Commentary

USA-Czech Republic SheBelieves Cup Player Ratings

USA-CZECH REPUBLIC EXPRESS:
Feb. 17 in Carson, Calif.
USA 0 Czech Republic 0.
Att.: 7,333.

The Czech Republic may never have qualified for a major tournament, but it proved adept at ultra-defensive, stifling, dour soccer in a scoreless tie with the USA on Thursday evening. Disappointing as it may have been that Coach Vlatko Andonovski's team couldn't translate 64% possession and 18 shots into a goal, the USA for much of the game looked good trying. 


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

GOALKEEPER

Although not seriously tested, Casey Murphy conveyed confidence when she grabbed a couple of high balls, held on to the Czechs' only shot on target, and showed how much of the goal she could cover when her finger tips reached a Klára Cahynová shot that flew over the crossbar. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6
Casey Murphy
(NC Courage) 3/0 (25)

DEFENDERS

Alana Cook combined her commanding presence in the central defense with a sharp passing acumen like that of partner Tierna Davidson, which enabled USA to attack in a variety of ways during the first half. Right back Kelley O’Hara made a case for being one of the veterans who still has a future with the squad with her early attacks that tamed the Czechs. In the second half, she set up a Trinity Rodman header, but she also wasted crosses with time to pick out a target. Left back Emily Fox was subbed at halftime after a decent performance that included a lightning quick attack down the flank.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Kelley O’Hara
(Washington Spirit) 149/2 (33)

6 Alana Cook (OL Reign) 5/0 (24)

5 Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 46/1 (23)

5 Emily Fox (Racing Louisville) 9/0 (23)

MIDFIELDERS

If Rose Lavelle had hit the net with one of her shots — her clever first-half lob went just high, she shot wide in the 66th minute, and took a very narrow angle, easily saved shot with Rodman in position for a ripe chance — it would have been a terrific performance. She had orchestrated some innovative offense in the first half and delivered thrills like when she roasted Anna Dlasková on the right flank. Morgan Gautrat stealing balls in midfield kept the Czechs under major pressure and she seemed on the verge of finding a rhythm with Mallory Pugh and Fox before she and Fox were subbed at halftime. Andi Sullivan swept the midfield to keep the Czechs pinned in, but against a bunkering opponent more creativity in the middle was needed.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

7
Rose Lavelle
(OL Reign) 69/18 (26)

5 Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit) 23/2 (26)

5 Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars) 88/8 (28)

FORWARDS

Sophia Smith's dribbling played a major role in why this post-Olympic team has been fun to watch. But she, like Catarina Macario, who did well to make herself available for passes and controlled the ball under pressure, came up short on a forward's most important task: making an impact on the scoreboard. Mallory Pugh troubled the Czechs early in each half but of three frontline players was the least successful at getting on the ball. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6 Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns) 11/1 (21)

6 Catarina Macario (Lyon, FRA) 13/3 (22)

5 Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars) 68/18 (23)

SUBSTITUTES
 
These being the first games of the year for every player except Macario, Andonovski said afterwards all his players are on schedules to play limited minutes. He treated the opening game like a scrimmage — sending in two players at halftime, two more at the hour mark, and another couple at the 72nd mark. Not that the subs performed poorly, but considering how well the team played in the first half, breaking up the cohesion may not have been the best way to break down the Czechs. Kristie Mewis sent a perfect pass to Trinity Rodman after a brilliant midfield move — but Rodman was wrongly called offside. Rodman, in her debut, should have scored on a close-range header. Margaret Purce hit an amazing cross-field pass. Emily Sonnett set up a header for Mewis that was saved. Becky Sauerbrunn tackled cleanly to end a Czech counterattack following a late U.S. corner kick. Amid the most frustrating part of the USA's play — as it sought the late game-winner — Ashley Sanchez indicated she'd be intriguing to see as a starter.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

5
Emily Sonnett
(Washington Spirit) 64/0 (28)

6 Kristie Mewis
(Gotham FC) 34/4 (30)

5 Trinity Rodman
(Washington Spirit) 1/0) 19

6 Margaret Purce (Gotham FC) 10/2 (26)

5 Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 200/0 (36)

6 Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit) 3/0 (22)

TRIVIABecky Sauerbrunn became the 12th player in U.S. history to hit the 200-cap mark, one less than current team general manager Kate Markgraf.

NOTABLE: The USA's starting lineup's average age of 25.55 years was the youngest starting lineup since an April 2018 game against Mexico. 

Feb. 17 in Carson, Calif.
USA 0 Czech Republic 0.  
USA — Murphy; O'Hara, Cook, Davidson (Sauerbrunn, 72), Fox (Sonnett, 46); Lavelle (Sanchez, 72), Sullivan, Gautrat (K.Mewis, 46); Smith (Purce, 60), Macario, Pugh (Rodman, 60).
Czech Republic -- Votíková; Dlasková, Bertholdová, Necidov, Slajsová; Krejciriková (Cerná, 79), Cahynová, Dubcová (Pochmanová, 90+3), Svitková; Stasková (Cvrcková, 90), Martinková (Khyrová, 79).
Yellow cards: USA -- none; Czech Republic -- Cahynová 58.
Red cards: none.
Referee: Laura Fortunato (Argentina).
Att.: 7,333.

Stats:
USA/Czech Republic
Shots: 18/6
Shots on target: 8/1
Saves: 1/8
Corner Kicks: 10/1
Fouls: 9/10
Offside: 4/3
Possession: 64%/36%

11 comments about "USA-Czech Republic SheBelieves Cup Player Ratings".
  1. Peter Bechtold, February 18, 2022 at 9:54 a.m.

    Waiting for Santi and Frank comments....

  2. Wooden Ships replied, February 18, 2022 at 10:12 a.m.

    Forthcoming I'm sure. Frank's viewing time would have been 11:00pm, not sure about Santi. He might switch his Zulu time frequently, time hopping. For me, I liked what I saw. Finally an attack with players to go central with quick passes in possession. We've got to move beyond the reliance upon restarts and hopeful crosses. Keep those, but without creative play and technical possession skills, we are too vulnerable. Rose is so valuable in unbalancing the defenders. We are now seeing a new style of play emerge. Keep the faith Vlad. 

  3. frank schoon replied, February 18, 2022 at 11:21 a.m.

    I had no idea they were even playing. I'l have to find a repeat on espn somewher or watch the highlights. I did see stats....I know the czechs tend to play a defensive style on the man's side and I assume the women do also. Or is it a game where the Czech women aren't good enough.
    Reading Ships comments intriques so I will have to find the game somewhere....ZULU time, LOLOLOL

  4. frank schoon replied, February 18, 2022 at 11:24 a.m.

    The full game is on YOUtube, will watch now...

  5. Santiago 1314 replied, February 21, 2022 at 3:40 p.m.

    Peter... Finally got around to watching both Games... Posted my thoughts on Player Rating for USAvNZ

  6. frank schoon, February 18, 2022 at 12:38 p.m.

    IK watched the first half and about 10min of second half. Like I stated before the Czechs are defensive by nature. They gave us plenty of room to build up until you cross half field. It is another reason why I don't like playing 4-4-2 which the Czechs did. Also they played with 2 strikers up the middle, so uninspiring. Realize with 2 strikers up the middle they'll receive the ball most of the time with their back facing the goal. And they have no chance trying to making a long ball ahead of them for the long ball.

    The Czechs should have placed both strikers on the wing and for we gave them so much space on the flanks, thereby they would spread our defensive back line ,and it allows their best players, #12, #18 or #10 to make runs through the center lane. Instead with 2strikers in the middle it blocked all of their offensice thrust coming from their midfielders....

    What can I say about our team is that we were a better team, but that is not saying much for we're always the better. It is what you make of the team. For example, Czeck parked the bus, and left the flanks open, so why didn't we penetrate going down flanks to endline and cross the ball continually. Go for the cross and the secondary balls coming out of the box as well. They had no offense, on the transistion, there were no options for them to pass upfield. We should have coverd their penalty area and pressured for goals. 

    But we didn't do it , instead we attempted to go through the middle where their strength is....I don't get it???? It is the flanks the space that was given to us. It is all a question where you find the space, which was on the flanks.. 

    Macario is not a centerforward, and certainly is not good with her back to the goal and she doesn't know what with after a give and go. Furthermore too many of our players upfield tend to receive the ball in the opponent's half with their back facing the goal on offense.. That's not good when you play a weaker team for you give them time to adjust.

    I'm just gone to have to watch more to get an opinion on our team



  7. Bob Ashpole replied, February 22, 2022 at 11:38 p.m.

    I speculate, but my guess is that the coach was treating this as a scrimmage. He had things he wanted to see and my guess one of them was Marcario and Lavelle interchanging positions and attackinng up the center. I liked the way he used Marcario as a "9". Really I would classify the system as having 3 inside forwards with them rotating through the CF and 2 10 positions. They aren't there yet. It is just 2 interchanging, but I see where I think he is going. 

    What I like is that the 2 players were given freedom of movement in the center which makes the defenses job harder and allows Marcario to spend half the time in a midfield position. This leaves the wings and fullbacks their space to work the flanks.

    What I also like (and maybe I give the coach too much credit here) is this is a baby step toward positonal play. With the national team the coach is limited in the amount of training he can do. Making the adjustment with a pair of players is one way to make effective improvements in the contact time that you have. Sometimes it takes years to develop a feeling for another player. To me it looked like Macario is the missing partner that Lavelle has been looking for since she joined the nats.

    In short, I see progress.

    Finally I am not worried about training flank attacks. Every fullback and wing knows how to attack on the flank. (They may be no good at it, but that is another issue.)

  8. Ben Myers, February 18, 2022 at 1:15 p.m.

    US finishing was poor.  All but one of the shots were on the ground, making it easy for the Czech keeper.  There were no attempts at upper 90 finishes.  In fact, all the US shots seemed to be done in a panic.  No composure.

    Traps were not crisp and clean, leaving time for more pressure from the Czechs. Often traps were into the prsssure, not away from it, or not anticipating there would be pressure.

    Corner kicks were worse than those of the high school team I have worked with over several years.  They were simply terrible, poorly placed, often where the keeper could gather them in, and with a very high arc, giving the Czechs ample time to defend them.

    Message to Vlatko.  I am very good at working with players to develop repeatably dangerous corner kicks.  Yes, there is a methodology for doing so.  The players in the box have to do the rest.  

  9. James Madison, February 18, 2022 at 2:40 p.m.

    VERY  generous raings in general. Murphy and the centerbacks did well.  Sullivan was effective as the defensive midfielder, but she is no Ertz or Horan. Lavelle was enterprising, but her shot selection and execution meant the difference between a win and a scoreless tie. From those it was downhill.  Poor decision making, sloppy passing, and too much jumping in.  Macario either has a case of Pulisicitis (trying to do too much) or is tired mentally---the joy she showed when playing for Stanford was missing. That Rodman should be touted so highly is astonishing given that she is a one-sfooted player.

  10. Wayne Norris, February 18, 2022 at 2:47 p.m.

    Very generous ratings as I would argue a 0-0 tie with Chech women as bad as any result USMNT had this year.......and they were hammered with 3 and 4s across board!


  11. R2 Dad, February 19, 2022 at 1:58 p.m.

    Murphy looks like the real deal between the sticks--would be surprised if she gives up that starting spot. Not much to do but error free and let that shot on the ground slide by because she knew it wasn't on target. The positives were lots of action, lots of attacking 3rd play to analyze, people were getting touches all over the pitch. I didn't see a bunch of low probability shots outside the 18 like we've seen in the past, so there is better discpline there. The downsides were that finishing was poor and the team is thinking Shooting first inside the 18 instead of Final Pass. The Czech keeper was good (certainly better than CONCACAF standard) so the US couldn't rely on keeper error to open up the floodgates. It seems we need that first goal for the team to sharpen up?

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