, for they obviouysly overlook the important details. I watched  the first 30min of the game again this morning in order to answer you in more  detail. I kept my eye on Dunn and Diani in how they handled the ball ,how they postioned oon the ball and how they acted in different situations with the ball. I could only take about 30min of watching these two making time and time again mistakes, that as far as I'm concerned reflex more on the poor coaching they are getting. I had more notes on these two that I could deal with. First of all both players lack good positional sense.Dunn ,defensively gave Diani plenty of space and time, thus given Diani a chance to look good, supposedly. Not ony that , Dunn gave Diala sometimes 10 to 15 yards of open space right outside of the penalty box, Unbelievable and this wasn't one time but consistently. The US was lucky that the French didn't have a player with a good left foot to cross to WIDE OPEN Diani..I really doubt the French were even aware of her being wide open.
    Diani like Dunn is clueless on how to position off the ball, offensively, in her case. First as a winger she drops all the way back to midfield where in fact she places herself in an situation where she is outnumbered due to the US midfielders and defenders, instead remaining deep as possible. Next she has her back facing downfield, positioned near the sidelines.  The passes she  receives is from behind not diagonal from a midfielder, which as a result puts her in the same situation as Heath resulting playing inefficient not productive. This allows her no field vision nor good give and go options.
    It wasn't until the 24th min. that Diani finally received a pass where she was positioned correctly deep as possible  facing downfield. And true to form Dunn gave Diani about or almost 15yards to receive the pass. It's UNBELIEVABLE. Since Diani lacks a good first touch on the ball and even while having no one around to put pressure on her, the ball jumps off her foot and makes Dunn , rushing over there, even look good. NEXT POST  

  30. Kent James replied, July 2, 2019 at 1:15 a.m.

    Frank, you're right; we do see skills differently.  I saw two highly skilled players going 1v 1 in an intense game for 90 minutes.  You saw two klutzs randomly bouncing the ball off each other's shins.  My world is more fun....:-)

  31. frank schoon replied, July 2, 2019 at 9:37 a.m.

    Kent, you're right your world is more fun. I tend to look at the game more seriously for soccer has been my  life from day one. I watch the game within the game, I want to learn the how's and why's and employ what I learn to teach others to improve their game. But I do enjoy a good well executed game that is well played and thought out, just like I enjoy  when I go to the Ryksmuseum in Amsterdam and look at famous painters and how they performed their work. I guess it is a dutch thing, we are very detailed in our analysis and nuances..and that is why perhaps we as a dinky little country has produced so many great players and have influenced the thinking of the world of soccer.
    You stated,"  You saw two klutzs randomly bouncing the ball off each other's shins". Maybe in your  world of fun you see it as two simple klutzs balls,and I wish it was just that simple but there is so much more going on besides those  two simple klutz balls of which I superficially had talked also mentioned .
    But I definitely did not base my opinions on those two,bad first touches that occurred in the random 30 min. I chose to watch.There was dribbling involved and other things, of which I mentioned. When you talk about technique ,skills, you have to take into account the other aspects of the game, the positioning, the field positioning, body stance for receiving and passing the ball the arms....all of which plays a part in judging someones overal functional technical abilities...for just having good is meaningless,


  32. frank schoon replied, July 2, 2019 at 9:42 a.m.

    Kent, meant to just having good technique without the other aspects is meaningless. You'd be surprised how many great technical skilled youth at Ajax don't make it for they have the other aspects....
    Keep up the good stuff on your reffing...I'm learn a lot from it from I'm lousy at the rules of the game  :)

  33. Kent James replied, July 2, 2019 at 11:34 p.m.

    Frank, I've always admired the Dutch (ever since my early coaches introduced me to the concept of "total soccer") and the Ajax teams of the early 90s were my favorite team (when Fox Soccer Channel first became available, they carried the Eridivisie (sp?) as wall as leagues in Argentina & Chile, so I watched those).  When I first started coaching I used the Coerver tapes (as well as the Ajax series) to inform the skills program I developed for my local club.  I appreciate skill (and think you can coach it...to a point).  Certainly emphasizing the value of skill encourages players to develop it on their own.  


     I generally agree with your approach to the game, but I feel like no player is perfect and it is important to recognize the positive aspects of play even while you figure out what can be done better (as my father used to say, "even the best can improve").  I often agree with much of your analysis, but just feel like sometimes (as in this game), your standards are impossibly high.  As you say, you have to keep things in context and that US-France game was an incredibly important game with both teams under immense pressure to perform, and I thought both teams delivered on the promise (in contrast, say, to a Netherlands v Spain WC final that I thought would be a tremendous game and failed to live up to its promise).  So I like to give the players some credit instead of being overly critical.  Besides, soccer shouldl be fun!

  34. John Soares, June 29, 2019 at 7:03 p.m.

    I think the ratings are spot on!!!
    Only thing I was unhappy with...I know that concerns many:)
    was,
    I thought the Lloyd move should have happenned 10 minutes earlier.

  35. frank schoon, June 30, 2019 at 12:08 p.m.

    IN the first 30min. there were a total of 3 diagonal passes to Diani where she was positioned properly, facing downfield and WIDE OPEN, NO PRESSURE and TWICE her first touch on the ball was horrendous causing the ball the bounce away. The other time  she received the ball proceeded to dribble in a diagonal towards Dunn ,which was not intelligent for Diani should have exploited Dunn's weakside. Again Dunn almost stole the ball accidently from Diani because Diani lacks good dribbling skills. You DON'T dribble with the ball straight ahead of you for you have no body torque to cut ,furthermore you don't have control over the ball in order to evade or  switch directions quickly and she lacks shielding ability which so many of these players exhibit.
    I'll stop there for I don't want to get further into the weeds on this stuff. Furthermore Diani lacks acceleration on her dribble , slow in the first couple of steps and moves in one tempo, SLOW. She looks good at times only because the American act like defensively in a manner of bull seeing a red flag...It's all or none with the American defenders and in the way Diana can avoid some of these defensive rushing incursions...
    So much for Diani, but you get my drift of what I think about her abilities.
    Dunn's is a player that need space to operate in for she feels very uncomfortabel when pressured when she has the ball. There are so many body nuances Dunn exhibits that one can pick up which tells you she doesn't like to be pressured. She furthermore lacks an eye for anything that over 15yards across field, lets say. She is the type of player if I were the coach of the opponents team is to allow her to get the ball in other words ,leave her wide open and then quickly pounce on her for she's weak under pressure....I'll leave at that....

  36. Bob Ashpole replied, June 30, 2019 at 1:52 p.m.

    Because of your earlier comments, I started rewatching the France game last night too because I just did not see France playing a tactically or technically superior game than the US. I wanted to see if I could see what you were talking about.

    It appears from this last passage that you are actually talking about individual skills, individual tactics, and decsion making. I normally look for the team tactics and strategy, regardless of execution success. Okay. I can understain that. If you want to break a chain, you study the links to find the weakest link.

    It also sits well with my opinions about progress. If you develop players with great fundamentals (instead of role players), then those players when they get to the senior level will be able to play any style that is needed to beat an opponent.

    If you have great players, bad coaching can still lose matches, but even great coaches can't win a championship with poor players.

    This is another place where we reach different conclusions. You think Ellis has the team playing this way because she doesn't understand positional play. I think she does understand positional play, and she choses to play this way because she sees competitive advantages. I can see a lot of Dutch principles influence in how her teams play. The differnce is the violation of the principle of compactness while moving into the opponents half. It is a big difference, but it doesn't mean that she doesn't understand what she is doing. She is making the field big to exploit physical advantages in 1v1 matchups. I don't have a problem with that IF we can also switch to a combination passing style with the team more closely connected while moving up the field--should the ocassion call for it. 

    On the US switch to a 451 catenaccio style, I think that was planned months in advance. I don't want to get into specifics on a public forum, but it was a brilliant game plan.




  37. Bob Ashpole replied, June 30, 2019 at 2:06 p.m.

    I also noticed something else about how the US played against France that was very interesting, but again I don't want to mention it on a public forum and no one else has mentioned it either.

    Maybe I am just noticing something that has been going on for a long time, but I don't think so. 

    My conclusion based on a number of things is that the US coaching and staff are the best in the world of women's soccer. Sure the women's game is a little different, but coaching ideas are transportable to the men's game. 

    The other thing I noticed is that there are keepers playing in this final who have never been trained properly in the fundamentals of keeping. Evidently international class female keepers are very difficult to find. I didn't notice this watching our group games, because all those keepers played well.

  38. frank schoon replied, June 30, 2019 at 3 p.m.

    Bob, I was talking about Diani and Dunn and their individual capabilities, not team tactics,as you note. But you're right team tactics does not come to fruition well when the players individually don't add their weight or share. As  Frank Rykaard former Ajax player, dutch National team coach and Barcelona coach once stated, You can talk all you want about team tactics,systems but they are all useless if you lose most of the  1v1 duels. Cruyff once stated that at the highest level of soccer it all comes down to a detail. In other wordss the micro( individual) needs to be in order for the macro(tactical system to work.
    I don't have a high opinion on Ellis, when asked a question her answers are general..nothing has ever come out of her mouth that I would say 'hmmm ,interesting'. I'm sure you see some dutch concepts being carried out on the field which you say about every other team in the world...
    When you have the ball you create space and open the field up and when you lose the ball you cut down the space....That concept is over 50 years old. 
    I'm very dissapointed in her how the team plays, for example simple things like the back passing up to the wing ,and the wing coming back with her back facing downfield. This not only messes up the wing attack like what ahppened to Heath ,slowing down the attack but also it has the effect of cutting down your attacking space to a one quarter of the field; thus running counter the philosphy of when you have the ball you open up the field and create lots of space, the Dutch principle as you say. It's things like that tells me she doesn't see that and it happens time and time again....
    It is how the players stand still ,stationary when receiving the ball, etc, stuff like that tells me this stuff is over her head. I would rather see a Phil Neville coach this team for it would bring a higher level of game.  Furthermore it doesn't take much to win with the American for they have all the horses.
    That you think the 451 system was a brilliant move, probably preplanned. Perhaps? but I don't see this a great strategy....your up by 2 goals and much time is left, why not. But realize also the French scored when the Americans changed to a 451

  39. Bob Ashpole replied, June 30, 2019 at 6:32 p.m.

    Frank, I have nothing in response. You made very good points. I think of what you are saying as  reliance on diagonal passing. The WNT does use diagonal passes when passing long across the field, but I see no concerted effort to make diagonal passes otherwise. And it isn't just the passer, it is where the players off the ball are too. Probably most of the time they are showing for a north south or east west pass. 

    Even I figured out early on playing midfield that you don't play behind someone in their shadow. You support on the diagonal to one side or the other, not directly behind someone.

    And while we are on the subject, I also see very few players besides forwards bending their passes. I noticed in the last match an unnamed player made a pretty standard diagonal(!) pass to the wing but it had no bend to keep it inbounds. I was surprised because it seemed a pretty obvious time to bend the ball to the inside. I see forwards bending balls all the time, but I didn't realize that there were others on the team not bending passes. That is a striking skill I expect good amateur players to have.

  40. frank schoon replied, June 30, 2019 at 7:34 p.m.

    Bob, the reason it has to be a diagonal pass , one is structurally and two it is the most safest and three it allows for an extra tactical option Let me explain. First the wing has to be up as far as possible downfield, equall to the last possible opponent. That means it will be diagonal because the wing will positioned further downfield from the midfielder and logically the wing is one line further downfield. Thus this explains why the pass is diagonally structurally. Next, why should why is it that the midfielder should pass to the wing ,why not the back. Well as I have stated before, about Michels benching any back that passes directly to the wing will benched. The reason is obvious for the back's passes forces the wing to turn and face his back downfield, causing him to lose field view, has to turn which slows the game down and the opponents can force him to pass the ball back thus stopping the attack...These are some of the reasons. But if a midfielder passes the ball, the wing will be facing downfield, has great field view, and thereby can start the attack.  And three  the passer ,being the midfielder, has 2 options in passing to the wing. Option one, is that he can pass the ball in a space behind the opponen't back for the wing to run onto and option two is that he can pass to the wings feet, which can be done by the wing by creating space for himself first by making a fake run forwards ,stop, turn and receive the ball in at his feet. This is why a pass from the midfielder is much better pass , more functionally and efficient, than from a back.
    Diagonal passes are also much safer than square balls for if intercepted the passer can still be in involved on the defense but a square ball if intercepted  two players automatically are beaten  (actually 3  the player that should have received the pass further up) the passer and the receiver whois positioned square. This is why diagonal passes are so much better. Vertical passes straight up to a centerforward let us say is not as good as pass coming diagonal from the side for the centerforward can shield the better and at the same time has field vision of his opponent.

  41. frank schoon replied, June 30, 2019 at 7:46 p.m.

    Bob, you're are so right. We need to see more bending balls when necessary. Bending save time, steps and increase attack. For example, the right back passes to right centerback. He receives and intends to pass to the leftcenterback or leftback. But what occurs is he takes an extra  step and dribble because they employ the inside of the foot, not outside. Today soccer has minimized the technical passing skills especially the use of the outside of the foot.  These are not good times for technical passing aspects. Two things come to mind, one is the centerback system itself where centerbacks stay like stiffs in the backfield who give nothing but square or long passes upfield and allow the #6 to initiate something and the other is the 4-2-3-1 system where the 2 midfielders block the forward movements of the two centerbacks of going up. I like to see the libero come back, a la Beckenbauer, who can move  and there do away with #6 doing the only initiating of attack upfield. 

  42. Kevin Leahy, June 30, 2019 at 2:02 p.m.

    Don't believe it was brilliant to have Lavell run over for 60 minutes. Love her skill set but, that was the wrong move for that opponent.

  43. Bob Ashpole replied, June 30, 2019 at 2:14 p.m.

    She was drawing 3 defenders when she dribbled toward the area. I believe that the attacks that don't work keep the defense honest and are as important to the result as the successful ones. 

  44. Ric Fonseca replied, June 30, 2019 at 7:19 p.m.

    Wowzers!  While I do appreciate most of the comments, methinks some have belated/berated/and landed ten lashes with a wet noodle.  I for one, did see flashes of brilliance and dull play from both sides, collectively and individually, but was and am glad for the final outcome.  U must say, however, that I am tiring of seeing only a few commentators tending and trending to dominate this space, surely there are others out there?

  45. Seth Vieux replied, July 2, 2019 at 11:32 a.m.

    Agreed Ric; criticism is important and this forum is a good place for it, but for 4 or 5 guys on here there isn’t a single good thing happening anywhere for either of our national teams. I’ve got plenty of criticism for both, but the women are certainly doing far more right than wrong.

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