USA-Australia Women's Olympics Player Ratings

July 27 in Kashima, Japan
USA 0 Australia 0.
Att.: behind closed doors.
* * * * * * * * * *

A lackluster, error-laden performance by the USA ended with a scoreless tie against Australia that sends the Americans into the knockout stage with a second-place finish in Group G on four points -- the fewest the USA has ever earned in world championship group play.

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


The closest Australia came to scoring was Mary Fowler's header onto the crossbar. Two other headers and one shot went straight to Alyssa Naeher.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 76/0 (33)


Tierna Davidson stopped pair of Australian attacks by beating wingers to the ball in the first half and blocked a pair of shots in the second half. Australia was wise to the USA's dependence on outside back attacks and contained Crystal Dunn and Kelley O'Hara. Poor passes like Dunn's over-hit boots from midfield to Australia's goalkeeper made that task easier. Davidson's central partner Becky Sauerbrunn stepped in when necessary against an Aussie attack that fizzled with both teams satisfied to end on a tie that will assure both second-round passage.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit) 142/2 (32)

Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 37/1 (22)

Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 190/0 (36)

Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 119/24 (29)


Sam Mewis' poor passing -- she connected one of her five passes in the game's first 10 minute -- contributed to the USA's inferior possession. Rose Lavelle's one-touch pass sent Alex Morgan on a breakaway in first half during which Lavelle otherwise saw little of the ball. She shot weakly to the keeper from 19 yards in the 63rd minute and shortly after over-hit a short pass to Morgan in the penalty area. Julie Ertz denied Sam Kerr a close-range chance with a lunging tackle in the 45th minute but also failed to bring cohesion to the midfield. Ertz lost the ball at the edge of Australia's penalty area in the 39th minute on her most promising move forward. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Rose Lavelle (OL Reign) 59/15 (26)

Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 113/20 (29)

Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage) 80/23 (28)


It's now three games in a row that the USA hasn't gotten a goal from a starting forward.  Alex Morgan shot straight and weakly to the goalkeeper Teagan Micah on an 8th-minute breakaway, the USA's first chance, and from long-range in the 22nd minute. (Her 33rd-minute header into the net was nullified by a harsh millimeter offside call.) Morgan relayed a pass from Dunn to Christian Press shortly before halftime that seemed to have set up a prime chance, but Press' first touch ruined the angle from which she shot weakly to Micah. On Press' first second-half chance, after she blazed past Ellie Carpenter, she scooped the ball into Micah's arms. Megan Rapinoe posed no problems for the Australian defense and made little effort to come into the midfield for the ball. All three failed to hold the ball long enough to get the midfield involved higher up the field.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Christen Press (Unattached) 152/63 (32)

Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 183/111 (32)

Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign) 182/59 (36)


In the 89th minute, Tobin Heath moved toward the Australian goal on a last-gasp chance for the game-winner, and passed straight out of bounds for a goal kick. Heath, Lynn Williams and Carli Lloyd didn't put their fresh legs into action and watched the Australian defenders pass around as the final minutes wound down. Lindsey Horan missed on a difficult header shortly upon arrival, had a shot blocked, and played too hastily when she got the ball in midfield. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Tobin Heath (Unattached) 174/35 (33)

Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 101/23 (27)

Carli Lloyd (Gotham FC) 309/126 (39)

Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage) 38/11 (28)

Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash) 28/4 (30)

TRIVIA: The USA's first-round performance marks the first time it's been shut out twice at a world championship in group play.

July 27 in Kashima, Japan
USA 0 Australia 0.
USA -- Naeher; O'Hara, Davidson, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Lavelle (K.Mewis, 87), Ertz, Horan, S.Mewis (Horan, 65); Press (Williams, 74), Morgan (Lloyd, 74), Rapinoe (Heath, 65).
Australia -- Micah; Carpenter, Kennedy, Polkinghorne; Yallop, van Egmond, Logarzo (Cooney-Cross, 62), Catley; Simon (Gielnik, 84), Kerr, Foord.
Yellow cards: USA -- Rapinoe 38, Lavelle, 72. Australia -- Cooney-Cross 69. Red cards: none. 
Referee: Anastasia Pustovoitova (Russia)
Att.: behind closed doors.

Shots: 8/10
Shots on target: 4/3
Saves: 3/4
Corner Kicks: 3/5
Fouls: 10/6
Offside: 6/1
Possession: 35%/65%
23 comments about "USA-Australia Women's Olympics Player Ratings".
  1. E Velazquez, July 27, 2021 at 7:09 a.m.


  2. Santiago 1314 replied, July 28, 2021 at 8:45 a.m.

    The "Coach" seems to be on Auto Pilot... Doesn't want to or Believe that his Players Can or MUST; Change Positions or Formations... No Cakewalk,   Not sure whether it is His doing, The Players running the Team?, or as Bob says; USSF... Sad and almost Tragic.!!!

  3. Bob Ashpole, July 27, 2021 at 8:04 a.m.

    I have two points to make and I will say them an stop. Today was a black day in the history of the USWNT program.

    1. And this is a comparatively minor point. The offside call that negated the US goal in the first half was as bogus a call as there can be. I don't see how any White Badge Official or VAR could have made that mistake honestly. Yes a Grade 8, sure. These officials are far beyond Grade 8 mistakes.

    2. USSF and Earnie Stewart have changed the USWNT culture, which has become legendary over 30 years. That culture is playing a physically dominating, high pressure, attacking game. I see everywhere fans blaming the players, largely because they haven't changed from when Jill Ellis was the coach. The reality is that the players are essentially the same that Ellis lead with historic success. What is differrent is that April Heindriks and Jill Ellis has been replaced by Earnie Stewart and the USSF managers behind him. So the differences you see in how the USWNT team plays is due to Earnie Stewart being in charge. (USSF stripped the head coaches of any discretion as to how their team plays. They are micro managed by Earnie Stewart and USSF.

    On the field, this means that the USWNT team for the first time in its history played defensive soccer rather than attacking soccer. They played for the 0-0 tie rather than to win the match. They also used the same hollow circle attacking formation that the unsuccessful men's program uses. Eight players are in a giant 72-yard circle with 2 defensive mids in the middle. This formation ensures that the opponent will have superior numbers wherever the ball is on the field. Thus it ensures that our players when they have the ball are isolated. It is a doomed team tactic. It would only have a chance to succeed in a match between "Dumb and Dumber".

    There is a maxim in courts that juries can infer that a person intends the natural and expected consequeces of their actions. No rational coach would inherit a championship team and then change its highly successful legendary culture. 

    The question in my mind is whether USSF is trying to sabotage the WNT chances at the gold medal so that there won't be any victory tour while the equal pay case is on appeal and the MNT failed to qualify for the Olympics, yet again. 

    There is no doubt in my mind that this is not the doing of the new coach. He doesn't have the authority to change the style of play, much less the culture of the team. That comes from Earnie Stewart.

  4. Peter Bechtold replied, July 27, 2021 at 12:55 p.m.

    Bob Ash.: Interesting observations, thx. My own analysis goes back much further: The USWNT used to play good football/futbol/fussball in the early years when Mia Hamm was dribbling+scoring, Michelle Akers was dominating the field and Julie Foudie was keeping everything together. In more recent times the influence of English coaches brought over to some important HSs,Colleges etc produced a style emphasizing physicality over pure skill. No room for a female Messi there(just as he would not have been invited to an English "youth academy). I watched quite a bit of girls HS soccer and Womens'College in person; not much fun unless you only care about WIN, Baby WIN (Hi,Santi 1234(:-). In 2019 WC our WNT did not outplay anyone from the QF in; they overpowered their opposition. This works against minnows even now, but will have been overtaken soon. Notice how little playing time our stars got with Chelsea, Tott., MU, MC in the English Women's League this past Spring. They are not as good as advertised.

  5. R2 Dad, July 27, 2021 at 10:40 a.m.

    Alarm bells, yet, USSF?

  6. R2 Dad, July 27, 2021 at 11:18 a.m.

    Macrio didn't dress for this match? Is she out injured, or back to club?

  7. R2 Dad replied, July 27, 2021 at 2:40 p.m.

    Watching highlights, Press decision-making was poor. Terrible challenge at 44 minute mark by Dunn/Carpenter--how is there no card(s) there? Poor finishing; forgot any progress made in the run-up to the Olympics.

  8. Jeanine Valadez, July 27, 2021 at 11:51 a.m.

    The wisdom of the play-4-a-tie plan will be proven or disproven in the playoffs. 

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, July 28, 2021 at 8:51 a.m.

    They really should have played for "A Loss" by 1 goal.... Finish 3rd; Play Great Britain instead of Holland. At THAT Point, it would have been the Smarter thing.

  10. Wayne Norris, July 27, 2021 at 1:15 p.m.

    Offside call technically correct. For starters she was....if ever so slightly. Secondly, once called on field it needs to be clear and obvious she was onside. I hate the millimeter lines but even without you could not overturn.

    This team has been beating teams using the "press" which works against weak teams and sometimes against better teams if you have young quick frontline players. Now with the older squad the press gets picked apart.

    Are they old because no one had guts to drop the entitled crew or is the pipeline really that weak.

    Either way the world is catching up quickly!

  11. Greg Gould, July 27, 2021 at 3 p.m.

    Blaming Earnie Stewart is quite a reach. The other side of the "we won twice with these same players" argument, and far more likely outcome, is that they are too old and/or have lost their fight/hunger (Germany 2018/France 2021). It doesn't take long to grow overconfident or just grow stale. In the past it didn't matter but now does. And saying that the USSF wants them to fail in order sabotage the court case is several bridges too far for me.  In the end it comes down to the players on the field. And I don't see a Gold Medal US team playing in these games.

    Having said that we've seen them rally in the knock-out stages before so I'm not ready to write them off yet.

    But they sure look uninspired. So many unforced errors - poor passing, poor finishing, panic on defense, booting the ball downfield to no one? Those are the traits of a weak team or one lacking in confidence. Not the USWNT we're all familiar with!

  12. R2 Dad, July 27, 2021 at 7:20 p.m.

    I remember Jill Ellis and the 2015 team,which wasn't really ticking over at the start of the tournament but then got better as they moved into the KO stages. This isn't that. 
    This current side is a team that, for whatever reason(s), isn't playing well. Isn't passing, isn't finishing, like they normally can. When they're struggling to execute the basics, this requires urgent surgery to rectify. But I don't see Vlatko able to do this proactively. His substitutions are late and not very effective. Whatever secret sauce it takes to settle the team, it has not been discovered. Is the problem jet lag, or weather, or food, or sleep? Old age? Bad strategy/formation? Has he gameplayed backup formations and personnel to try and rediscover the team's mojo? We shall see. I don't know who the next team they will face is, but everyone left looks like they have a shot at beating us. And Sweden has already proven they are the team to beat. Let's see if Vlatko can pull a rabbit out of his hat.

  13. frank schoon, July 28, 2021 at 3:46 a.m.

    Guys, I just looked at the stats, for I didn't see the game. I'm saying we played Australia .....WHO??????
    We lost against Sweden , beat NZ ,probably one the weakest teams, and tied ' WHO', again.
    I got a feeling other teams are beginning to get better, although women's soccer is still a sport where you will find competitors coming into soccer who are still in the baby shoes stage. 

    I'm not surprised what is happening to our women's   soccer for I've been a critic of it ever since I can remember.  I never was caught up in this simple euphoria when we beating everybody, kicking butt, thinking how good we were. There were even comparisons to our men's teams ,questioning why weren't they as good as the women, comparatively.

    Well, the answer is that the women never played good soccer and it is beginning to show , now that some of our competitors are beginning to improve.  What surprises me that so many actually think the women are playing good soccer, ( not that the men aren't any better)when in fact they aren't. But no matter how bad the soccer is , there is always a winner. If you look closer at the details of the level and quality of soccer the women's pretty bad.  As one former player of Ajax stated ,it is comparable to 5th division men's amateur ball in Holland as he was refering to the Women's Dutch National Team, during the last women's WC.

    The overal problem I see is in development of the women/girls....we are producing stiffs, like the men. It is refreshing to actually at times watch Heath do something technical with the ball rarely seen by other women, idem ditto, Horan.  Why don't we ever see any technical wizardry from the girls or from the men because it comes right back to development and the coaches/trainers who themselves lack technical creativity......IT IS ALL TOO PROGRAMMED, TOO LAPTOP!!!!!!!


  14. Wayne Norris replied, July 28, 2021 at 7:09 a.m.

    Women's soccer top path of development has been NCAA soccer which is the same path that has held back men's soccer development for decades.

    So women players in US are far behind men tactically / technically or somehow college soccer is amazingly more advanced on women's side.

    internatinally it is changing as big men's clubs are embracing (and funding) women's professional teams but in US it is still college. Unfortunately the NWSL are mostly independent teams that cannot afford to develop young players in pro environment....

    Future could be tough for USWNT...

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, July 28, 2021 at 12:06 p.m.

    Agreed, Frank, but for one point. It is probably just sematics, but I think the USWNT has been playing "good" soccer compared to the other countries. To the extent that generally speaking the other countries try to play like the USWNT.

    Just sematics, however, because in the abstract they don't play good soccer. No one does yet. They have always been dependent on exploiting physical superiority, rather than playing a more technical style. Last world cup I was pretty excited because Spain was trying to play good soccer. They weren't successful yet, but they at least on the right path.

    Unfortunately the conventional view of the game here is still an old school English long ball style. Most people here don't appreciate any other style of play. So it is no wonder that our pay to play system doesn't develop players with the tactical and technical abilities needed for positional play.

    Equally unfortunate, USSF has taken over control of both doctrine and coaching development. They have also made USSF sanctioned clubs the exclusive pipeline for its players. This greatly reduces the effectiveness of player development, especially for women.

    I think your point about the US developing "stiff" players is important. Stiff both technically and tactically too. I don't think the US problem is unique. In most places the FA is hidebound. Successful development and good soccer exist despite the FA rather than because of the FA.  

  16. frank schoon replied, July 28, 2021 at 12:41 p.m.

    Bob, I agree other countries try to play like the USWNT ,who wouldn't for they are winners, they are on top of the food chain.....just like dinosaurs were at one time.....Like you say, our woman's team exploited physical superiorty not superior technical  quality of soccer. Spain definitely tried ....The one thing all women have in all countries is the lack of pick up soccer by women....Have you ever seen a pick up game by women or girls....This is one of the reasons we don't see wizardry in women/girls soccer, no great individualism on the ball.....

  17. Philip Carragher, July 28, 2021 at 10:22 a.m.

    Is it the fact that college soccer is the goal for female soccer players to aspire to or is it that their preparation prior to college is inadequate? Whether it's girls or boys, if you're a high school coach awaiting the new crop of players to show up for tryouts, unless there is something truly unusual happening in the travel soccer arena that feeds your school, you will inherit players who don't know how to play. Sure, they know how to run and kick and perform a much more physical and skillful game than when they were 1st graders playing "bunch ball" (or whatever term fits for the chaotic (but cute) play at that level), but most of these kids have recently graduated from travel teams after families have committed enormous resources to that club to help their kid succeed at the next level; these players have some bells and whistles that appear worthy of that investment, but, in almost every case, they still don't know how to play the game. We have a nation of parents that still don't know what good soccer looks like and travel teams continue to take advantage of that. How can the general public learn what good soccer is when our top tier teams that they watch (and believe in) don't play good soccer?

  18. Wayne Norris, July 28, 2021 at 12:03 p.m.

    Agreed and since the top female players unfortunately develop in NCAA environment their development stalls behind the top male players who are placed in professional environment at 15-16 years old.

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, July 28, 2021 at 12:24 p.m.

    Wayne, that sounds good but I don't think it is reality. 

    1. College soccer has always been at the top of the amateur game in the US. Recently there has been some professional clubs, but the opportunities are not widespread. The NWSL also doesn't allow players under 18. (I suspect that is going to change.)

    2. The best WNT players have historically started playing for the Senior team while still in high school.

    Put these together and College soccer is a Plan B for want to be international. Pay-to-play is Plan C for want to be pros. There is talk about NCAA allowing full year programs and allowing college athletes to play club too. So the pathways may change. 

  20. Wayne Norris, July 28, 2021 at 1:18 p.m.


    Are you suggesting the women's NCAA development path is as sophisticated as the men's MLS / Overseas path?

    More importantly is I don't see a change on women's side anytime soon due to lack of investment in NWSL while top European women have Lyon, Chelsea, etc that are wealthy clubs that can fund women's development in a professional environment.

    If we look at USWNT roster what % developed in college vs men?

    I bet USWNT is 100% (or close) while first choice men less than 50%.

    My point is USWNT "college developed" teams may get overtaken very quickly by European "professsonal developed" players unless something changes quickly here in US.

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, July 28, 2021 at 5:09 p.m.

    Wayne, sophisticated? Sophisticated is not a word I would use to describe development in the US. College soccer has been around a lot longer than the MLS youth teams. The sheer numbers of college players dwarf the numbers of MLS youth players.

    The real problem on the "MLS/overseas" path is that we are just getting started with MLS youth development, it is still very limited in scope, and the only international transfers before age 18 are those with dual passports. We seem to have quite a few "MLS/overseas" players playing for other nations, so I consider the MLS program to be in its infancy.

    Right now the NWSL to Europe path is stronger than for the men. The problem is that Europe doesn't have better development opportunities to offer. In some respects the men face the same issues. The potential for development depends on the club and who the coach is. There is still the ban on international transfers before age 18. Both men and women overseas face the same problems with getting playing time. Clubs are going to favor domestic players. So US players have to be clearly better choices to get a starting role. It doesn't do much good for men or women to sign a contract with a great club and ride the bench. And for men--to get loaned to a 2nd or 3rd division club maybe not even in the same country.

    I respect only 2 MLS youth programs. That is not a lot. 

  22. Wayne Norris replied, July 28, 2021 at 6:04 p.m.

    Bob, if you are suggesting that going to college at 18 is a better pro development path than signing a professional deal with MLS or Europe than I suggest we respectfully disagree!!

  23. Bob Ashpole replied, July 28, 2021 at 6:50 p.m.

    Wayne, you are conflating the MLS path with the NSWL path. The freshman year of college is not a bad choice for either men or women. That is because Freshmen year, people are playing against largely older more experience players. After the Freshman year, the development value falls off.

    The development opportunity fo Europe for men, as I said before, depends on the club and the coach. Even signing with a dream club doesn't help if they loan the player out to a lower division club or he gets no playing time. MLS is better than college if he actually gets playing time. The actual development opportunity is going to vary from club to club and coach by coach.

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