Commentary

USA-Iceland SheBelieves Cup Player Ratings

USA-ICELAND EXPRESS:
Feb. 23 in Frisco, Texas
USA 5 Iceland  0. Goals: Macario 37, 45, Pugh 60, 75, K.Mewis 88.
Att.7,444.

In an all-around impressive and entertaining performance, the USA earned a 5-0 win over Iceland, which entered the game on a six-game win streak and hadn't conceded more than two goals since a 4-0 loss to France, 22 games ago, in April 2019. Mallory Pugh and Catarina Macario each scored twice and combined brilliantly on the fourth goal. The win made the USA the 2022 SheBelieves Cup champion.


USA Player Ratings

(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

GOALKEEPER

Casey Murphy's only save was a shot down the middle, but she snagged a couple high balls amid a crowd. She distributed very well, even when under pressure, hitting several accurate medium- and long-range passes. When she came well off her line to grab a high free kick, she quickly threw the ball to Mallory Pugh to start a counterattack.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6 Casey Murphy (NC Courage) 4/0 (25)

DEFENDERS

In the 2nd minute, Alana Cook stole the ball from Dagny Brynjarsdóttir and maneuvered out of danger -- one of the times the backline coped well with Icelandic pressure and built out of the back. In the 3rd minute, Cook started a sequence via Emily Fox that led to a Pugh shot. She won the ball on a tackle to help pave the way to the USA's first goal.  Cook's central partner, Tierna Davidson, also defended adeptly and passed crisply, like during the buildup to the second goal after she smoothly evaded Agla Albertsdottir. Right back Kelley O’Hara allowed a dangerous pass by Albertsdottir in the 32nd minute but otherwise defended solidly. Offensively, she over-hit a chipped pass that went straight to the keeper in the first half and early in the second half shot far over the goal on a ripe chance. Left back Fox combined well with the attackers on her side and shut down Sveindís Jónsdóttir with some clean tackles.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit) 150/2 (33))

8 Alana Cook (OL Reign) 7/0 (24)

7 Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars) 48/1 (23)

6 Emily Fox (Racing Louisville) 10/0 (23)

MIDFIELDERS

The only thing Ashley Sanchez came up short on during her dynamic display that wreaked havoc on Iceland was converting one of her shots, like in the 75th minute when she juked past Glodis Perla Viggosdottir in the penalty area but shot well within keeper Cecilía Rúnarsdóttir's reach. After Sanchez set up Kristie Mewis for a seven-yard shot that went wide, she floated a pass into Catarina Macario's stride to assist on the first goal. Sanchez also assisted on Pugh's first goal, the third goal. Mewis fed Pugh during the buildup to the second goal and scored the USA's final goal. With Sanchez and Mewis attacking effectively, central midfielder Andi Sullivan played a more defensive role, but her 22nd-minute pass to Pugh created one he best chances that didn't result in a goal and she helped connect the backline to the front, as during the second goal counterattack.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

7 Kristie Mewis (Gotham FC) 36/4 (30)

6 Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit) 25/2 (26)

Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit) 5/0 (22)

FORWARDS

After struggling to break through a penalty area crowded with Icelanders, Catarina Macario tried from long-range and curled in a beauty from the edge of the penalty area that went in off the far post. Shortly after that, she scored a second with a clever chip. Besides the flair that reminded us of her Brazilian roots, Macario offered herself to midfield passes and fended off close marking to relay the ball -- as she did ahead of the third goal -- and pressured the goalkeeper on back passes. Macario won the ball in midfield before the give-and-go with Pugh on the fourth goalSophia Smith contributed plenty to the frontline trio's waves of attacks. In the 73rd minute, she flew past Iceland's left back, but instead of feeding a wide-open Macario she shot too close to Rúnarsdóttir from a more difficult angle.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

8 Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars) 70/21 (23)

9 Catarina Macario (Lyon, FRA) 15/5 (22)

7 Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns) 13/1 (21)

SUBSTITUTES
 
The first subs were made in the 80th minute, including Midge Purce, who evaded two defenders on her assist to Mewis.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6 Midge Purce (Gotham FC) 12/2 (26)

5 Lynn Williams
(Kansas City Current 47/14 (28)

5 Ashley Hatch
(Washington Spirit) 6/3 (26)

nr Jaelin Howell (Racing Louisville) 4/0 (22)

5 Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit) 65/0 (28)

nr Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 202/0 (36)

NOTABLE: Seven of the 11 starters for the USA were under the age of 25, a lineup that was the USA's youngest in SheBelieves Cup history at 25.40 years

Feb. 23 in Frisco, Texas
USA 5 Iceland 0.  Goals: Macario 37, 45, Pugh 60, 75, K.Mewis 88.
USA — Murphy; O'Hara, Cook (Sauerbrunn, 86), Davidson, Fox; Mewis, Sullivan (Sonnett, 86),  Sanchez (Howell, 86); Smith (Purce, 80), Macario (Hatch, 80), Pugh (Williams, 80).
Iceland -- Siguroardóttir (Rúnarsdóttir, 46); G.Atladóttir (Sigurðardóttir, 79), Viggosdóttir, Arnardóttir (A.Atladóttir 79), Gísladóttir; Vilhjálmsdóttir (Vidarsdóttir, 68), Jónsdóttir (Jóhannsdóttir, 80), Brynjarsdóttir; Jónsdóttir, Thorvaldsdóttir (Gudmundsdóttir, 46), Albertdóttir.
Yellow cards: USA -- none; Iceland -- Vilhjálmsdóttir 89.
Red cards: none.
Referee: Edina Alves Batista (Brazil).
Att.7,444.

Stats:
USA/Iceland
Shots: 24/8
Shots on target: 12/1
Saves: 1/7
Corner Kicks: 6/4
Fouls: 8/12
Offside: 1/0
Possession: 61%/39%

38 comments about "USA-Iceland SheBelieves Cup Player Ratings".
  1. Santiago 1314, February 24, 2022 at 6:09 a.m.

    Current Temp: Dallas 22° , Reykjavik Iceland 28°.!!!
    I can't Believe we had to bring ICELAND to Frozen Texas, in Order to Beat Them.!!! (sarc)

  2. Seth Vieux replied, February 24, 2022 at 6:50 p.m.

    Zing! :-)

  3. R2 Dad, February 24, 2022 at 9:34 a.m.

    That Macario chip was odd/amazing, like she knew she could catch the keeper napping. Sure enough, rooted to the spot.

  4. frank schoon replied, February 24, 2022 at 9:55 a.m.

    R2, if you're talking about her first goal, although that looked nice, it was a very lucky goal...Notice ,she never even looked ,with her head looking down the whole time as she shot the ball . If she her head ,looking up at the far post measuring the shot, then obviously it showed the intent. The second goal was also nice but she couldn't do anything else for the ball was a little out of reach and ended up reaching for the ball in a manner that the ball caused a counter clockwise spin with the further part of the foot. In other words the situation forced the spin chip not that she intended to that, for that's all she had.

  5. Mark Landefeld replied, February 24, 2022 at 6:53 p.m.

    I don't think Mercario NEEDED to look on the first goal.  She has her head up on penetration and can see where Iceland is retreating, cuts against the bodyshape of the defender (trying to push her outside) and unpressured, knows where the post is from the lines at the corner of the box.

    She needed to look on the second goal to see nobody dropping back post early for Iceland.

  6. frank schoon replied, February 25, 2022 at 10:23 a.m.

    Mark, when you get that close to the goal, you need to take at a glance before you eventual shot for their are more factors involved that could hamper your shot. For example the goalie moving towards her left getting closer to the post. She didn't move but could have if she was smart, for if you can read Marcario's motion and the possible angle related to how she was positioned to the ball it had to be the far post. Macario was lucky for she had an idea where the  goal but was
    unaware of other factors that could play a role and can influence her shot. 

    She didn't never even look up. If she did the shot would have a lot more accurate with more spin to give it more bend so that it would travel inside the goal next to the post rather than luckily hitting the post. I would never teach anyone to do what Macario without telling that she has to take a glance at the possible situation.... 

  7. frank schoon, February 24, 2022 at 10:28 a.m.

    As I watched the game this morning on Youtube, the first half, the first thing that jumps out at me is the lack of 'feel' in the passing, along with the feeling of 'restrictiveness. It's like their hips are not loose ,but fusedn to the passing leg thus making upon passing their bodies look so 'jackknifed'. And therefore they have difficulty in making lift in their passes required to go over a defender. It's like their whole body is wrapped like a mummie. When a player has the ball and looking to pass, I place myself in that player's body the moment the ball leaves the foot, I can tell whether the pass is too high, too slow or too hard. Like when giving a cross, you know right away if it will go out of bounds or end up in the parking lot behind the stadium...The players all look like the passing the ball using a hockey stick

    I know some will not understand what I'm saying so I'll give a video to watch. At 55 seconds watch  how van Hanegem passes the ball with 'feel' in a short distance over a defender for Johan Cruyff to score. I would recommend to watch the whole video of 3min. or so. To get the jest of passing with feel.

    ▶ Forgotten Footballers - Willem van Hanegem in the 1974 WC - YouTube

    Without feel in the pass our game sophistication will not improve ,especially when it comes to the third man off the ball in the build up out of the back, switching areas of attack. The other problem is that the TURBO intention of our players , hamper not only good passing with feel but also improving our player development.  About our Turbo intention is also brought to light by Foudy who quoted coach Andonovky saying, that his players all want to do things a hundred miles an hour.

    Realize that quote sort of sums up what I think  the quality of US women/girls soccer coaching is  'p*sspoor'. How can the best girls in soccer ,nationally, all have same the problem. DUH!! Meaning the coaching/training is robotic, programmed, lacking creativeness and WRONG. The lack of good coaching produces nothing but TURBO BUNNIES. These same coaches all played TURBO soccer, themselves, if they played, and don't know any better other than what they're taught at the Coaching Academy, so you can imagine what these instructors are like.....

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  8. John Miottel replied, February 24, 2022 at 1:07 p.m.

    It was cold....

  9. John Munnell, February 24, 2022 at 10:42 a.m.

    Sorry, Frank...but nutz and nutz. We talk all the time about players who with the instinct or knack for scoring goals. Do you think that entails "looking" and "measuring" every opportunity?? And you downplay the second goal because "what else could she have done"?? You are right --- and she DID IT! I regularly read your analysis about the necessary skills that many of our players at the top levels can't produce. I very often agree with you and others with the same complaint. But the real magic happens when we can't see the mechanics that  produce it. But that doesn't mean those mechanics aren't there. 

  10. Santiago 1314 replied, February 24, 2022 at 10:58 a.m.

    Got to agree with John on this one Frank...
    2 Really AMAZING "FEEL" goals...
    Why should you have to "Look" at where you are Shooting.???
    A Real Striker knows, just by their Positioning IN/ON/Around the Box, where the Goal is.
    I am Not sure Marcario has the Pace or Strength to be the Starting #9, but she is an Option.

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

     John, Santi,I didn't say the mechanics wasn't there but the intent, especially relating to the first goal, not the second for the second could have been scored by anyone of the players for there was no other choice but to reach for the ball by extending the leg which causes the ball to spin chip...

    Santi , Mosts goals scored by strikers in the heat of the moments are blasted and sometimes they look fantastic not because he planned it that way,  That only ones that are great are made with intent which are usually not the ones that are hard shot but thought out....For example, your coming near the final third and you have a defender ahead of you, you dribble toward taking him to block the goalies view and then beautiful place it curving it with a bend to the post. Or a nice chip pass oiver the head of the goalie coming out. 

  12. frank schoon, February 24, 2022 at 11:10 a.m.

    Macario, needs to have a 'free-role up front. Don't RESTRICT her. Kristie Mewis has the best corner kick on the team. She has the best passing delivery of all the players. She should play left half because she is leftfooted. We need a leftfooted lefthalf to be able to quickly shift the ball to the right sight area of the field. And therefore she should not take throw ins on the leftside. By being leftfooted ,she has the ability to quickly change the attack to the other side.  With her ability, she creates wide open spaces for our attacking runs. A right footed lefthalf, tends to go inwards and restrict areas, just like Mewis does when she ends up going inward from the right midfield, it gets to bunched up then. 

    Furthermore Mewis as leftfooted lefthalf is in better position to give the leftwing two kinds of passes faster, in front of or behind the opponent's back, in which the latter is more dangerous for we have speedy wings.

    Our front line is so eager to score that when they sometimes forget to position covering the 3bases, first ,second post, and in front of the goal...Look at Fox, she needs someone ahead of her (left-half) who can handle a ball, thereby she can dampen some of Fox's TURBO, because her TURBO gets her in trouble. Twice I saw Fox in the first half do a wonderful job in stopping an opponent, taking care of business, winning the ball and then create ball loss by passing in a manner that the opponent retrieves....TOTAL WASTE OF PLAY AND ENERGY..... That's the problem of 'TURBO CITY'.

    Another aspect of building up out of the back is the choice of passes made to midfield. The golden rule in building up is to find the 'freeman' at midfield. And how often do I see passes out of the back to midfield player, facing with their back downfield along with a man in their back. You what will happen , BALL LOSS, and an attempt at a counter attack in our own half.

    You know what I don't see on throw-ins is to surprise the opponent to immediate create a quick counterattack from a throw-in. Very Simple, we have SPEED to burn, Right!!  Well, when there is a thrown-in, the opponents are relaxed more, and don't feel threatened, thinking "hey, it's just a throw-in, I"ll pick this guy and you take this guy" and notice, they all stand  flatfooted, with their back facing the field. In that frame of mind you do is to throw the ball to teammate, positioned to one touch  blasting towards the opponents goal. This never happens but it is the right unsuspecting moment....

    I'm  not impressed with the two wingers, I would like to see one of them have some shake and bake qualities, good one 1v1 moves which I don't see, thus much reliance upon Turbo....

  13. Santiago 1314 replied, February 25, 2022 at 1:51 a.m.

    Agreed about the Wingers... Not even impressed with their Turbo Abilities... Oh, for the days of Gabarra and Heath.!!!

  14. James Madison, February 24, 2022 at 2:27 p.m.

    Mike's ratings are generous, but this was by far the best performance of the three in the Seh Believes Cup. Maybe Iceland was not accustomed to and, therefore, not fit enought for the WCup preliminary round format. I finally saw the Macario I grew to love and enjoy when she played at Stanford. (Frank Schoon, you don't know her history, if you think her first goal was not aimed). She would have had a hat-trick, but for Sophie Smith's obsession with shooting. Contrast Smith's selfishness with Macario's assist to Pugh. Smith still needs to learn when to share the ball. Sanchez looked good, but Mewis played-end-to end in a delightful imitation of Ertz and Horan. Sullivan and the back line were solid, escept for a bit of confusion in clearing during the final 15 minutes.  Six substitutions in a competitive match?  That's new. 

  15. ARISTIDES SASTRE, February 24, 2022 at 5:33 p.m.

    I give kudos to Iceland for attempting to play a straight up game as opposed to a bunker defense like the Czechs did.  Of all the comments that Frank provided, I most agree with his assessment of Fox.  I too noted the fact that she had several excellent defensive takeaways followed by horrendous midfield passes that went directly to the Icelandic players. I agree with Santiago that many "Golazos" are often long-range shots that are taken without a direct look by the shooter and finally I agree with James that Sophia Smith's desire to score pre-empted a hat trick for Macario.  As far as the Pugh-Macario goal, there have been few better pass combinations in USWNT history.  Both passes were perfectly placed AND paced and either one of them could have scored the goal.  It was only a question as to which one of them was going to be most gracious (or less selfish).  Iceland is not Spain, England, France, Germany or the Netherlands, but their current team is certainly in the group immediately behind that bunch.

  16. Santiago 1314 replied, February 24, 2022 at 5:57 p.m.

    They looked like Big Blue Dottir CONES.!!!... But, they did help to accomplish the Goals that USSF set out for the Tournament... FIND YOUNGER PLAYERS... We could have certainly gotten better Teams IN here... We didn't want to... Maybe we got 3 new players... Sanchez, Marcario, Fox... Not Starters, but at least some Depth

  17. frank schoon replied, February 24, 2022 at 7:11 p.m.

    Ari, The point I'm making about shooting and not looking up is that during the action your making before shooting, you look up in order to size up the situation,by taking a quick glance. That doesn't mean you have to looking up as you shoot. For example , you example, you've seen goals scored from long distance when just crossing the midfield line, it happens. You don't have to really seize up things because the goal is right in line of sight..The factors involved in calculating the shot  are very few and you hope for the best as you shoot or blast it forwards to the goal.

    But the closer you come to the goal  more crucial factors increase that will play a part in calculation the shot at goal.. Macario was close the goal ,so  timing, the changing of position of the goalie of the opponents and accuracy of the shot.....Macario never looked had her head down the whole time before shooting, fortunately it barely hit the post. Perhaps if she had looked up her and gave more calculation to her shot, it might have been better and more accurate by going right inside the post, who knows?..Also in this situation she did see if the goalie had moved to her left more and moved closer towards the post and perhaps stopped the shot....These are situations as you come closer to the goalie that become a part in the calculation...This is what I meant about looking up to get the latest picture before shooting, which does not mean you to looking at the moment of the shot.

    Have you seen how often a winger or back running down to the endline and crossing without even looking where to place the ball but instead just kick it front of the goal. It's not pretty sight....

  18. Wooden Ships replied, February 24, 2022 at 11:13 p.m.

    Santi, there's no way in hades I'm starting Morgan or Press over Cat. She's at a different level. Cat up top, Rose and Horan in support Pugh left, maybe Tobin right. 

  19. R2 Dad replied, February 25, 2022 at 12:44 a.m.

    I'd like to see Ertz back to center back and Sam mewis at the 6/deep lying playmaker. Maybe we can retain and build better?

  20. Santiago 1314 replied, February 25, 2022 at 1:44 a.m.

    Wooden, I think Marcario lacks Ggg's "Verticality"... Which Normally for a USA team with 70% Possession is OK ... But, this usWnt Generation is going to be more in the Vein of usMnt of Old.... 30% Possession versus France, Holland, Spain, Germany, Brazil... 50-50 with Sweden, Canada, Australia, England... Morgan and Press are Too Old, Slow as we saw last Tourney... Not sure where the Speed Up Front is going to come from.???... Maybe Rodman.???... Not Looking Promising... :(

  21. Santiago 1314 replied, February 25, 2022 at 1:45 a.m.

    I like that idea R2... Hertz might not have the Wheels Left for Midfield.

  22. frank schoon replied, February 25, 2022 at 8:25 a.m.

    Santi, You would not start Macario but back up to Morgan....I have to agree with Ships...If you want to initiate change in the land of Turbo, no matter how small, then begin with Marcario up front. When you begin to bring in players who relies less and less on Turbo, small changes will begin tocome about...Morgan lacks the creative thinking and movement, technically speaking, of a Macario. Sure Macario is picking up some bad habits of her Turbo teammates, but that happens when everything around you goes in a different flow of things...

    Macario, is an example for younger girls to emulate, meaning less Turbo, more creativity in their manner or style of play....Macario is the future, Morgan isn't....

  23. Wooden Ships replied, February 25, 2022 at 9:45 a.m.

    R2, a major concern for me with Ertz a d central defending is that she's caught quite often with the ball at her feet. Additionally, her passing quality might not be high enough, leading to more turnovers in a dangerous area. Love her heart and work but at this point I see her as an option off the bench, an energy infusion and she's fearless and effective crashing the 18. Do like the Mewis 6, but again our mids and defenders need to be quicker with the ball, either with the dribble or pass. Throughout the side, the speed of their combination play and control has to improve. 

  24. frank schoon replied, February 25, 2022 at 10:37 a.m.

    R2, will it ever be  R3 :)  The problem with Ertz is simple she is too slow as a centerback in the first two steps and that does it for her. I would like to tryout Lavelle at centerback for she's hell on wheels and has Technique and can move quickly upfield as an extra to draw a opponent out of position at midfield. Note when you have a Lavelle, she can produce numerical superiority going upfield and will make building up from the back much easier for she will draw opponents thus creating more space for her teammates. With Lavelle in the back we don't need to have #6 to come back so much instead she becomes more of a give and go option for Lavelle....


    We have too much Turbo up front so to speak and slow pokes in the backfield. It needs more balance.

    Our backfield needs a serious overhaul. We need in the backfield a player like lavelle and next to her a strong defender or someone who can actuall pass the ball without losing further upfield. 

  25. ARISTIDES SASTRE, February 24, 2022 at 6:05 p.m.

    I think that for the most part we were also able to confirm that Pugh and Macario worked well together.

  26. Santiago 1314, February 25, 2022 at 1:46 a.m.

    Oh, I Really like the GK... Murphy

  27. Wooden Ships replied, February 25, 2022 at 9:27 a.m.

    Absolutely. Haven't noticed a weakness in her game. 

  28. Bob Ashpole, February 25, 2022 at 3:46 a.m.

    It is difficult to compare this match to the other three looking for progress. Why because Iceland bravely attempted to play with the US. No bunker there even in the 70th minute they were still high pressing! 

    Forget the goals. Marcario was clearly the best player on the ball for both teams. Lavelle and I believe Horan can combine with her at that level.

    What was missing was crossing. While the wingers played well, they did it by cutting inside, not by crossing. 

    Turbo can't be the only option. I see promise in creating a "magic triangle" system with the center forward and 2 10s. We still need wingers that can cross. Like dead ball plays, crossing takes dedicated practice to develop and maintain. So the first question is will the coaching staff see the need or not.

    As for the coaching, they seem to see the game as fielding either a turbo side or a possession side, but not a side that can do both. This is a backward step from the Ellis era.

  29. Wooden Ships replied, February 25, 2022 at 9:37 a.m.

    Bob, I'm not convinced he's going backward. It appears he's uncovering players that can do both (more versatile). Jill didn't have the players to do both, just speed and directness, reliant upon restarts too. Rapino, Heath had elements of both, soft feet. I like what Vlat is working towards. I also think the newer players are all on board. I do see sour grapes on the horizon with a number of vets as they can't demonstrate a more skilled quality. While I'm not convinced of the mad scientist, Greggiola, he too is, maybe reluctantly, seeing the value of having a roster of players with a more complex game. 

  30. Bob Ashpole replied, February 25, 2022 at 10:03 p.m.

    WS: I wish that I am wrong, but these matches were not against top 5 teams or even top 20 teams. What was especially disappointing to me is that the second match was entirely kick and run. No art at all. How can he evaluate the players at anything other than kick and run. From watching the players, I conclude that he is selecting for running speed. I don't think I saw any successful passing combinations in the second game. This approach is not going to be successful against top 10 teams.

  31. Kent James, February 25, 2022 at 2:04 p.m.

    I am a little surpised (though I guess I shouldn't be) at all the negative comments about this team (and coach).  The complaint at the Olympics was that we were too old and too slow (and there's certainly some truth to that), and that we didn't have any young players being developed, so we were sabotaging our future.  Well, here are the young players.  I didn't see the Chech Rep game, but against NZ and especially against Iceland, we were dominant.  Yes, I know these are not the best teams in the world, but they're not bad, and we were clearly a level above them.  They could barely string 3 passes together, which was more a credit to our aggressive defense than their inability to play soccer, while we attacked in waves.


    I saw a team that played hard, worked well together, had a lot of individual (and team) creativity, that created a lot of chances and scored enough to put the games out of reach.  Even the own goals against NZ were not because the defenders sucked, but because we put them under such pressure.  Trying to block a cross driven across the face of goal at waist height is not easy.  So give credit where credit is due, these players can play.  


    By the way, there is nothing wrong with playing at pace.  If you can keep a step ahead of the other team by moving with pace and moving the ball faster than they can keep up, that's a winning strategy.  If your ONLY tactic is pace, and you've got nothing else, then yeah, you need to develop your options.  But that is not the case with these women.  They can play at pace, and they can slow it down. Any decent coach can watch a 90 minute game and find fault with the players on specific plays, but call me naive, these players can play.  I think the future if the USWNT is bright.  

  32. Wooden Ships replied, February 25, 2022 at 2:32 p.m.

    I agree Kent. One of my concerns heading into the last Olympics was one of focus. I think the quality was there, but many didn't seem singularly focused on soccer. I'll leave it at that. And, yes speed, quickness in action with and without the ball and most importantly thought, is very important. 

  33. ARISTIDES SASTRE, February 25, 2022 at 6:19 p.m.

    Frank I agree with you that our backfield needs some serious help.  There were too many passes that bypassed our midfield that went directly to the heads of Icelandic players.  If you count how many of those passes were first headed by Iceland I would say that the percentage was over 90%.  The players from Iceland had a clear height advantage so it was ridiculous to continue to play the ball in the air.  O'Hara does not have the wheels to keep up with any fast wingers and although Fox does, her distribution is poor.  Based on these games it's hard to assess the younger central defenders because the attackers for the three opponents in this tournament were weak. As far as Macario is concerned, her play may not have been perfect but her finesse and her overall vision are clearly there.  Overall, there was enough good play from some of these young players to predict a good future for the team when they mix with players like Horan, Lavelle and Sam Mewis (and Ertz as a physical presence).  I think for the most part, the older forward generation needs to consider giving up play with the national team.

    One final thing, your last comment about blind crosses is one of my pet peeves.  It is so easy to take a quick look and see where a cross should be directed yet so many of the US national team players (both men and women) continue to insist on simply making a blind cross.  Hopefully Macario's influence may help to reduce these crosses on the women's team.

  34. frank schoon replied, February 25, 2022 at 10:02 p.m.

     Ari,I totally agree. I don't know how old you are but l remember when crosses were beautifully placed, bending away from the goalie, they were works of art..Today, crosses have gone down in quality. 
    It is so bad, even the elements of execution are bad and yes, like you say, they don't even look where they're crossing the ball.... And that was more in line with what Macario did, not loking for one moment, but it went in ,so good for her

    In old days you never saw cross end up behind the goal as today, it's become a normal thing.

    I see receivers of passes giving a thumbs up to the passer whose pass or cross was so inaccurate, but thanked the passer for at least trying....In old days when passes were a lot more accurate, a thumbs up sign would have been interpret as a sarcastic insult to the passer and probably result in a fight in the locker room later....

  35. Oswald Dwyer, February 25, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

    Late to the party but oh well. So much negativity for the young players who are only now playing together as a team for the first time. Sure they are a little raw and havent figured it all out yet, just like the veterans were when they first played international ball together. You could see the growth of these young players from game 1 to game 3; three games and they were markedly better at the end. Further, why schedule England or Spain, or Germany or Sweeden, France or Brazil at this early stage. Our coaches got the scheduling right, and are just now getting to know the players including deciding on who plays where and how best to use the speed and skills of the these young tallented players. I think we are in a great place considering the short window in which to get the team ready. In any event, we can not sit back and depend on the older slower players to keep pace with the rest of the world who have gotten younger, are more skilled and have better coaches and football programs. We will take our lumps early but sooner rather than later, I think we will be nice.

  36. John Sabala, March 25, 2022 at 11:20 a.m.

    Should Have Made History

    First and foremost I will give GB credit for actually trying to win the game. We did press, albiet not effectively most of the game (we did in certain spots and create a couple of turnovers), but could not capitalize on it.  Now that being said lets look at it from group play

     First three levels turned the ball over too many times needlessly and in the WC we will get punished and be heading home.

    Backline -  The CBs played ok defensively, but the passing and shifting points of attack was horrendous.  Ok, Zimmerman can win aerial battles, but can't make correct crist passes to the midfield or outside backs. Instead, he is launching everything over the top and giving away possession most of the game. M. Robinson's passing was a little better, but not much. As Franc stated already, we were not connecting passes with meaningful purpose to the attack much of the time. Outside backs both had solid games defensively. I was ok with Yedlin not pushing too far forward and in my opinion overall was the best backline player for the entire game.  Mexico could not exploit the left side too much, most of Mexico's attacks were down right and center. Yedlin covered numerous times when both CBs were pulled out of position. A. Robinson again shows his ineptness on the ball. If he does not have acres to run on he can't beat guys 1v1 and gives the ball away time and again. Oh god for Scally or Vines on that side.  

    Midfield - Not too many complaints here. Acosta had a good game and did not play recklessly as he is prone to do.  Again, the attack down the left is stagnant due the A. Robinson not being able to play the ball in smaller spaces with accuracy.  Again Pulisic has to come back to get the ball closer to midfield and then gets the S+@T beat out of him. Musah did ok, had some moments breaking lines with dribbling, but could not connect play with the front line well. He did a lot of good defensive work, and Mexico was not able to dominate the midfield. Adams had track shoes on and put in a solid performance.  Had to come too far back too many times to help cover when our backline made some dumb mistakes.

    NEXT POST--------->

  37. John Sabala replied, March 25, 2022 at 11:21 a.m.

    Forwards - CP had an ok game, but as I stated prior to this match he has to get the ball close the the box.  It won't happen with A. Rob. Weah was able to get the ball much closer to the box and created one of our best chances of the game. He helped clog play defensively with Yedlin and the three of them connected better than the left side. Yedlin is a little better than A. Rob with the ball at his feet in tight spaces. Pepi continued to struggle and his hold up play let him down, but so did Pefolk before we went to a 5-4-1.  So I agree with Wooden again that Sargeant was the best player to have on the pitch with the game plan. Can't say he would have scored, but pressing and being able to change out with either CP, or Weah in the attack would have made it much harder for Mexico's backline to defend.

    Not upset with the result since we played to win.  Can't believe we did not bring in Scally, but brought in Shaq Moore.  Again, now with so outside backs out, we need to play a three back and use players as wingbacks on the outside for the next game instead of playing more marginal players as outside backs. Again put your best XI on the pitch and build the tactical plan for their strengths.  Reyna needs to play with Musah or DLT and Adams behind this next game.

  38. Philip Carragher, March 25, 2022 at 1:41 p.m.

    I watched about half of the game intermittently, hoping to see something entertaining. Pretty boring except for the high stakes.

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