Commentary

USA-Colombia Women's Friendly Player Ratings

USA-COLOMBIA EXPRESS:
Jan. 22 in Orlando, Florida
USA 6 Colombia 0. Goals: Macario 3, Rapinoe 35, 44 (pen.), Williams 60, Horan 73, Purce 86.
Att.: 3,202 (limited capacity)
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Four days after a 4-0 win over the Colombians, Coach Vlatko Andonovski's seven changes to the starting lineup included an entirely different backline and, most importantly, the exciting Catarina Macario at center forward. The 21-year-old scored quickly and in her 63-minute stint provided plenty of reasons why she should always start. Next up after the 6-0 win, as Andonovski figures out how pare down the Olympic roster to 18, are Canada, Brazil and Japan in the SheBelieves Cup (Feb. 18-24). They will provide desperately needed competition for the U.S. team that outshot Colombia 33-2 on Friday.


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

GOALKEEPER

One feels sorry U.S. goalkeepers in these lopsided friendlies. Jane Campbell saw her first action since April 2018 and didn't get a chance to make a save.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

5
Jane Campbell (Houston Dash) 4/0 (25)

DEFENDERS

Ali Krieger assisted on the first goal and Emily Sonnett helped set up the second goal in a game in which U.S. defenders were free to spend as much time in Colombia territory as they pleased. Sonnett also set up Lynn Williams for a clear 33rd-minute chance. Alana Cook kicked a ball out of bounds that she should have settled and Tierna Davidson hit a sloppy crossfield pass in the first half that could've been trouble against a decent opponent. Cook did block one of Colombia's two shots and Davidson found her groove. Her passes included a long ball out of the back that set up another Williams chance.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6
Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride) 108/1 (36)

5
Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA)  2/0 (23)

5
Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 27/1 (22)

 
Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit) 48/0 (27)


MIDFIELDERS

Rose Lavelle shot high and wide twice in the game's first two minutes and had a shot blocked inside the penalty area in the 20th minute. Yet Lavelle's playmaking tortured the Colombians, and despite her misses her dynamism unsettled the Colombians from the get-go. Lavelle was part of the buildup to the USA's first two goals. In the second half, she finally tested the keeper. Sam Mewis, coming off her hat trick, played a more subdued role but was fouled for the penalty kick (3-0) and delivered the cross for Lynn Williams' goal (4-0). Mewis should have been on the scoresheet, but headed onto the post from two yards out. Julie Ertz did her usual: preventing pressure on the backline and efficiently spraying passes after the USA won the ball.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

7
Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG) 48/13 (25)

6
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 105/20 (28)

6
Samantha Mewis (Manchester City/ENG) 70/21 (28)

FORWARDS

Catarina Macario, who debuted with a second-half appearance earlier this week, got the start and scored before the third-minute mark, coolly banging home from five yards a Krieger cross. Later in the first half, Macario hit the post and forced a good diving save with long-range shots. She seemed always available for a pass, laid off several good balls, and in the 49th sparked an attack with a run from the midfield line. Perhaps most impressively, she can play effectively amid an overcrowded defense, which the USA faces constantly. Lynn Williams shot wide on a close-range chance and failed to lob keeper Sandra Sepulvada in a one-on-one. Her header, however, to make it 4-0, was perfectly timed and placed. The value of Megan Rapinoe's composure was demonstrated before she unleashed the deflected shot on the second U.S. goal and when she buried the penalty kick. It will be interesting to see how the 35-year-old fares against tougher foes in February, but besides a horrible taken corner kick, she looks fit and sharp. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6
Lynn Williams (NC Courage) 31/9 (27)

7
Catarina Macario (Lyon, FRA) 2/1 (21)

7
Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign) 170/52 (35)

SUBSTITUTES

Midge Purce scored her first national team goal, heading in what looked like a shot from Carli Lloyd, who replaced Macario in the 63rd minute. Lindsey Horan finished with a nifty, low close-range volley off a Crystal Dunn corner kick.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6
Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 88/19 (26)

5
Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC) 296/123 (38)

6
Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 107/24 (28)

6
Midge Purce (Sky Blue FC) 4/1 (25)

5 
Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash) 18/3 (29)

5 
Emily Fox (Racing Louisville) 4/0 (22)

TRIVIA: The USA's unbeaten streak is now at 34 games -- 31 wins and three ties. The home unbeaten streak is now at 50 games -- 45 wins and five ties.

NOTABLE: The four Colombian players who missed Monday's game because of Covid protocol were cleared for Friday's game. Three had tested negative and one had an inconclusive test before the Monday game, but were kept out because of contact-tracing to a delegation staff member who had tested positive. 

Jan. 22 in Orlando, Florida
USA 6 Colombia 0. Goals: Macario 3, Rapinoe 35, 44 (pen.), Williams 60, Horan 73, Purce 86.
USA -- Campbell; Krieger (Fox, 79), Cook, Davidson, Sonnett; Lavelle (Horan, 62), Ertz, S.Mewis (K.Mewis, 68); Williams (Purce, 68), Macario (Lloyd, 63), Rapinoe (Dunn, 63).
Colombia -- Sepulveda (Giraldo, 87); C.Arias, Carabali, D.Arias, Acosta; Caro (L.Caicedo, 85), Huertas (Robledo, 46); Ospina, Montoya, Velasquez (Romero, 46; Guerra, 89); Usme.
Yellow cards: USA -- Krieger 78; Colombia -- Velasquez 39, Romero 54. Red cards: none.
Referee: Danielle Chesky.
Att.: 3,202 (limited capacity).

Stats:
USA/Colombia
Shots: 33/2
Shots on target: 12/2
Saves: 0/5
Corner Kicks:21/0
Fouls: 11/17
Offside: 4/2
Possession: 67%/33%
26 comments about "USA-Colombia Women's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, January 23, 2021 at 3:57 a.m.

    Corner Kicks: 21/0

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, January 25, 2021 at 10:14 a.m.

    Frank, I am talking about a winger starting just outside the far post vs. starting at the penalty spot. Starting at the penalty spot leaves half the goal mouth without good coverage. As you know technically it is more difficult to finish a ball hit behind you than to play a ball in the direction you are facing. We are not talking about a situation where the 9 is out of position so the winger replaces the 9 in the middle. 

    You are correct that the US FB or someone else can stay wide to contain an overhit ball or receive a switch.

    I am just explaining the rationale for my conclusion, which admittedly are based on a lot of assumptions.

  3. frank schoon replied, January 25, 2021 at 12:03 p.m.

    Bob,  starting from the penalty doesn't leave half the goal mouth uncovered. I teach my players not to position ahead of time of where you want to be but get there 'on time'. Two reasons, One, when you run towards the far post from the penalty spot, let us say gives you momentum to jump higher in the air than any defender who is already postioned by the far post. Two, you have time to adjust in case before making the run if the cross is not that accurate which you can't do when you have posted yourself already by the far post.

    The other comment on of your posts, <'usually when a wing is leaving space for a fullback, it is early">  'Early'? is not good for that allows the opponents to see what will or can happen and therefore are prepare for the eventuality.

    A good anecdote in van Hanegem's book written some years ago stated  to this . The leftback upon overlapping who was wide open didn't receive the ball. And a matter of fact van Hanegem, the left half, would turn away from him and begin to dribble facing to the other side. The back quit his run, and ask  why he didn't a  pass from him. Van Hanegem, stated that this type of play is way too predictable. He stated, "You think I would actually  pass to YOU, everybody can see you making the run, making it so predictable and so obvious, seeing you run with the ball down the flank". 

    Van Hanegem stated he would pass the ball to him when the back reaches the area near the penalty box, because the opponents would have to shift and sacrifice an extra defender at a moments notice, usually too late. But what you see today, Bob, is overlapping backs receiving the ball way too early, giving the opponents time to adjust. Remember the pass from Pele sideways to Carlos Albertos the back who rocketed his shot in goal at WC'70. That is where an overlapping back should receive the ball, not early but late, too late for the opponent's defense to adjust....

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, January 26, 2021 at 12:13 a.m.

    Frank, we are talking at cross purposes. What I call early is about 25 to 30 yards from the end line.

  5. E Velazquez, January 23, 2021 at 6:16 a.m.

    M woitalla does a good analysis about the players. However i am compelled to disagree with his ratings for Williams , she should not be a starter,  ms Pierce  showed more speed, more skill  with the ball and more serenity when possessing the ball, she should have started the game ( we would like to know why the coach includes Williams in the team-her goal was fortuitous , wasn't it? . Ms  Macario is better tnan morgan, Lloyd and Press and conclusively SHE should start in the olympics and in any other future games .  Our coach may need more soccer wisdom  to select the players for the next games

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, January 23, 2021 at 2:04 p.m.

    For williams I would say this about her wing play. She doesn't create space for her teammates, which is selfish. She doesn't understand the winger role in stretching the field horizontally or how a weakside winger attacks the far post. She spent most of her time pinched in playing in the box in crowded space already having 2 10s and a 9. She spent a lot of time playing on top of her teammates.

    When she scored, it was because she wasn't pinched in at that time so the finish was technically easier. I grew tired of the commentators praising her for stretching the field vertically and excusing her misses because they were technically difficult. William's positioning is what made her chances technically difficult. I concede that she has great success playing like that in the NWSL. But this is international play. She doesn't have the tools to play as a 9. So she is a one-trick pony and one-trick ponies are an expensive luxury on an 18-player roster. 

  7. R2 Dad replied, January 23, 2021 at 4:03 p.m.

    Good breakdown, Bob.

  8. Michael Saunders replied, January 23, 2021 at 8:27 p.m.

     Absolutely premature to conclude that Macario is "better" than Morgan, Lloyd or Press.  I most certainly agree that the potential is evident.  Yet the Colombian NT was not a proper test.   Ranked 26th in the world, not playing in over a year and with  a federation that has shown poor support for WoSo in that country.   Let's see how she fares during the SBC when all the particpating teams are in the Top 10. 

      

  9. frank schoon replied, January 24, 2021 at 1:38 p.m.

    Bob, I disagree with on your analysis of Williams. She did exactly what her coach told her to do. One,  your assessment of not creating space is wrong for that is all she did leaving the right flank wide open, for Krieger and Lavelle to make runs for crosses. And when she positions around in front of the goal or the near post, note how she points to the open flank when either Ertz or Mewis has the ball to pass the ball there. Realize when she comes inwards, it allows Lavelle to run into and as a result the Columbian midfielder has to come back and go after Lavelle and as result the Columbian had one less midfielder.

    The coach apparently took advantage of William's height in front of the goal, for she is the tallest. So why would you let Williams do the crossing when Krieger or Lavelle can do that and thereby use Williams height in front of goal.. Furthermore ,by her coming in she forced the defense to pick her up leaving Macarios wide open to score the first goal....

    The other times she pinches in is when the opponents try to build up on the right, which leaves a nice open lane on our  right flank for our Turbo Bunnies to make runs once we stop Columbia at midfield. 

    By having watched the first 15minutes ,for that is all you really need to read the game to study the patterns of play. And I come to the conclusion that Williams did exactly what she was told to do by the coach.

    I don't think she has the skills of good winger , I would rather see her play Right back,for she can run and has a little wing experience.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, January 24, 2021 at 10:22 p.m.

    Frank, usually when a wing is leaving space for a fullback, it is early. The winger either attacks toward the near post or takes up an "inside forward" (10) position. The FB then makes an over lapping run. What I observed was mostly not fitting that pattern. She would stay on the flank until just outside the box and them float to the penalty spot or even a couple yards past it. So I just see it as clogging up the middle and leaving the back post without an attacker.

    My guess was that the coach didn't tell her to play on top of the 9, but rather that she wanted a goal badly so she was leaving a postion by the far post and coming closer to the ball thinking it would give her a better chance to score. A lot of assumptions on my part, but her movements looked bad to me.

    I can't see the FB running out wide on the weak side and leaving the far post without a defender to guard the back door. It is a short run for any of the US attackers to get in the keeper's blind side.

  11. frank schoon replied, January 24, 2021 at 10:59 p.m.

    Bob, You call it clogging up the middle, I call it offensive pressure by the US against a team that couldn't or wasn't allowed to get out their own half. This was a half court game, and the US could just as well have moved their own goal up to the midfield,so to speak. Columbia  was outsized, outmuscled and were outrun. Why would you have Williams stay wide but instead get her in front of the goal forcing their defense of having to pick her up which has the effect of leaving one less defender to cover an attacker in the middle in front of the goal. In other words, because Williams was in front of the goal ,Columbia's defense was forced to play man 1v1 on defense, leaving Macario open behind them.

    This was one of the problems of the Columbia they had no one on the flanks to stop an attack ,they left the  flanks wide open for crosses to opponents in the front of the goal who were taller than they were. If I were the coach ,I would have concentrated on stopping crosses from the flanks by posting players there. 

    There was no need to overlap by Krieger or Lavelle, the flank was open for them to run and make crosses. This is why Williams several times was pointing to pass the ball to the right flank for Krieger or Lavelee.

  12. E Velazquez, January 23, 2021 at 9:01 a.m.

    Mr Andonovski: please reconsider your player  position analysis. Ms. Macario would excel more not as a number 9 , but as a number 10 or even 8. She is not the type of player to be waiting for the ball (as a 10 ), she has unique virtues than the other strikers insufficienties

  13. E Velazquez, January 23, 2021 at 9:04 a.m.

    (As a 10)

  14. E Velazquez replied, January 23, 2021 at 9:09 a.m.

    Oops ! As a 10 it should be " as a 9 "

  15. E Velazquez replied, January 23, 2021 at 9:17 a.m.

    9

  16. Beau Dure replied, January 23, 2021 at 11:54 a.m.

    The problem then is that you have to omit or move Lavelle, Horan or S. Mewis. Or two of them. 

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, January 23, 2021 at 1:28 p.m.

    Eactly Beau. We have 3 midfield positons and about twice that many world class midfielders. It is only a problem if you look at playing one game in isolation. It is not a problem for the Olympic competition. Depth is a key advantage.

    My solution to your question is to move Horan to the pivot and Ertz to CB. And yes, either Lavelle or S. Mewis would be a reserve if everyone was healthy and rested.

    The primary reason I want Macario in the 10, is that we have a lot of world class forwards who would be excellent at the 9. Also the rationale that Macario could be a false 9 (withdraw) I reject also. Is there really such a thing as a false 9 when you have 2 10s in the same space? Do you really want Macario to be moving away from goal instead of toward the goal? An equally important benefit of having Marcaio in the Midfield is that she will see more of the ball. I think the more she has the ball, the better our play will be. Using Marario as a poacher in the box is a waste of her talents.

  18. R2 Dad replied, January 23, 2021 at 4:14 p.m.

    Agreed, Bob, though I don't know if Vlatko sees it that way. It seems like using Macario at the 9 instead of Lloyd is going to be the path of least resistance, instead of a re-think and moving Ertz back to CB. Vlatko still has Sonnett and Davidson as backups for Sauerbrunn and Dahlkemper, with neither of the two who played last night able to work as outside backs. We can't carry that many CBs if Ertz moves to the back line.

  19. E Velazquez, January 23, 2021 at 9:06 a.m.

    As a 10 shoul be as a 9

  20. beautiful game, January 23, 2021 at 9:58 a.m.

    In these to back-to-back games against a minnow, coach is experimenting with player combinations...that's a positive. However, where is the competition?

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, January 23, 2021 at 2:20 p.m.

    BG, I don't think of him as experimenting with positions. I think of him as taking a very hard look at players who he would like to take but aren't clear choices. For the older vets, are they still world class--can they still change the game? For the new players, he is still assessing them. So to a certain extent, the players getting a long time on the field might be getting a last chance look before decisions are made.

    He has to pick alternates too. So it isn't just 18 players he is picking. In a pandemic, the alternates may be important.   

  22. frank schoon, January 23, 2021 at 10:14 a.m.

    Having actually watched the first half of the game. I come to the conclusion that Macario is not a #9, but more of a #10 type. I mean she can at the position of a #9 but withdrawn or a False #9.

    Several reasons, One, playing the traditional #9 position forces her many times to have her back facing the goal which is one of her 'weaknesses' playing with her back to the goal which seems to be problem with the ALL the women. Macario feels more comfortable coming up with the ball ,facing downfield, and seeing her options.Two, she prefers to play 'combinational ball, employing her teammates in passing and moving which is very Brazilian.Three, she likes to move around and doesn't want to be stuck in one position. Four, she prefers to move from left to right not just remaining in the center lane, like Sargent at Schalke '04.

    As a false #9 she should post left of center, in other words 10-15meters left of the imaginary centerline. That is not only due to the propensity of how she moves, left to right, but also, as a result of this, she' has the technical ability to shoot or rather BEND the ball going towards the second post, which is something you don't see in women soccer. That is an added weapon she's able to employ. So often I see women, like for instance Lavelle,  shoot and just try to blast it.

    Some say she can play #10 but I say she can also play the old-fashioned #10 which is left half where she can use her ability of coming downfield with the ball able to move left to right diagonally or straight  down, all the while seeing all her avasilable options downfield coming from the second line.

    The overall point here ,that I'm making, is that Macario has the best 'variety' of skills on the women's team which can be put into good use in not only in employing the options at hand but also create more OPTIONS as due to her technical ability. NO PLAYER ON THE MEN'S HAS THAT ABILITY OF CREATING MORE OPTION DUE TO THEIR TECHNIQUE. Marcario seems to be the only player on both teams who has that ability.
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  23. frank schoon, January 23, 2021 at 10:48 a.m.

    If you look at the overal picture with Macario in mind and where she likes to position herself, left of center, than one comes to the conclusion the left side is what Cruyff calls  the 'Tutti-fruttie' side when he played for Ajax and Dutch total soccer team in WC'74. What I mean is that one flank is playful , creative, 'tutti-fruitti', in other words a mix of creative players doing their thing. But in soccer you need BALANCE, which means the right flank stays or plays the ORTHODOX way. Orthodox meaning, no thrills, if a back overlaps the halfback takes his place, or halfback overlaps, the wings his play; in other words just  simple soccer with all positions covered leaving no gaps or space for opponents to use in a counter 

    You can't have both flanks playing 'tutti-fruiti', for it can lead to many more risks coming from both flanks, instead of one. In other words you can prepare one self 'defensively' better if the possible risk is capable coming only from one side or flank, but you can't allow it from both flanks.

    What happens here, let us say, our left flank ,the creative one, has basically 4 players, when you include Macario. That's a strong flank which means the opponent, defensively are geared to their right flank to stop this threat for there are a lot of dangerous US players.

    What is so important here, is that our right flank will be given more space to make runs and attacks into the space left by the opponents who have shifted ,somewhat, to their right. To take advantage of this weakness is called playing 'Tiki-Taka' , a term so much overused and associated with Barcelona and Guardiola. Just about every coach, applies 'tiki-taka' to Barcelona's fabulous passing. It has to nothing to do with "PASSING' just like the term 'Total Soccer' has nothing to do with Total Soccer as people understand the term to be. 'TIKI-TAKA' is the process of making one team shift to one-side ,defensively, thus leaving the other side open for offensive forays by the opponents. This is why Xavi of Barcelona did so well,  shifting the attack quickly the other open side.
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  24. frank schoon, January 23, 2021 at 11:15 a.m.

    To sum up Tiki-Taka is the ABILITY to posses the ball on one flank forcing the opponent to commit more defensively thereby leaving more space for the other team, a la Barcelona, to attack. In other words where the ball is found is nothing to do with where the attack will take place.

    Next question, is who should play on the right to make runs, Lavelle as right half is a perfect fit. I first though to try her at #9 but having seen her play and really watched her last night, tells me she lacks the skills in small spaces. She is a Turbo-bunny in the good sense of the word and therefore employ that particular 'strength'. Note when she makes an action with the ball, 1v1, for example, a run or some sort of 'explosion' in her actions follows, that's her MO. She is effective only when she has to come or go to an area(penalty area) via her explosiveness NOT when she's already there at that position for then she can't explode. 

    Positioned right outside of the penalty area waiting for a ball is not good for she is forced to be 'contained' and can't rely upon any explosiveness. She lacks that the special technique to get out of the 'containment'

    Many, like myself, think that Macario has more skills than Morgan, Rapi, Lloyd. But that is not what is important here when scoring at a #9 position. Does anyone remember, the German great goal scored ,Gerd Muller, 'der bomber'. He has the least skills of any player on the Bayern team or the National team. But in the penalty no one could score like him for he had a nose where to position. 

    I remember, one of my boys tried out for the NASL, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers as a defender,  guarding Gerd Muller. He told me, Gerd Muller turned and shot the so hard that as he turned his head to see what happened, the ball had already hit the back of the net and rolling past him outwards.....

  25. Bob Ashpole replied, January 23, 2021 at 1:46 p.m.

    We saw Purce at right FB and wing. What I want to see is how she plays on the left side filling in for Rapinoe.

    Also, Lavelle could also play right winger. As old as our veterans are, I am thrilled with the young talent I see thinking of the next world cup.

    Tactically I thing I like least is the tendancy of our wingers to pinch in. This allows the opponent to shrink the gaps between the FBs and CBs, and doesn't take advantage of our double 10s placed to attack the gaps. When we have a height advantage, then sending crossed from outside is fine, but against some teams it will be better to attack on the ground in the gaps. Or at least threaten to. Think Sweden eliminating the US in 2016. Other nations have put together big physical teams too.

  26. E Velazquez, January 24, 2021 at 7 a.m.

    Great assessment !  we  fully agree with Bob

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