USA-New Zealand Women's Olympics Player Ratings

July 24 in Saitama, Japan
USA 6 New Zealand 1. Goals: Lavelle 9, Horan 45, own goal 63, 90+3, Press 80, Morgan 88; Hassett 72.
Att.: behind closed doors.
* * * * * * * * * *

An under-prepared, offensively tame New Zealand provided a convenient foe for the USA's rebound after its 3-0 opening loss to Sweden. Coach Vlatko Andonovski made five changes to the starting lineup. The USA had four goals called back for offside and were gifted two own goals in the 6-1 win.

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


Alyssa Naeher's biggest save came on a low 20-yard shot by Hannah Wilkinson in the 7th minute. Not much Naeher could do when Betsy Hassett hit the net from close range.   

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 75/0 (33)


Left back Crystal Dunn improved on her performance by opting for simpler passes and she fed plenty of balls to Megan Rapinoe. Emily Sonnett at right back shut down New Zealand's most threatening player, Ali Riley, who faded after her early flank forays. Sonnett combined neatly with Lindsey Horan in the buildup to the third U.S. goal. Abby Dahlkemper, out of sorts against the Swedes, still hasn't found her groove. She misplayed a pass and then stumbled as New Zealand managed a 72nd-minute goal. Tierna Davidson defended reliably and her solid passing included a couple of exceptional cross-field balls.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit) 57/0 (27)

Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 36/1 (22)

Abby Dahlkemper (Man. City, ENG) 73/0 (28)

Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 118/24 (29)


Rose Lavelle's sharp finish for the early goal ensured an easy day for the USA. New Zealand's midfield was overmatched by the defensive strengths of Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz and the duo also motored the U.S. attack. Horan got a key touch in on the buildup to Lavelle's goal, headed home shortly before halftime, and sent in the cross ahead of the 3-0 own goal. Ertz assisted on Horan's goal with a headed pass and on Christen Press' goal with a precise cross.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Rose Lavelle (OL Reign) 58/15 (26)

Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 100/23 (27)

Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 112/20 (29)


Carli Lloyd nodded on Alyssa Naeher's boot down the middle leading to Tobin Heath's assist on Lavelle's goal. Megan Rapinoe's inconsistent accuracy on crosses and corner kicks made defending easier for New Zealand. But after striking corner kicks short, Rapinoe delivered one across the goal area that Ertz headed to Horan to make it 2-0 shortly before halftime. Lloyd's header from Horan's cross led to the first own goal. For the second straight game, none of the starting forwards scored.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Tobin Heath (Unattached) 173/35 (33)

Carli Lloyd (Gotham FC) 308/126 (39)

Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign) 181/59 (36)


Christen Press scored the best goal of the game, settling Ertz's cross on with her left thigh to set up a half-volley from her right foot from 15 yards into the lower right corner. Press also set up the goal by Alex Morgan, a finish from 9 yards. Sam Mewis' midfield header got the buildup going on the goal by Morgan, who headed Mewis' ball to Press and sprinted to the right spot for the return pass. Mewis also delivered the cross-field pass to Press, whose pass into the goal area C.J. Bott banged int her own net. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 182/111 (32)

Christen Press (Unattached) 151/63 (32)

Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage) 79/23 (28)

Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA) 8/1 (21)

Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars) 35/0 (30)

TRIVIA: During New Zealand coach Tom Sermanni's stint as USA head coach (January 2013-April 2014) he gave national team debuts to Julie Ertz, Kristie Mewis, Christen Press, Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan and Samantha Mewis.

July 24 in Saitama, Japan
USA 6 New Zealand 1. Goals: Lavelle 9, Horan 45, own goal 63, 90+3, Press 80, Morgan 88; Hassett 72.
USA -- Naeher; Sonnett, Dahlkemper, Davidson, Dunn (Krueger, 84); Lavelle (S.Mewis, 67), Ertz, Horan (Macario, 84); Heath, Lloyd (Morgan 74), Rapinoe (Press, 67).
New Zealand -- Leat; Bott, Moore, Errege, Riley; Percival, Hassett (Longo, 87), Bowen, Cleverly (Rennie, 80); Chance (Satchell, 65), Wilkinson.
Yellow cards: none. Red cards: none. 
Referee: Stephanie Frappart (France)
Att.: behind closed doors.

USA/New Zealand
Shots: 12/5
Shots on target: 4/3
Saves: 2/0
Corner Kicks: 5/2
Fouls: 7/3
Offside: 7/2
Possession: 62%/38%
26 comments about "USA-New Zealand Women's Olympics Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, July 24, 2021 at 11:30 a.m.

    Dahlkemper did not stumble. She tripped over the opponent's trailing leg. Was a proper no call. Feet get tangled. It happens.

  2. Kent James replied, July 24, 2021 at 2:01 p.m.

    That was an ugly play; she shanked her clearance, and then went down.  She seemed to be looking for a call to bail her out (which as you point out, rightfully did not happen).  She should have bounced up to try to maintain the damage from her mistakes...

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, July 25, 2021 at 12:05 a.m.

    So, Deja Vu.... As the Story goes... I Walk into a Bar in St. Louis to catch US Game and have a Beer... But, It's not Busch and I'm only Connecting thru the Airport... We in a Heap of Trouble... This game Reminded me of the "Warm -Up" Games vs Mexico, et al... Nothing is Improving, Still Disjointed... I dont think the Problem is Solvable with this Roster and Coach... Maybe they will Prove me Wrong... I Hope So ... And the Beer was Crap Also, at 6:30am

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, July 25, 2021 at 7:26 p.m.

    Lots of Champions look horrible at the group stage and then come together after a couple of games. The USWNT was exactly like that in 2015.

    Look at it this way Santi, they certainly are not going to play worse. The only way from here is up. They may fall flat on their face against Australia, but who knows. 

    I don't care if they stumble their way to a gold medal, although I prefer to watch the beautiful game.

  5. Kevin Leahy, July 24, 2021 at 12:07 p.m.

    Thought Lavelle was player of the match. She was attacking all ends of the field. The opponent knew Heath likes to dribble because, they triple teamed her almost every time she had the ball. There is no way Rapinoe should be getting minutes from Press. She looks really slow to me and she isn't even striking the ball well. Felt like Horan should have been rested 10 minutes earlier along with Ertz who, didn't get rested at all. Australia will tell whether this team can still think about getting a medal. Was good to see Macrio get on the field! She needs to play more.

  6. R2 Dad replied, July 24, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.

    I have always liked Rapinoe's creative contribution on the field, but her deliveries have been poor and inconsistent for quite a while now. Vlatko/USWNT/USSF don't have the huevos to pull the old players. It's human nature I guess, but that's not how Vlatko gets out of this tournament with his job and reputation. Not to worry, lots of other competent coaches out there but I don't think USWNT/USSF would hire the manager with the chops to drag us to the next level. We're stuck with Groundhog Day, unable to move on, too good to stop doing what we've done so far.

  7. John Sabala, July 24, 2021 at 3:41 p.m.

    The player that should not be on this team is Tobin Heath. I don't take anything she has done for her career and the national team. Both if these games has showed without any doubt she does not have the quickness or pace to play on top of any formation. She has always tried to dribble and attack players, but she cannot do it anymore.  All she does is disrupt the flow of the offense and turn the ball over. The team connected passes well in the first half, but then tried playing too many long balls in the second half and not building play. Press's goal (though great) was from a long pass that the central defender misjudged the ball and Press making a great first touch. 
    The backline was exposed several times and will get exploited by better teams. The team needs to move to a 3-4-3 so they can press up the field again. I have said this before. The team can fall back to a 4-3-3 if a team escapes down the wings. 
    Lastly I saw posts that USWNT have not played tough opponents in the last years. Take a look again as at least half of their opponents are in the top 15 in the world, especially in the She Believes Cup. It is the USMNT that don't play quality opponents most of the time. Jill Ellis did a great job of brining in new talent and making players earn their spots and hold onto them. 

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, July 24, 2021 at 5:28 p.m.

    Heath had 4 goals and 2 assists in 8 matched prior to missing the rest of the Man U season with ankle and knee injuries. She didn't play for 6 months while rehabbing. How quickly you give up on a player coming back from injury. 

  9. R2 Dad replied, July 24, 2021 at 10:45 p.m.

    Initially I was not a big Heath fan but over the past couple of years she has been a constant threat on the dribble and we've come to depend on that threat in the attacking 3rd. It seems that the Kiwis double-teamed her in order to mitigate that threat. So drawing an extra defender in one location opens up space for others across the pitch--a very important contribution as long as we can recirculate quickly enough.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, July 25, 2021 at 1:29 a.m.

    People seem to forget that Heath put the ball on a platter for Lavelle to finish on the all important first goal.

  11. Jeanine Valadez, July 24, 2021 at 5:21 p.m.

    I am a long time fan of Heath's but she is not tourney fit yet (I'm taking the optimist's view that she can still return to worthy efficacy, albeit likely not to her past peak performance due to age).  What DID worry me about her play, though, were way too many technical mistakes and decisions...she as often lost the ball because she held on to it too long, as losing it because she held the ball on the defender-side foot and was dispossessed.  Her head/eyes went down when she received the ball more than I have ever seen. This slowed the speed of play. She's always been a dribbler, but she did so with head up so an ultimate effective pass or shot or combination was usually the result.  She really needs to realize, as all us elite athletes must as our bodies age, that she must quell her reliance on the muscle memory telling her she can break away, or beat that person to the ball, or body check strongly enough.  Elder players bring confidence, leadership, wit, cleverness, and patience to the game, which is why older alumni teams often beat the young ones. But stellar elder players KNOW they no longer have the physical prowess they once had.  Rapinoe recognizes this, though she is hampered by unreliable teammate positioning and target running.  But Heath does not. She still thinks she super quick.  If she does not adjust NOW, I fear she doesn't deserve to be on the field any longer for this tourney.

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, July 24, 2021 at 5:34 p.m.

    She is coming back from a six month layoff. It is a little too much to expect that she will be as sharp as when playing regularly. The reason Vlatko included her is that she was the teams best creative player. I expect she will continue to get minutes in the group stage.

  13. James Madison, July 24, 2021 at 5:32 p.m.

    Is Sauerbrunn hurt?  She was best player on the field for the US v. Sweden.

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, July 24, 2021 at 5:34 p.m.

    She is being rested.

  15. Anthony Petgrave, July 24, 2021 at 6:19 p.m.

    ...very generous in the rating of Rapino,  IMHO 

  16. Kerry Solomon, July 24, 2021 at 8:04 p.m.

    Rapinoe is probably favorite player on the team but her performances are uninspired and a little lackadaisical.  I love her skill and fire but it's lacking so replace her with someone else and bring her into match later on as a sub.

  17. Aris Protopapadakis, July 25, 2021 at 12:19 a.m.

    The US may have looked better that it did against Sweden but this was New Zealand! I did not see the intensity that the US needs if it going to win against the tougher opponents on the horizon, nor the crispness and precision...
    If it played against Sweden this way it would have been railroaded again...
    I am a fan of USMNT; I see the athletic ability and in many cases the technical ability of individual players but I don't see the cohesion and precision required to win against organized teams. I don't see a medal in the near future, certainly not gold; I hope I am wrong...

  18. Santiago 1314, July 25, 2021 at 12:31 a.m.

    Yes Aris,you are Correct... Might be Better to Finish 3rd in the Group... Would play Great Britain or Canada... Better chance to Advance, than Nederland or Brazil.!!!

  19. John Sabala, July 25, 2021 at 1:58 a.m.

    Bob, the point being made is that Heath is not match fit. You don't bring a player not match fit into the second biggest tournament in the world. The other commentor made the exact same observations. I am not taking anything away from what Heath has done in the past. This is now. You make the exact point of coming back from injury and also not playing at all for over six months. A frontline player must be able to get behind the backbone. Heath cannot. Too slow and cannot create separation in possession. It is what it is at the moment. Heath can't play into shape this Olympics.

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, July 25, 2021 at 2:20 a.m.

    You said nothing about fitness. You said she was too slow to play anymore. On the fitness point, if she is 45-minute fit, then she can contribute. Five subs are allowed in this competition due to the interim rules under the pandemic. Those rules also allow a sixth sub if the game goes into overtime. (I couldn't confirm whether that is used by the Olympics.) Virtually every coach is faced with decisions about including people recovering from injury. I am not second guessing the decision to bring Ertz and Heath. We don't have the information to do so.

    The danger is not that the recovering player won't recover sufficiently. That is pretty easy to predict with confidence. The danger is re-injury, which can't be predicted.

  21. Santiago 1314 replied, July 25, 2021 at 4:38 p.m.

    Now you see the problem John... We have NO One better than a couple of Injured and Aging players... Plus these Women are on Year Round USSF Contracts GAURANTEED 100K + Health Benifits + Child Care Coverage... It would look pretty Stupid and The BOD will not Like it, if you Drop a "Contracted" player for a "Newbie" Non-Contract Player

  22. Bob Ashpole replied, July 26, 2021 at 12:27 p.m.

    Santi, you are going to mislead people who aren't familiar with the circumstances. The circumstances here are that the men have a USSF contract for international play and a separate club contract for league play. For the women USSF is both the international employer and the club employer. The male players typically get their benefits from their club contracts. Same for the women, except USSF is also their club employer.

  23. Nick Gabris, July 25, 2021 at 11:25 a.m.

    The overall age of the USWNT team will tell you what needs to be done!!!

  24. Billy Logan, July 25, 2021 at 11:34 a.m.

    In a practice match your team's attackers take turns running the touchline, as ASSISTANT REFEREES - with the flag in their hand. Hire an experienced central referee to call the scrimmage, and to watch tape and critique the player/AR's calls.

    Role reversal :-)

    Then, when next you work on timing the enabling pass, and the pass-receiver accelerating from noticeably behind the restraining line, etc., the lessons will really sink in. 

    Else you'll have four goals disallowed because your attackers didn't think of the AR's point of view. And your next opponent might not be New Zealand. btw USA was lucky it wasn't 1-1 at halftime.

    Hoping a commenter here will come back with "Where you been? Teams do this all the time"

  25. Santiago 1314, July 25, 2021 at 4:31 p.m.

    Where ya Been.???

  26. Billy Logan, July 30, 2021 at 2:20 p.m.

    Well, Santiago 1314,  admittedly I'm old and out of it, so I'd like to know WHAT TEAMS, at practice, have their players act as AR's, calling offside?

     In the '70's my school teams didn't do that, then a bit later I was paying attention to two successful college programs near me - I don't recall any mention.

    If it's in coaching manuals I'd be very pleased to know that :-) Thanks - BL

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