Commentary

USA-Canada Women's Olympics Semifinal Player Ratings

USA-CANADA EXPRESS:
Aug. 2 in Kashima, Japan
USA 0 Canada 1. Goals: Fleming pen. 75.

* * * * * * * * * *

Canada, despite its unimpressive offense, knocked the USA out of gold-medal contention with a 1-0 semifinal win. Besides the goal that came on a 75th-minute penalty kick, the Canadians had one shot on target, from long-range, straight to the goalkeeper.

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

GOALKEEPER

Alyssa Naeher's first test came in the 20th minute when she landed awkwardly after going up for a cross, which she caught, then bobbled while nudged by Julie Ertz. After five minutes of treatment on her leg, Naeher played for another five minutes before being replaced.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

nr
Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 77/0 (33)

DEFENDERS

Becky Sauerbrunn cleanly tackled Nichelle Prince the first time -- one of the few times -- a Canadian charged into the U.S. penalty area. She and Tierna Davidson kept the middle safe from Canadians, although the U.S. had a propensity to give up corner kicks and throw-ins. Davidson's decent performance was marred by the penalty kick foul. Perhaps unaware of how close (and surprised how quickly) Deanne Rose was on her back, Davidson whacked the Canadian's leg while attempting to clear the ball. However unlucky it may have been, the replays VAR watched clearly showed the contact that it judged careless. The Canadians' wing play didn't present much of a challenge for Crystal Dunn and Kelley O’Hara, who was yellow-carded for a reckless tackle when she moved into the middle and failed to stop a counterattack. The outside backs attacked often, but imprecisely, in the second half after a conservative first half. Dunn smacking a ball into Tobin Heath's back while attempting a cross was indicative of how out of sync the USA played for much of the game. Dunn won corner kicks for the USA, but the Canadians had few problems defending them.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

4
Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit) 144/2 (32)

4
Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 38/1 (22)

6
Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 192/0 (36)

4
Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 121/24 (29)

MIDFIELDERS

In the first half, Rose Lavelle, Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan were usually too far from each other to sustain possession in midfield or create rhythm for the USA. They improved in the second half, but remained inconsistent. Lavelle seemed to find her grove -- as in her 56th-minute foray -- but late in game, while the USA fought for the equalizer, she took a long-range shot that reached the keeper at slow speed and over-hit a pass to the frontline that should have created a last-gasp shot. Ertz similarly mis-timed a pass in the 88th minute. Against the lowest-scoring team still alive -- Canada managed four goals in four games coming into the semifinal -- the U.S. midfield should have been able to attack much more effectively while handling defensive duties.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

5
Rose Lavelle (OL Reign) 61/15 (26)

4 
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 115/20 (29)

4
Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 103/23 (27)

FORWARDS

It was a bad sign when Alex Morgan couldn't outrun central defender Vanessa Gilles, who stole ball easily with a toe-poke when their race from the center line ended at the edge of the penalty area. Morgan's two shots were off-target headers. One of Tobin Heath's shots went out for a throw-in. Another went straight to the goalkeeper, in first-half stoppage time. The duo's performance didn't surprise considering their previous efforts at these Olympics, but Lynn Williams' game dipped severely after her superb quarterfinal outing. All three were subbed after 60 minutes.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

3
Tobin Heath (Unattached) 176/35 (33)

3
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 185/111 (32)

3
Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage) 40/12 (28)

SUBSTITUTES

Before Adrianna Franch had a chance to make a save, she faced the penalty kick by Fleming. Franch flew as far as possible but Fleming's shot kissed the inside of the post and hit the net. Megan Rapinoe's cross-field pass upon arriving indicated sharpness not evident in her last outing, but her miscues outnumbered her good plays, which included the cross that Carli Lloyd headed onto the top of the crossbar. Lloyd lost the ball with her early touches and clashed into a defender while mis-timing a cross. Christen Press' highlight came when she took a Lavelle pass and glided past Desiree Scott -- only to whack the ball into the next defender. She shot straight to the keeper on another long-range attempt. Whether it was the frontline starters or their replacements, a reliance on hopeful crosses and long-range shots, instead of dribbling past defenders to create better opportunities, helped doom the USA's gold-medal hopes.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

5
Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns) 7/0 (30)

4
Carli Lloyd (Gotham FC) 311/126 (39)

4
Christen Press (Unattached) 154/64 (32)

4
Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign) 184/59 (36)

4
Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage) 82/24 (28)

NOTABLE: Three of the final four teams in the 12-team, three-group tournament came out of Group G: USA, Sweden and Australia. Canada advanced with a second-place finish in Group E, tying Japan (1-1) and Great Britain (1-1) and beating Chile (2-1). The Canadians beat Brazil in the quarterfinals in a shootout after a scoreless tie. 

Aug. 2 in Kashima, Japan
USA 0 Canada 1. Goals: Fleming pen. 75.
USA -- Naeher (Franch, 30); O'Hara (S.Mewis, 81), Sauerbrunn, Davidson, Dunn; Lavelle, Ertz, Horan; Heath (Rapinoe, 60), Morgan (Lloyd, 60), Williams (Press, 60).
Canada -- Labbe; Lawrence, Gilles, Buchanan, Chapman; Fleming, Scott, Quinn (Grosso, 60); Beckie, Sinclair (Huitema, 87), Prince (Rose, 60, Leon, 90).
Yellow cards: USA -- O'Hara 32. Canada -- none. Red cards: none.
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine)
Att.: behind closed doors.

Stats:
USA/Canada
Shots: 17/5
Shots on target: 6/2
Saves: 1/6
Corner Kicks: 12/5
Fouls: 8/6
Offside: 1/0
Possession: 56%/44%

19 comments about "USA-Canada Women's Olympics Semifinal Player Ratings".
  1. Wayne Norris, August 2, 2021 at 8:36 a.m.

    Accurate

  2. Scott Chaney, August 2, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.

    Let's be honest. This team is too old and too slow. Rapinoe, Lloyd, Morgan, need to go. The men's team got too old and too slow just a few short years back and look at them now. The women's team is EXACTLY there now.
    Coach, start now, get younger and faster. Time for many changes on this roster. 

  3. Chris Wasdyke replied, August 2, 2021 at 9:41 a.m.

    What's really worrying is the youth women haven't been doing well in international tournaments of late.  It's very possible the USWNT could be in for a long dry spell.  That's why I felt it was even more important to start getting some of the talented youngsters a go in this tournament.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, August 2, 2021 at 4:10 p.m.

    Thank God It's Over... It was like Watching some Greek Tragedy... Sad to see so Many "Heroes" go Out as LOSERS...  I Blame the "Gods" of USSF, and Pay-to-Play Youth Coaches.... Giving Players Year-Around Contracts to Play, meant Complacency by Players and Coaches(No Promotion/Relegation Allowed)... Youth Coaches that have "Beaten" the Individual Abilities out of our Younger Players... There is NO Way that so Many Players on a National Team should be so Old.( But I Fear a 10 year Gap between Older Players and New Crop)(Just like the Men).... We will have to Go Younger and get the Best Players into Pro Acadamies and Overseas Teams to By-Pass current Issues(Just Like the Men Have Done)

  5. John Richardson, August 2, 2021 at 10:19 a.m.

    Lossing with the new regime would have been better than loosing with the old regime 

  6. Wayne Norris replied, August 2, 2021 at 11:06 a.m.

    I think the losing has been better with Old Regime......easier to get them out!

  7. Hal Barnes replied, August 2, 2021 at 1:16 p.m.

    Exactly.  I saw this coming. Where was Sophia Smith when we needed her?  You have to start including younger players. The mem found that out the hard way. 

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, August 2, 2021 at 5:10 p.m.

    John, Are there Younger Players.???... Is The Question.???

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, August 2, 2021 at 5:22 p.m.

    Hal.... I haven't really watched much of the NWSL ... Could you(Or Anyone Else) Give us a List of "Up and Coming " players to Watch.???... Gracias, Santi
    p.s.(i'm being a little bit Sarcastic, because I dòn't think THEY are Out there.???...I hope you Prove me wrong)

  10. John Sabala, August 2, 2021 at 10:47 a.m.

      Once again, Andovnoski is getting out coached and plays incorrect tactics.  The women can never get into any rhythm with the intent of trying to play long ball and giving up possession in the midfield since Lavelle and Horan are far too wide. This was like watching the Sweden game all over again. There is no one to play to between the lines to break the midfield line.  Just completely ludicrous.  First touches for the players are terrible, because of the lack of any touches by the midfield and front line.  Heath, again is too slow and brings no threat to the backline.  No shots on goal in the first half, the Canadian defense is not that great.  It took to the 65th minute to get a shot on goal. Morgan just does not have the holding play ability Lloyd possesses (despite her age).  Press should have started as she has created threats whenever she has been on the pitch the entire tournament.  This is just a lack of purpose on the pitch with no tactical plan visible to see. First loss in 20 years to Canada.  Andovnoski is setting all the wrong records.  He needs to go now and make a change before the World Cup cycle begins. I can’t remember our woman’s team not connecting passes to build play like this tournament over the last 5 or 6 years.  In every match except New Zealand we lost the midfield battle, which has always been our strength. Just not good enough with the best talent pool in the tournament.  Having coached for decades, teams wear the attitude of the coach on the field, and this is at all level of sports…..lack of leadership. Time to overhaul the majority of the squad and coaching staff.

  11. R2 Dad, August 2, 2021 at 11:21 a.m.

    Now what, USSF? Don't go bury your heads in the sand now. You want to keep Vlatko, I'll need a big apology about how he wanted to go young but YOU wanted to keep with the old. Macario didn't even dress. Whose bad idea was that, once you needed some juice in attack?

  12. Wayne Norris replied, August 2, 2021 at 11:32 a.m.

    Players on this team had way too much power. Who was going to get in the way of the Rapinoe / Morgan (etc) block to force change? It would have been career ending!!

    Now it will be much easier....

  13. John Sabala replied, August 2, 2021 at 11:39 a.m.

    I concur on a couple of points. How do you play Heath in so many games when out for so long. You can't play into shape in the Olympics?!?!?  Macario would have been a great addition as she had not played at all and was the most fresh player.  Same with K. Mewis as well.  The tactics are the biggest problem as Canada set up in a 4-2-1-2-1 creating the diamond in the midfield which helped them dominate that area for most of the game.  There was no US presence in the center of the pitch to break pressure and attack.  Lavelle and Horan stayed wide the whole game.  How can the coach not see this and make an in game adjustment to create some possession!!  The tactics have nothing to do with the age of the players.  We just played long ball......and hoped for some miracle from our front line.

  14. R2 Dad replied, August 2, 2021 at 12:33 p.m.

    The lack of firepower from older legs in the late stages of tournaments happens regularly, but programs always seem to think "It's different this time" because they've gotten that far using the same personnel/formations/tactics. Rinse. Repeat. You've got to have a top program to fight human nature and know when to go to the mat for your principles. Assuming one HAS principles.

  15. Kent James, August 2, 2021 at 12:40 p.m.

    While it is clear that the US needs younger players to be able to contend for the WC, this team did not lose because they were old.  They got unlucky; Canada barely got into the US penalty area all game, and are awarded a PK on the lamest of pretenses.  I like VAR, but clear and obvious error?  I don't think so.  Nobody on the field thought it was a PK when it happened.  The Canadian player hits Davidson's leg from behind to get her leg between Davidson's foot and the ball.  If anything, it should have been a foul on the Canadian player (though letting it go would have been the most obvious thing to do).


    The US outplayed Canada for most of the game. We created chances, but had trouble finishing.  The Canadians couldn't create chances, and it wasn't because they weren't trying.   I don't know enough about the younger players who might replace these aging veterans to say whether they should have been playing, but though the US could've played better, they did play well enough to win.  Sometimes that's not enough.  

  16. beautiful game replied, August 2, 2021 at 2:57 p.m.

    VAR fails again...watched the PK incident multiple times and it was the Canadian player that wast he aggressor.

  17. Bob Ashpole, August 2, 2021 at 1:14 p.m.

    I am tired of all the negative criticism. The US lost. It happens. Get over it.

  18. John Soares, August 2, 2021 at 2:08 p.m.

    Chris,  agree... and not so much. :)
    We will be replacing 3, 4 players immediately  not the whole team.
    There are certainly 4, 6 players ready to step up
    Many more have shown promise. I believe the USWNT will be fine 
    If not dominant

  19. Sam Bellin, August 2, 2021 at 9:03 p.m.

    The US was a little unlucky to lose this game because Canada really did very little with the ball, but I thought we were pretty fortunate to beat the Netherlands who outplayed us, so maybe it evened out?
    The US relied on long and often aimless passes to an aging front line the entire tournament.  That's never a winning strategy.
    Lastly, Ertz deserved a rating of at least 7 in this game and every game IMO.  Her consistently strong play in the middle was frequently the only thing holding this team together.

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