USA-Portugal Women's Friendly Player Ratings

June 10 in Houston
USA 1 Portugal 0. Goal: S.Mewis 76.
Att.: 9,951.
* * * * * * * * * *

The USA needed a 76th-minute goal from Sam Mewis to beat Portugal, 1-0, in a very disappointing start to the WNT Summer Series even if the match offered a glimpse of how opponents might defend at the Olympics. With close to a first-choice lineup, the USA was in almost total control of the match but struggled to create decent chances until late in the match. And when the USA found openings, more often than not it shot wildly.

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


As so often is the case, Alyssa Naeher had little to do, just dealing with a couple of back-passes and one ball that passed for a shot.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 70/0 (33)


Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn shut down Portugal the few times it ventured into the U.S. half. The outside backs Kelley O'Hara and Crystal Dunn rarely got into dangerous attacking positions that might have forced Portugal out of its compact defense, and their service simply wasn't good enough to trouble the young Portuguese.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit) 137/2 (32)

Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 185/0 (36)

Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG) 67/0 (28)

Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 112/24 (28)


Until the Portuguese tired, Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle were ineffective. Mewis was presented with chance after chance and was the player most guilty of poor shooting. But she was standing on the doorstep, in a position where it's impossible to miss, to head Christen Press's corner kick into the goal. The match screamed for Lavelle to go right at the Portugal goal as she finally did in the 79th minute when Portugal keeper Ines Pereira saved from close range. With Julie Ertz sidelined, Lindsey Horan was tasked with the job of anchoring the midfield. She won plenty of balls but was playing too deep to create her usual havoc. She had the best free kick of the game, forcing a diving save from the excellent Pereira before Carli Lloyd was called for offside.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 94/20 (27)

Rose Lavelle (OL Reign) 54/14 (26)

Sam Mewis (NC Courage) 73/21 (28)


Alex Morgan, who is leading the NWSL in scoring, was invisible in the first half, getting just 10 touches on the ball. In the second half, she had two golden opportunities in front of goal that she failed to put on target. The service from Megan Rapinoe on corner kicks was poor most of the game, and she rarely got in position to impact the game from the run of play. In the first half, Christen Press had the USA's best chance, forcing Pereira to make a kick-save on her volley. She did what Rapinoe couldn't and put her first corner kick after Rapinoe's exit right on goal for Mewis to turn into the goal for the winner.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG) 145/60 (32)

Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 176/109 (31)

Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign) 176/59 (35)


Carli Lloyd had two chances after entering the match. She was ruled offside in the 81st minute, negating her goal on the rebound of Horan's free kick, and Pereira robbed her in stoppage time.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Carli Lloyd (Gotham FC) 302/124 (38)

Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit) 52/0 (27)

Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns) 5/0 (20)

Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 30/1 (22)

Lynn Williams (NC Courage) 35/10 (28)

TRIVIA: The USA’s unbeaten streak is 40 matches, the third-longest in its history after streaks of 51 games (2012-14) and 43 (2004-07).

June 10 in Houston 
USA 1 Portugal 0. Goal: S.Mewis 76.
USA -- Naeher; O’Hara (Sonnett 73), Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn (Davidson 79); Horan, Lavelle, Mewis; Press (Williams 89), Morgan (Lloyd, 73), Rapinoe (Smith 73)
Portugal -- Pereira, Amado, Rebelo, C.Costa, Marchao (Correia 90+1); Norton (Jacinto, 82), Pinto (Faria 90+1), D.Silva, Nazareth (Pinto 60); J.Silva (Encarnacao 82), D.Silva (M.Gomes 90+1).
Yellow Cards: USA -- none; Portugal -- J.Silva 49. Red Cards: none.
Referee: Danielle Chesky (USA).
Att.: 9,951.

Shots: 26/4
Shots on goal: 10/1
Saves: 1/9
Corner Kicks: 15/1
Fouls: 6/12
Offside: 5/3
16 comments about "USA-Portugal Women's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. R2 Dad, June 11, 2021 at 1:34 a.m.

    The team was struggling for creativity and shot discipline around the 18. Yet Macario was never subbed in for Horan? Why might that be?

  2. Santiago 1314, June 11, 2021 at 6:11 a.m.

    Been awhile since We could say; I Enjoyed watching the Men, More than the Women.!?!?!?... But, you know What Santi says; JUST WIN BABY, WIN.!!!

  3. Michael Saunders, June 11, 2021 at 8:38 a.m.

    The comments from Paul are SPOT ON.   Trust me teams will have bad days; but this lowered the bar despite the fact that the USA WON !! 

    **  The ineffective crosses, the overall lethargy, the lack of creativity, quickness & crispness in ball movement was just unacceptable coming from the #1 team in the world!

    **  Heather O'Reilly & Aly Wagner were the "stars" of this match:  As analysts, their comments were to the point questioning why not changing the attack strategy.  For example, why utilize a high press the entire time as it facilitated Portugal's low block?   Where was our vaunted taking on the defense one-on-one?  Their criticism of the poor crosses must also not be understated as a one off.  Too often our crosses & corners leave a lot to be desired.  

    **  To say the team missed Ertz is an understatement.  Yes Horan played deep, but her instincts against a weak Portugal team that 'parked the bus' was still to act as a box-to-box mid.  Fine Portugal allowed it.  But pray tell why leave a gap of 20 to 30 yards between the CBs and the mids. that are seeking to break thru the bunker.  Become part of the attack; provide another option. Sure there is the risk of a counter but it was not Sweden after all. 

    ** Finally ... Accounatbility must also fall on the shoulders ov Vlad & his staff.  They do not get a pass.  Change in strategy, formation & earlier substitutions, particulalrly in consideration of the humidity, should have been done.

  4. Nick Gabris, June 11, 2021 at 12:19 p.m.

    Why do you put Lloyd out there at 39 when she offered nothing, and you have Macario on the bench???????

  5. Wooden Ships replied, June 11, 2021 at 1:38 p.m.

    I agree with you Nick on Macario, but I've not written off one of the best USWNT finishers yet. There is not one player on the current roster that has her instincts and array of finishing abilities. Yes, she is older, but are you going to tell me Morgan or any of the other attackers (maybe not Rose or Williams-who can't get it together on the senior squad yet) has a better work rate? I'm keeping her through Tokyo for sure. 

  6. R2 Dad replied, June 11, 2021 at 1:45 p.m.

    I am inclined to believe, though have no facts to confirm, that Nats coaches are encourged to reward long-time servants like Lloyd who have stuck with the NWSL instead of trying to improve their earnings/experience overseas (for the most part. Yes she was loaned out to ManCity but she was old even 4 years ago). So even at 39 they feel obligated to include her, and will most certainly try to drag her over the line at the Olympics this summer. This is to serve as an example to younger players that sticking with the NWSL will be rewarded vs going to Europe. Macario has chosen Europe so does not benefit from this dynamic. in addition, Macario (21) cannot be allowed to outshine Horan (27) and Ertz (29) as this could overturn the seniority framework they've established with the USWNT, and wish to continue. Vlatko is presumed to be in cahoots with NWSL/MLS until he proves otherwise, though the recent segregation of SUM from USSF might give hope this relationship towards players might change. That how it appears to me, sitting here on this grassy knoll holding my umbrella.

  7. Wooden Ships replied, June 11, 2021 at 2:19 p.m.

    I'm sure there is some measure of truth with those thoughts R2. I can appreciate as well, the message to younger players regarding loyalty. While CL, probably doesn't rise to the level of freakish fitness like Christine Lilly, she has worked hard to maintain her fitness (which is also observed by younger players). I'm primarily speaking from a goal scoring talent, we don't have anyone else like her. 

  8. Wooden Ships replied, June 11, 2021 at 2:36 p.m.

    R2, your observation about upsetting the apple cart-chemistry is a real dynamic and not just for women. Our men's last qualifying failure was principally that very thing. Which brings me to the strength of character-personality of a manager to nip those distractions in the bud. Both, in the SISL and at the university level, I was no-nonsense regarding individual feelings at the expense of the whole-team. Not sure how Vlad is. You make a decision with conviction and if some are butt hurt, you and them have another decision to make. Simple. I once released two former Mexican National team capped players due to their unwillingness after just two weeks. It wasn't a pleasure to do so, it was a requirement. We made it to the Mitre National's that year. Eventually lost to St. Louis and some of my older teammates from the 60's and 70's. If Vlad is excluding Macario for what you've mentioned (possibly) he would be foolish. 

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, June 13, 2021 at 12:58 a.m.

    It is funny, but my assumption is that Macario was not 100% fit. I find it amusing that someone else's assumption is that the coach is prejudiced in favor of a 39 year old player. I repeat, the coaching staff's primary problem right now is reducing the roster to 18. IMO that Macario was on the bench and Lloyd played indicates that the jury is still out about Lloyd. No question that she is an asset if she still has it. No question that she is a big game clutch player.

    I believe Vlad is an excellent, smart coach. My complaint is that he is not taking the team in a new direction, but USSF has also made it very clear that the coach is no longer allowed to make changes in how the team plays. No point in complaining about what he is not allowed to do.

  10. Santiago 1314, June 11, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.

    Doesn't look like we Currently have a Carrin Jennings-Gabarra, April Heinrichs, Tobin Heath, ... Crazy Legs Players who can Single Handily Break Down a Wing ... Gonna be a "Slog" to the Gold Medal, with this Group, but; "I BELIEVE THAT WE CAN WIN.!!!"

  11. John Soares, June 11, 2021 at 1:07 p.m.

    Bad day at the office.....
    Nothing more than that.

  12. James Madison, June 11, 2021 at 5:54 p.m.

    For once the ratngs are spot on.  A stroll in the park; no one cared; no bite.  Horan is a solid anchor, but no ERTZ. Mewis was in the right place for the goal and unmarked, but the young keeper should have captured the CK.  Macario would be more confortable and useful as a no. 8 or 10 than in place of Horan.

  13. Bob Ashpole, June 12, 2021 at 2:18 a.m.

    I am wondering if somehow I was watching a different match.

    1. This was a friendly. Coaches have other priorities than playing the best game plan to win a friendly match.

    2. The heat and humidity were oppressive.

    3. Ertz is injured and even if she weren't, the team needs to be able to play without her. The Olympic schedule makes it impossible to use starters. All the field players must rotate through the matches.

    4. IMO Horan is a better pivot than Ertz simply because Horan is a better deep lying playmaker. Ertz makes up for her passing with the energy she brings to the team, but that is not a pivot role. Ertz's future is at CB.

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, June 12, 2021 at 2:23 a.m.

    PS: 5. The coaching staff's primary concern now is getting the roster down to 18. Not winning a firendly.

  15. Seth Vieux replied, June 14, 2021 at 7:52 p.m.

    * Ertz's past was as a CB. She broke in and stayed as Sauerbrunn's partner for many years before getting moved to the 6 where she's stayed since. My own opinion is that she's best as a CB that gets forward to provide an additional scoring threat. She used to score A LOT more as a CB than she has as a MF.

    Not sure I see her moving back though, as Dahlkemper has established herself pretty well as the primary passer at the back. Based on skill sets alone, I'd personally much rather see Ertz as the CB and Dahlkemper as a pivot as she's far more composed on the ball with a broad range of passing ability. Like Horan there as well, but prefer her as an 8. Think next to Mewis / Lavelle she's our best all around player, which I guess is the problem :-)

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, June 15, 2021 at 11:33 p.m.

    Seth, all good points. The reason I say Ertz's future is at CB is that Vlad in the long term needs a replacement for Sauerbrunn. Plus we need 4 top quality CBs, not just 2. 

    My point regarding Horen is that the team uses 2 10's (inside forwards) instead of an 8 and a 10. Given the team's attacking superiority and total football style pressing, I prefer the two 10s. I see it as a logical progression to the tradional US attack based on 3 outstanding forwards. This supplements the forwards with 2 attacking mids aimed at the gaps between the CBs and FBs. I see the team stronger with Horen behind the 10s (where the team should have no trouble feeding her the ball) and distributing the balls forward. The W shape has been an excellent attacking shape for many decades. I feel it gives the best chance of scoring the first goal and opening up the game.

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