USA-Sweden: Women's Friendly Player Ratings

Nov. 7 in Columbus, Ohio
USA 3 Sweden 2. Goals: Lloyd 6, 31, Press 28; Anvegard 75, 79.
Att.: 20,903.

The Vlatko Andonovski era got off to a rip-roaring start. In the new coach's debut against Sweden, which finished third at the World Cup the USA won last summer, the Americans stormed out of the gate impressively, took a 3-0 lead in the first half hour, and kept up a swift attacking pace throughout. The Swedes, who helped make this an exciting end-to-end contest, finally got on the board in the 75th and 79th minutes. Sweden's flukish second goal and the USA's failure from penalty spot prevented a more convincing scoreline.

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

Alyssa Naeher
had one easy save to make until she was beaten without fault from close-range in the 75th minute and blundered four minutes later. She seriously misjudged her venture to the edge of the penalty area.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
3 Alyssa Naeher
(Chicago Red Stars) 56/1 (31)

Becky Sauerbrunn was part of the snafu on the Swedes' second goal when, with some justification, she assumed Naeher would get the ball. Otherwise, Sauerbrunn played with her usual poise and with central partner Abby Dahlkemper prevented Swedish counters from getting near the U.S. goal. (The first Swedish goal should be credited to Nathalie Bjorn's brilliant assist.) Right back Emily Sonnet's timely tackle prevented Lina Hurtig from scoring from close-range in the 12th minute. She was lucky not to get yellow-carded for a two-armed tackle in midfield in the 18th minute. Her wide attacks helped keep Sweden on its heels, as did those of left back Casey Short. She struggled briefly when Sweden broke through on her wing twice. That was after Short helped set up the first U.S. goal with a pass that sent Christen Press down the wing.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns) 39/0 (25)

6 Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage) 53/0 (26)

4 Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals) 170/0 (34)

6 Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars) 31/0 (29)

Julie Ertz
helped make the backline's job easier as she usually does and sent the pass that Tobin Heath relayed to Carli Lloyd on her second goal. Lindsey Horan did most everything right but lacked polish and luck in front of the goal. Rose Lavelle stood out for sparking three attacks, two that forced saves, early in the second half -- a key to preventing whatever ever momentum shift the Swedes may have hoped for coming out of the locker room.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit) 37/10 (24)

7 Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 94/19 (27)

6 Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC) 78/12 (25)

Carli Lloyd
's second goal was a wonderful chip and her first came with a well-timed run to stroke home from close range. She also retreated to help start attacks from the midfield, crucial with a three-player midfield. Oh my, was Lloyd's missed penalty kick a bad one, but she had created the cushion to prevent that mishap from ruining the game for the USA: Lloyd also had the assist on Christian Press' goal. Press, the provider on Lloyd's first goal, beat two defenders en route to her strike. Tobin Heath's delivery from the wing should have been better, although they won corner kicks and she accounted for frightening the Swedes in the first two minutes with her forays. She also nodded the ball to Lloyd on Press' goal and to Lloyd on the third U.S. goal.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
7 Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) 160/32 (31)

8 Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue) 286/120 (37)

8 Christen Press (Utah Royals) 129/50 (30)

Andi Sullivan filled in competently for Ertz. Lynn Williams troubled the Swedes more than Mallory Pugh but couldn't quite deliver the perfect pass when she came down the wing. Samantha Mewis helped stifle the Swedish comeback attempt.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit) 14/0 (23)

5 Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage) 20/4 (26)

4 Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) 61/18 (21)

5 Samantha Mewis (NC Courage) 60/14 (27)

TRIVIA: Carli Lloyd has now scored under five different U.S. head coaches, a feat achieved only by Kristine Lilly (six) and Heather O'Reilly (five). Lloyd scored her first U.S. goal on Oct. 1, 2006 against Taiwan, when Greg Ryan was coach.

Nov. 7 in Columbus, Ohio
USA 3 Sweden 2.
Goals: Lloyd 6, 31, Press 28; Anvegard 75, 79.
USA -- Naeher; Sonnett, Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Short; Lavelle (Mewis, 62), Ertz (Sullivan, 46), Horan; Heath (Pugh, 61), Lloyd, Press (Williams, 46).
Sweden -- Lindahl; Glas, Kulberg, Ericksson, Andersson (Samuelsson, 82); Zigotti-Olme (Bennison, 64), Bjorn; Jakobsson, Asilani, Hurtig (Janogy, 82); Blackstenius (Anvegard, 72).
Yellow cards: USA -- Horan 37; Sweden -- none. Red card: none.
Referee: Katja Koroleva (USA)
Att.: 20,903.

Shots: 16/7 
Shots on Goal: 10/4
Saves: 2/7
Corner Kicks: 11/6
Fouls: 7/16
Offside: 1/3
Possession: 49%/51%

16 comments about "USA-Sweden: Women's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. R2 Dad, November 8, 2019 at 1:47 a.m.

    I thought the referee handled the match well enough. I might have whistled for a few more fouls in the first half--it got a bit chippy twice as I recall--but otherwise she did well. I didn't see VAR used  at any point--are friendlies exempt? Does USSF have a policy on this?
    Good write-up, Mike!

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, November 8, 2019 at 2:36 a.m.

    During the FS1 broadcast, the commentators were talking about the new coach. Everything I heard sounded encouraging. The lead up to the Olympics will be interesting.

  3. frank schoon, November 8, 2019 at 10:41 a.m.

    The 4-1-4-1 is not a good system for Ertz. She is too slow for defensive work and forced to work harder under pressure making it difficult for her to make a pass. I think Mewis would do a much better job she is much quicker on the turns and more comfortable on the ball and should become the leader in central axis. I don't see  what Erntz can offer in this system. 

    Another thing is that cross passes to from the left side of the field in your own third shouldn't be attempted especially if your right footed ,for it takes too much time due to having turn to the right  an extra step. And worse if you don't have power it gives the opponent a direct counter attack in your own third.

    Notice how Press scored that goal. Priceless, Pulisic needs to study this for he relies on pure speed.
    The important , the KEY to Press's goal is when she came at her opponent  cuts to the right employing 2 DRIBBLES (that's the KEY) then she cut back to the left leaving her opponent stuck in the ground flatfooted, off balance. In the old days Wingers were taught that specifically putting an opponent OFF BALANCE ,without having to employ mindless speed like Pulisic employs.....
    By dribbling 2x, not once, forces the defender to commit to her left, leaning with her weight on her leftside than when Press  cuts back she's gone...It was beautiful better than the goal the mechanics of it. It's all about balance not speed in beating an opponent..

    The 4-1-4-1, forces our most technical players, one  on one wise, Heath to run too much. And that is due to the lack linies( in Dutch) or lines). She comes back to the ball in her own half and tries to take on players around midfield, WHY????, what a waste, she needs to use her skills in the opponents third where she's able to draw defenders, create 2v1 situations... I'm afraid the 4-1-4-1 is not a good system if you want to build up from the back. Let's face our strenght has always been the front line , for without those horses we look below par....

    Happy to see a smile on Lloyd's face, good for her.

  4. frank schoon replied, November 8, 2019 at 11:11 a.m.

    I didn't mean Mewis but Horan to play the position of Ertz..

  5. frank schoon, November 8, 2019 at noon

    Having seen the whole game, nothing has really changed as far as  our women's style of play. We rely on speed as compared to Sweden that plays "group soccer", to move the ball around. We in unable to pass the ball around keeping possession and then strike quickly with speed. I would prefer to see us have the ability to knock the ball around, keeping possession which is our weak spot. Looking at Sweden, if they had our frontline , they would have a perfect balanced team....

    The women's team has 3 players , Lloyd, Horan, and Heath, of which the latter two have the best skills as far as ballhandling one on one skills and Horan has the best vision of the team. This is why  Horan should play mid,mid... Heath has the capability of penetrating down the endline. I just wish she would  work on a "mean' bending away cross near the endline for I find most of the women goalies very weak on bending away balls...

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, November 8, 2019 at 2:58 p.m.

    Frank, I think they showed some improvement in the first half, but then in the second half regressed to business as usual. And didn't look as dangerous. I put that down to substitutions breaking down the rhythm of the first half.

    I also think the 1414 was meant to be only a defensive shape alternative to the 244. I liked it as a unexpected tactical problem. The attacking shape looked like a classic 343, but the counters were so quick in the first half that I can't be sure what the coach intended. To my non-Dutch eyes and brain, the plan in the first half looked Dutch influenced to me. The second half looked to me to be a breakdown.

  7. frank schoon replied, November 8, 2019 at 3:12 p.m.

    Bob, obviously the first half was better. But I wasn't impressed with their right wing in the 2nd half. We still have so many players who have the DNA run...It is like watching Pulisic, as soon has he receives the ball it is first gear full speed ahead.  As far as looking dutch long we don't know how to possess the ball and keep it, it very difficult to try to compare our style of play appearing anywhere as dutch. 
    It is very difficult to judge this coach because it's a new beginning. I do however like he's a Yugo and I only his last name ended in "ic"  :>)

  8. uffe gustafsson, November 8, 2019 at 4:52 p.m.

    USA took out the 2 best player on the field, press and Lavelle. Remember that sweden played without most of their senior players, this was the new young crop of players getting play time. This is good news for Sweden to at least in second half they put USA on the defense. It was a fun game to watch compared to the farewell games we last saw.

  9. frank schoon replied, November 8, 2019 at 5 p.m.

    Uffe ,thanks for the info on Sweden.. 

  10. uffe gustafsson, November 8, 2019 at 5:14 p.m.

    Frank FYI.
    press spent many years in Sweden playing for 2 different clubs, before coming back to get the chance to get play time with the National team.

  11. R2 Dad, November 8, 2019 at 8:10 p.m.

    my notes from the match:

    Lots of direct play and long balls—why is this the default?

    Casey short with the good d – I see her as starting left back going forward.

    Sonnet – deserved a card, bad defending/judgement.

    Why are we booting long on goal kicks? Are second balls better than build-up? We will never get away with that against France and Spain.

    Tobin heath with the creativity on the right—well done.
    Seems like the team trained to break the Swedish press--they looked good doing it in a methodical way.

    Our team still doesn’t value possession highly. If there is one thing the new coach can do is value possession better. At this point in the match we are up 2-0. Would like to see better retention. Not a minute after the 2ndgoal, though, the USWNT do a very good job or recycling, looking for a better opportunity, and score again. Well done, ladies!

    Christen Press shooting from distance—bad judgement.

    Sonnet is not an outside back, playing like a CB and not adding value.

    It starts going pair-shaped in the second half, after the swedes sub a bunch of players in, capped off by their well-worked goal.

    Saurbrunn has no excuse on that 2ndgoal.

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, November 8, 2019 at 10:18 p.m.

    Short impressed me too. Looked like quality. O'Hara is 31 and has big shoes to fill.

    Sonnet has improved, but if she was stronger, Ali Krieger would not have gone to the last World Cup. Ali is 35 and unlikely to be available in 4 years. Lots of choices for 2020, but it is 2023 that concerns me.

  13. frank schoon replied, November 9, 2019 at 11:53 a.m.

    Short played better 2nd half. One of her weaknesses is when running back towards the endline trying to stop an attacker, she's unable to stop the attacker for she is right footed. In the first 20min. of the the game the Swedes got 3 chances to score from her side for she unable to stop a cross. She also ball watches too much, and as usual all these girls passing directly to the feet, for they don't increase the tempo of the game.

    Another weakness I see is the outside backs move too far up ,thus leaving too much space between the centerbacks and the outside backs. What happens, for example is when Short moves close to the midfield line guarding her opponent , she  leaves too much space behind her for an opponents midfielder to run into. The problem is when Horan is forced has to try and follow that midfielder making the run behind Short. Horan does not have speed and in no way can she cover that opponent. That forces the left centerback to leave her position  to pick that breaking midfielder, thus leaving a gap in front of the goal.That's is where the problem lies on defense.
     Lavelle, runs around like a headless chicken. She makes runs with the ball, and has no CLUE where she is going or will end up, or Whatever!! She slows the game down with her runs and  closes down attacking spaces due to her running zig zag all the way forwards, wherever the wind takes her. If it was possible the moment she receives to ask what's she going to do with the ball, she couldn't answer. you. She does not think a step ahead. Lavelle should receive the ball only when she makes a run into open space ,downfield but instead she runs with the ball looking for an open space. By the time she finds one , I'd be back from Starbucks with my Grande Vanilla  extra hot, no foam, double cup, Late.
    Lavelle is very inefficient ,time wasting and needs to have a serious talk as to what her role should be.

  14. R2 Dad, November 10, 2019 at 2:17 a.m.

    I think Pugh has stagnated or even regressed. She should have gone to Europe 2 years ago to improve her decision-making, touch and skills. Now it appers she has made a pact with USSF/MLS to wait in line and wait her turn for the world cup in 2023. She has appeared to have gone stale in the meantime.

    Williams is a racehorse in the Press mold. I don't think this type of player has as much potential in the international womens game as they used to.

    I would like to see our womens team impose their game on Sweden and other top teams. We do that against weak teams when, due to our superior skills, we have most of the possession and park in the attacking half for 90 minutes. But against other top teams we have conceded possession and have been happy just counter-attacking in a lakers run-and-gun-type offense. That may have worked in the past but other top teams will sport good finishers (like kerr) and make us pay. 

    Vlatko certainly knows its evoluton or revolution with this program.

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, November 10, 2019 at 6:54 a.m.

    "Williams is a racehorse in the Press mold. I don't think this type of player has as much potential in the international womens game as they used to."

    The two play very differently especially regarding how they use their speed. Press is one of the best wingers in the world. I see your comment as saying "wingers" are out dated, not Press and not speed. I actually have always thought that sprint speed was overrated and quickness much more important. It is too easy to negate speed advantages through smart tactics, but quickness is always an advantage. Press isn't just a fast runner, she is much more.

    Wingers will always be important. Their primary attacking role is to draw defenders outside to create space in the center. Which is why passing ability is as important as dribbling.

  16. frank schoon replied, November 10, 2019 at 9:03 a.m.

    Bob, I’m not impressed with Williams either. She needs to show a lot better than what she done. She needs to have “shake and bake “ motions with the ball which she lacks. She does look like race a horse but without moves or a nice cross. 
    I don’t consider Press a race horse, and besides we don’t need race horses, for the more you rely on speed the less technique. I would say Heath has a good balance ,she relies on moves and can run when needed.

    And yes we need wingers they are the most important element to begin an attack. 

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