Commentary

USA-Australia Women's Olympics Bronze Medal Game Player Ratings

USA-AUSTRALIA EXPRESS:
Aug. 5 in Kashima, Japan
USA 4 Australia 3. Goals: Rapinoe 8, 21, Lloyd 45+1, 51; Kerr 17, Foord 54, Gielnik 90.

* * * * * * * * * *


Veteran forwards Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, scoreless in the first five Olympic matches, each scored twice in the 4-3 win that earned the USA the bronze medal.

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

GOALKEEPER

Sam Kerr scored Australia's first goal with a crisp shot that Adrianna Franch got her arm on but failed to block, and Franch was beaten from 25 yards by Emily Gielnik.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

4
Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns) 7/0 (30)

DEFENDERS

Tierna Davidson stifled an early Australia counterattack but her intercepted pass through the middle led to Australia's first goal. Her central partner Becky Sauerbrunn was the only backline member to go flawless during the game. After left back Crystal Dunn set up the Christen Press shot that forced the corner kick for the USA's first goal, her offensive contributions were limited and in the 54th minute she headed the ball into the middle for Kyah Simon to assist on Caitlin Foord's goal. Right back Kelley O’Hara lost the ball in midfield, leading to Australia's late third goal.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

4
Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit) 145/2 (32)

4
Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 39/1 (22)

6
Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 193/0 (36)

4
Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 122/24 (29)

MIDFIELDERS

Lindsey Horan forged through a tackle and set up Carli Lloyd's first goal and provided Lloyd a prime chance to get the hat trick (shot saved by keeper Teagan Micah). Horan, who blocked a shot in stoppage time to help preserve the lead, Julie Ertz and Sam Mewis prevented the Australian midfield from providing significant service to the frontline.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

5
Sam Mewis (North Carolina Courage) 83/24 (28)

6 
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) 116/20 (29)

7
Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) 103/23 (27)

FORWARDS

Two of Christen Press' shots forced saves. The first for a corner kick from which Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring with a Gol Olimpico. Rapinoe made the most of a gift clearance from Alanna Kennedy with a sharp volley to put the USA back in the lead for good at 2-1. Carli Lloyd scored her first with a powerful half-volley and nutmegged Micah for her second goal.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

5
Christen Press (Unattached) 155/64 (32)

8
Carli Lloyd (Gotham FC) 312/128 (39)

8
Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign) 185/61 (36)

SUBSTITUTES

Alex Morgan failed to beat Micah one-on-one in the 87th minute. The U.S. attack caused fewer problems for Australia after Tobin Heath and Rose Lavelle came on in the 61st minute.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

4
Tobin Heath (Unattached) 177/35 (33)

4
Rose Lavelle (OL Reign) 61/15 (26)

4
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) 186/111 (32)

nr
Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit) 58/0 (27)

TRIVIA: Scoring straight from a corner kick -- as Megan Rapinoe did to give the USA a 1-0 lead -- was dubbed a "gol olimpico" when Uruguay, fresh off winning the 1924 Olympic gold medal, lost a friendly to Argentina thanks to Cesareo Onzari's strike in such manner.

Aug. 5 in Kashima, Japan
USA 4 Australia 3. Goals: Rapinoe 8, 21, Lloyd 45+1, 51; Kerr 17, Foord 54, Gielnik 90.
USA -- Franch; O'Hara, Sauerbrunn, Davidson, Dunn; S.Mewis (Lavelle, 61), Ertz, Horan; Press (Sonnett, 85), Lloyd (Morgan, 81), Rapinoe (Heath, 61).
Australia -- Micah; Polkinghorne (Gielnik 73), Kennedy, Catley; Raso (Nevin, 67), van Egmond, Logarzo (Cooney-Cross, 67), Yallop (Brock, 88); Simon (Fowler, 67), Kerr, Foord.
Yellow cards: USA -- none. Australia -- none. Red cards: none.
Referee: Laura Fortunato (Argentina)
Att.: behind closed doors.

Stats:
USA/Australia
Shots: 19/13
Shots on target: 9/4
Saves: 1/5
Corner Kicks: 3/4
Fouls: 11/8
Offside: 1/1
Possession: 48%/52%

36 comments about "USA-Australia Women's Olympics Bronze Medal Game Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, August 5, 2021 at 7:15 a.m.

    Replacing Rapinoe and Lloyd is going to be very difficult if not impossible. 

  2. John Sabala replied, August 5, 2021 at 8:51 a.m.

      Bob, I know we don't seem to agree much. I concur 100% with your assessment.  These two were players you see once in a generation.  I think Press with more playing time will become our biggest threat to score.  Looking at her numbers she is just so impressive.  Finishing, passing and defending.  An all around fantastic player.

  3. R2 Dad replied, August 5, 2021 at 10:17 a.m.

    And this is where I pull out Peter Brand/Moneyball. We don't need to replace Rapinoe and Lloyd, we need to replace 4 goals over 6 games, because that's the production of those 2 over the course of the tournament. Yes, it's more complicated than that because of creativity and assists, but that's the gist of it.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, August 5, 2021 at 2:07 p.m.

    Moneyball was a mathematical approach to LEAGUE play in a 162 game season. In other words it applied probability theory to a universe of 162 games. It does not apply to the national team situation where most group play is relatively very short, not year long. In other words single digit universes. Or is single elimination and the universe is one game.

  5. Victor Mathseon replied, August 5, 2021 at 2:10 p.m.

    While I agree with you completely, I would also point out that replacing Michelle Akers was also impossible. And Mia Hamm. And Kristine Lilly. And Abby Wambach. And Tiffany Milbrett. And so on. And yet they were replaced by the fantastic Lloyd, Rapino, and Morgan. Such is always the nature of sports. I have enjoyed watching all of these great players and look forward to the next stars (honestly having no idea who those players will be).

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, August 5, 2021 at 2:37 p.m.

    Victor, Ellis didn't try to replace Abby in 2015. Target forward is a crutch used to cover a lack of midfield talent on a team. Ellis changed the style of play which made target forwards obsolete. In other words the style of play evolved beyond the need for a target forward.

    This progress in 2015 is a big part of why I say that Ellis moved the team about 75% of the way to positional play while she was in charge. By the 2015 cup finals, the team actually played better when Abby was not on the field. Now we have a system suited for a Dennis Bergkamp at forward rather than the classic English no. 9 of the past. 
     

  7. R2 Dad replied, August 5, 2021 at 3:15 p.m.

    Bob, actual baseball moneyball works because baseball is a very statistic-friendly sport whereas soccer is not, despite many efforts to further quantify performance. But my point is that the team needs the goals, not the players. Those goals will come from somewhere. I would just hope we don't default back to searching for a new #9 target(wo)man to play hold-up because longballs are still the preferred tactic of the USWNT coach.

  8. John Sabala, August 5, 2021 at 8:49 a.m.

      This was the form everyone thought we would see from the USWNT at the Olympics.  The wake up came too late in the tournament.  High pressing, connecting quicker passes in the midfield and changing the point of attack to break the defensive lines.  Why did we wait until the last match the turn the team loose?  It was good to see them go out with a win, but as I watched the game, I just kept asking why now and not earlier? 

    Lloyd showed she is still an elite player at 39 and could play longer if she wished. You don't need break away speed like Morgan to be a central striker.  Undestandable after so many years committed to USWNT to hang up the cleats to pursue a personal life.

    The backline continued to play poorly with the exception of Saurbrunn.  It is time to move Dunn back to her natural position as a forward.  Our best defending talents are with centerbacks so the US should consider moving to a back 3 formation.  There is a ton of talent in the midfield to make this kind of change. WIth a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2.  The hardest spot to fill will be a true #9 that can hold up play and be a constant threat to the two centerbacks of the defending line.  We must move away from the long ball mentality that our forwards will just outrun everyone to the ball.  This will not work well against quality opponents.  The end of an era for USWNT.  

  9. Michael Saunders replied, August 5, 2021 at 10:41 a.m.

    R2 Dad .... Even Peter Brand would recognize the false logic used in your comment.  Sure isolated in terms of this Olympic Tournament those are the numbers; but Bob's comment referred to their generational contributions..... 


    That said John Sabala's analysis provides a solution to which I agree wholeheartedly, particularly finding that pure striker, #9.  Finally, Vlatko's mandate will be difficult.  Besides moving the team away from its proclivity to use the long ball, he needs to replenish the roster as well.


     

  10. Wayne Norris replied, August 5, 2021 at 11:19 a.m.

    I believe the difference in this game vs rest of Olympics is Australia defense played like the teams USWNT prepared against.

    Three absolutely gifted goals (Lloyd's 1st was excellent).

    1. Olympico - GK howler
    2. Rapinoe's volley - Great finish! Horror gifted  clearance....
    3. Lloyd - great goal
    4. Lloyd - defender had position and butchers a headed pass to GK. Credit Lloyd for pressure but awful defending

    This game basically highlights the Olympics for this team. When required to create great chances they struggled unless provided assistance from opposing team.
     
    In this case Australia cooperated.


  11. Bob Ashpole replied, August 5, 2021 at 2:22 p.m.

    I see the situation differently. It is coaching 101. You train a team to peak, but also train to peak at the right time. In this case you want the team to peak when it enters the knockout stage. Ellis was an absolute master at this very difficult aspect of coaching.

    Playing defensive soccer for the tie in the third group match absolutely killed the team's momentum right before it should have begun to peak. Whoever dictated that strategy was focused just on the third game and sacrificed the needs of the overall competition.

    So the team ended up peaking much too late. Big time coaching mistake. The thing is, comparing anyone to Jill Ellis is comparing them against the gold standard of international coaching. Moreover we don't know who decided to have the team play defensive soccer in the third match. This was so uncharacteristic of the USWNT, that Vlatko may have been ordered to play defensive soccer.

  12. Kevin Leahy, August 5, 2021 at 12:36 p.m.

    I will miss Lloyd. She is one of the biggest clutch players ever. They must move on from these older players and now. If Macrio can play for Lyon she, can play for the US. Let us find out now who can step up & who can't. I congratulate these women for earning the Bronze. They showed their grit. Now is the time to get more technical. The team needs to be able to make adjustments to how there opponent is playing. Not a fan of being married to the 4-3-3.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, August 5, 2021 at 5:45 p.m.

    433 is just a tool to help organize the players on the field. It isn't spots on the field. Players may line up like that before kickoff and maybe not even then.

    I can organize a 433 to play like any other "formation" you can name. No matter what "formation" a team plays, for every tactical situation there is one ideal shape in response. Players should respond to the circumstances regardless of what "formation" they are in. Only the most amateurish teams treat the "formation" as a restriction on player movement.

  14. Santiago 1314 replied, August 6, 2021 at 4:37 p.m.

    She's Really a Great Person... Took the Extra Time to Sign my Daughters Booble Head and Took her Camera to Snap some "Selfies" with her, in a Packed Stadium... Thanks Carli.. Praying,  you and Hubby have MANY wonderful Kids in the Future.!!! 

  15. John Sabala replied, August 10, 2021 at 2 a.m.

      Based on the talent that is available and what Bob states, I think the best formation for the women to move towards is the same one Tuchel used at Chelsea this last season. Chelsea rebounded after January and of course winning the the CL with it.  A 3-4-2-1.  In this formation there is no true #9 striker as the front three are completely interchangable based on the flow of play.  The same goes for the midfield where the wing backs and central midfielders can change spots during defensive and offensive movements. I don't think we will ever see this though despite it being a good way to form our player group for success.  By the way when Tuchel coached at PSG he played a 4-3-3. Agree one size does not fit all.  Need to build the style of play around the talent.

  16. Santiago 1314, August 5, 2021 at 2:20 p.m.

    Crickets.....ZZZzzzz....

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, August 5, 2021 at 2:45 p.m.

    There are nations that would treat bronze medal winners as national heros rather than as abject failures. Like Australia for instance. There are high expectations, and then there are unreasonable expectations. This is the time to chill a little. There is plenty of time to get your game face back later. Right now its time to kick back and enjoy your beverage of choice.

  18. frank schoon replied, August 5, 2021 at 2:53 p.m.

    Bob, that's not you measure success. That's like saying Usaine Bolt came in third and should be happy with Bronze...Yeah, right Bob....You have to take into the history of both teams and all I can say congratulations to what Australia has accomplished

  19. Santiago 1314 replied, August 6, 2021 at 4:32 p.m.

    Gin/Tonic ... Keeps the WuFlu away.!!! (oh God, I'll probably get Cancelled for Spreading "Fake News"... Bottoms Up.!!!)

  20. Mark Landefeld, August 5, 2021 at 2:24 p.m.

    I can't see Lloyd or Morgan effective for 90 mins in 2023, so I tend to think the issue is USWNT moving away from a "9-centric" style.  That's not an unfamiliar challenge around the world.  If Williams, Press, Smith, Lavelle and Mercario are the keys to attacking the goal in the future, the style will need to move towards tikka-takka.

  21. frank schoon replied, August 5, 2021 at 2:56 p.m.

    Mark ,throwing around terms like Tikki-Takka is a little too simplistic. I have not seen any other team play Tikki-takka like Barca did. And to apply that to the USWNT, is a farfetched dream considering their technical capabilities

  22. R2 Dad replied, August 5, 2021 at 3:30 p.m.

    Frank, remember that Pep did wonders for Bayern's technical chops by bringing that Barca training to Munich. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTJYFlOzu7k This is like the secret sauce for youth development, but most coaches can't be bothered because they're too busy "winning". Why is Brian Keliban a successful youth coach? In part, he implements a hybrid Spanish/South American training model instead of the crummy British kickball I still see in youth soccer.

  23. frank schoon replied, August 5, 2021 at 4:35 p.m.

    R2, true,but don't forget, before Guardiola came, there was van Gaal, who just nominated as the coach for the dutch team. Bayern ,all along had been influenced by Guardiola style soccer since both vG have been influenced by dutch soccer. Not too mention look at Bayern's front line ,all NON GERMAN, a Frenchman, a Pole, and a Dutchman, Robben and not too mention some other foreigners. Lets face it ,Bayern has the top players to work with...

    Good heavens R2 ,are they still implementing British kickball in youth soccer?...I thought the coaches ,all licensed these days, would know better.

    I don't know that much or anything about Brian Keliban. You know much more about the goings on than I do. As far I'm concerned is that coaching/developing youth players should be in a manner that they know where the ball should go before receiving, position in a way best before  receiving the ball, and know how to handle oneself with the ball in case of pressure , accurate passing long and short and having some soccer know-how. This is about 90% with the rest falling in place. For the rest ,I don't care if they copy how Martians play.

  24. Bob Ashpole replied, August 5, 2021 at 5:36 p.m.

    Frank, I assume that you were being sarcastic about the license and kickball comment.

    We don't have to improve the play of everybody in the country in order to develop the talent we need for our national team programs. All we need is 2 or 3 professional clubs with a culture of positional play and an appropriate youth development program.

    The Dutch, Germany and Spain all pull the majority of their national team players from just a couple of professional clubs.

    You make a great point about Bayern. The great AC Milan team was the same way. 

    The player qualities you listed are what I call fundamentals. It is what I expect to see in a good amateur player. There is also no excuse for a coach who develops one-footed players. It is irresponsible. The problem is that bad habits start at age 6 when good coaching is rarely available.

    The most frustrating thing facing coaches that I found was undoing all the bad habits other youth coaches had instilled in the players.

  25. frank schoon replied, August 5, 2021 at 5:43 p.m.

    Bob, I was not sarcastic. I was asking R2 about the kickball comments he made which the youth coaches applied and therefore I asked even the licensed one....I'm not involved like you guys in youth soccer or the whole range of it. So I asked R2 about his statement

  26. Bob Ashpole replied, August 5, 2021 at 5:53 p.m.

    Frank, in that case my response is: If you give a coaching license to a sow's ear, you still have a sow's ear.

  27. frank schoon replied, August 5, 2021 at 6:17 p.m.

    Bob , I know you're looking at the dutch situation with Ajax being the flagship of development, where perhaps 2or 3 clubs set the tone in Dutch soccer. But realize dutch soccer is not that disjointed....All the coaches go to the same coaching school in Holland. Former Ajax players do coach other clubs and former Ajax coaches coach other dutch clubs, which means all the clubs get the bennies of overal way the dutch play.

    Look at Frenkie de Jong, he learned to play at WillemII, and later went to Ajax, Van Basten,idem ditto. Look at Gullit ,he never played for Ajax but some learned his game at lower rank clubs. Look at Robben who learned at Groningen another club not a top club. As a matter of fact Suarez of Barca now with Atletico played for Groningen. 

    What I'm saying is dutch soccer influenced is wide spread throughout Holland and the style reaches all clubs. iI isn't as seperate as you make it to be . You have to take into account the total mixture of all based clubs and not on  just 2-3 clubs that determine how soccer is played. 

  28. frank schoon replied, August 5, 2021 at 6:29 p.m.

    Bob, with AC Milan ,that was different..Coach Sacci went to Holland to study how Cruyff coached and wanted to follow the dutch style....This is why he brought back to Italy to play for Milan, Van Basten, Gullit and Rykaard along with employing attacking outside backs. He copied the dutch style and the reason as Cruyff stated the only difference between AC Milan and the other clubs is that the other clubs continued played Italian style soccer without attacking backs.......

    AC Milan style of play did not influence Italian soccer for it always remained defensive...

  29. frank schoon replied, August 5, 2021 at 6:34 p.m.

    Bob, as far sows ear goes....that's why I have always been critical about the coaching license thing.....As Cruyff states those license have not improved the youth, and this is why he prefers players without a license coaching and training  the youth. 

  30. Philip Carragher, August 6, 2021 at 11:06 a.m.

    Here is a question for Frank and those familiar with kids growing up in foreign countries: take a kid growing up in a European country or any country where soccer is revered, and there is a reasonable likelihood that that kid will watch top notch soccer. Here in the US, a suburban kid is less likely to watch soccer but if he or she does, it is probable that it won't be top notch soccer. Kids watching soccer, especially great soccer will learn from that. What kind and size of a gap in skills and tactics do US coaches need to overcome to address that? 

  31. Bob Ashpole replied, August 6, 2021 at 12:31 p.m.

    Phillip you are forgetting about YouTube. Because of the relative standard of living, the US player probably has more opportunity to watch soccer.

  32. frank schoon replied, August 6, 2021 at 12:46 p.m.

    Philip ,that is a great question. About a suburban kid less likely watching soccer, that would apply more to kids that don't see soccer as serious. I know way too many kids that play soccer who have favorite teams in Europe and watch games. I don't think that is the problem. Watching games does not improve a youth but playing (pickup) will. So many players from my generation ,a la Cruyff and many more didn't grow up with TV, Youtube . What them good is playing and learning from other better players. Or when Ajax had a home game we would watch or when the national team played watch their star. In our case it was Faas Wilkes.

    Watching soccer and learning is more for the better players. For example, you watch a good player to see how he would get out of a situation or how he passed the ball; for in order to appreciate that you need a certain skill level....It is more like the icing on the cake. Most kids and fans watch games for enjoyment. In sum  kids who are serious today have no problem watching soccer. What I usually do if I have a youth watching with me, I tell them ahead of time what could happen, where the ball should go, and other things, point how a triangle is set up. That is the only way I see how kids would get something out of watching a game than just for enjoyment. You need someone to point out details they are not aware of and that is how one learns...



    When I coach a youth team, I told my players that the ones who learn the most are the ones not playing but sitting on the bench waiting to come in. As they sit I spend time talking to them of what a certain player did wrong, or point out where we outnumber them for the ball to be passed to, or ask why would you pass there for everyone in town knows where it's going. In other words showing them in real time right away what is going wrong ,or how to solve things is learning.

    Watching great soccer doesn't necessarily mean a kid is learning from that. I think a youth needs  an intermediary to lead him on to look for those interesting details which is so often missed. In an interview with the late Tonnie Bruins Slot the assistant coach for Cruyff at Barcelona and Ajax stated he was at Cruyff's home one night when Beckenbauer was present. He stated when these began to talk soccer ,his ears were just flopping back and forth incredulously because of all deep insight info he was learning.  Although Tonnie has played and know quite a bit, listening to Cruyff and Beckenbauer talk opened another world of info for him.....
                                   
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  33. frank schoon replied, August 6, 2021 at 1:16 p.m.

    <" What kind and size of a gap in skills and tactics do US coaches need to overcome to address that?"> Again a great question. First all to over come a skill gap, the coach must be aware what exactly the deficiencies are as RELATED to their age. I think it becomes more difficult when they get to be 13 which is a good age I like to work with because their bodies are more coordinated to teach higher level technique as related to game situations. It is here where coaches who are licensed are going to have problems. Coaches who lack the creativeness, the technical expertise, will tend to rely more on the tactical side of things. They can be successful ,win games, but they don't contribute to a better technical development of the player.  AND THAT IS WHERE OUR PLAYERS/YOUTH GET HURT THE MOST IN THEIR DEVELOPMENT....

    A good coach needs to be aware of the player's touch on the ball. For example , making a good doesn't mean he has a touch on the ball. Here is a good exercises to prove that.  Get on the tennis court and stand on horizontal line( not where you serve but then next one) and pass over the net let it drop before next horizontal line on the other side. Right way , you can easily the lack of touch these kids have.

    To narrow that technical/tactical skill gap really depends on the coach in how good he is. In Europen you likewise have licensed coaches who weren't or aren't that good with a ball, technically but you the problem is that they have a licensed....And this is why stated the licensing coaches are a detriment to youth development....Any idiot can get a license and play coach....

  34. Philip Carragher, August 6, 2021 at 2:03 p.m.

    Thank you both, Frank and Bob. Here is another question along those lines: how can the sports-watching US population ever get captivated by the Beautiful Game if they never (or rarely) witness it?

  35. frank schoon replied, August 6, 2021 at 2:29 p.m.

    Philip, it takes time. Witnessing it is done by TV . To appreciate the beauty of the game, takes time. Do you think those hooligans in England find beauty in the game????

  36. Kent James, August 9, 2021 at 10:18 a.m.

    This team demonstrated they had the ability to win the gold (I don't know the Swedish team well enough to know if the US playing its best is better than the Swedes playing their best, but Canada demonstrated (2x!) that you don't have to be better to win).  Yes, the team is old, and that probably hurt them in the heat and humidity of Japan.  Humidity saps energy, and it's definitely more of a factor for older players (which may be the one reason the US looked better in the bronze medal game; the announcers said the humidity was low for that one). 


    Rapinoe and Lloyd showed why they're on the team, in spite of their age.  They can strike a ball as well as any woman on the planet.  Except for a lame PK call against Canada (Rapinoe was fouled in almost exactly the same way in this game and got nothing), the US could have been playing for the gold. They dominated Australia (the 4-3 score flattered the Australians).  So while it was disappointing that the US did not play this well every game, it is important to recognize their success.  The world has been "catching up" to the US for decades, and it is unrealistic to expect the US to dominate the world forever. I think at this point, the world has caught up and success is determined by the chemistry and talent of a varying crop of players (as it is on the men's side).  This group of players has an impressive record of success, and has been a joy to watch.  The best teams don't always win (ask Sweden about that) so I don't think failure to win gold was an indicator that it was a mistake to keep these women together for this tournament.  


    If there's a failure, I think it's the format of the tournament; I think it should be an U23 tournament (like the men) so it's not a WC redux.  It woudl be good to provide a platform for the next generation of players. 


    While I applaud the success of these women, it is also clear that they need to bring in some young players to develop for the future.  

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