Commentary

USA remains perfect against old rival Haiti, but questions raised about U.S. defense

USA vs. Haiti is one of the USWNT's oldest and most one-sided rivalries.

The first time the teams met was at the 1991 Concacaf championship to determine the confederation's sole representative at the inaugural FIFA women's championship in China.

The USA beat Haiti, 10-0, in the semifinals before 40,000 fans in Port-au-Prince. The series has been like that ever since. The USA entered Monday's Concacaf W Championship in Monterrey with seven wins in seven games against Haiti, all shutouts.

Monday's 3-0 win raised the USA's goal difference against Haiti to 49-0, but this game felt different. Les Grenadieres should have scored twice in the first half thanks to their dynamic young attack.

In the 27th minutes, 18-year-old Melchie Dumornay left captain Becky Sauerbrunn in the dust, bursting into the penalty area, where U.S. goalkeeper Casey Murphy came off her line and stopped the Reims playmaker.

Minutes later, Dumornay was at it again, freezing Sauerbrunn before laying the ball off to 23-year-old Nerilia Mondesir in the right side of the penalty area, where the Haiti captain was taken down by U.S. defender Emily Fox for a penalty. Roselord Borgella stepped up but fired her spot kick off the post.

On the two plays, Dumornay exposed Sauerbrunn's lack of pace, though U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski chose to praise Dumornay and her teammates in the Haitian attack.

"They're powerful," he said, "they're technical, they're knowledgeable and they're players that can change the game in a split second."

The Haitians exposed the lack of coordination in the middle of the U.S. defense, which featured Alana Cook in her World Cup qualifying debut alongside the 37-year-old Sauerbrunn and Andi Sullivan, another Stanford product playing her first World Cup qualifier, in front of them at defensive midfielder.

"I don't know if there was a miscommunication or anything between our center backs," Andonovski said. "I would say it was the really good play of the attackers on the other team. They are world-class players. And if you give them a little space or a little time, they'll expose you, they'll expose any team, any defenders."

Andonovski said the same thing could happen when the USA faces Jamaica on Thursday.

"We're going to have to do better because it's not going be any easier against Jamaica with players like Bunny Shaw and Jody Brown," he said before the Reggae Girlz upset host Mexico, 1-0, in Monday's nightcap. "That's another group of work-class forwards."

Photo: Concacaf.com

8 comments about "USA remains perfect against old rival Haiti, but questions raised about U.S. defense".
  1. R2 Dad, July 5, 2022 at 5:52 a.m.

    Bunny is going to be a handful. And a 37 YO is too slow? Whodda thunkit? Poor personnel planning for the back line, Vlatko. Where is the depth of the pool? At least on the U20s they will bring in fresh meat as needed. The capped ladies that get injured or preggers should go to the back of the line instead of walking back into their old starting spots. Sit Sauerbrunn--that's what real coaches do with captains that are the worst player on the pitch. And at 37, no reason to step back on--unless Vlatko has no options and thus has incompetently managed player pool.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, July 5, 2022 at 9:24 a.m.

    Ever play CB or DM? Because I didn't see the match the way you or this reporter did. I thought that the coach's evasive answer to the questions was appropriate. 

    It is a team sport, but the tendancy is to blame all defensive lapses on the last player.

  3. ARISTIDES SASTRE replied, July 5, 2022 at 5:51 p.m.

    I agree with Bob.  On that first play that exposed Sauerbraunn, Cook literally jogged back after Dumornay dribbled past her.  If she had actually run back, Sauerbrunn could have used Cook to force Dumornay in one direction.  By not giving the effort, Cook pushed Sauerbrunn to commit herself (in what was obviously the wrong angle).  Also, 90% of the time, when Cook gets the ball she turns and passes it back laterally to Sauerbrunn.  Although our 37 year-old captain has unquestionably reduced speed, our other center back leaves even more to be desired.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, July 6, 2022 at 12:46 a.m.

    I was trying to avoid criticizing Cook, because her lack of engagement was obvious.

  5. Paul Ferguson, July 5, 2022 at 3:32 p.m.

    GThere is too much lateral football at the back, killing momentum and allowing the other team more time to organize and sometimes steal the ball. More speed is needed at the back but blended with experience. When Megan got in ther was more coordination in the attack. The team is a work in progress and may need more active leadership.

  6. James Madison, July 5, 2022 at 11:52 p.m.

    I hate to say it, but all of the above adds up to questioning the coaching.  

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, July 6, 2022 at 12:57 a.m.

    What is telling to me is the mentality of the team. They don't play like champions, and every time the camera shows the coach he looks like he has no confidence in the team. Not just this last match, but always. For most every legendary coach in US sports history, there are stories about their ability to inspire athletes to greatness. John Wooden is top of my list.

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, July 7, 2022 at 6:21 a.m.

    Bob, Good point about the "Body Language" of the Coach... Players certainly pick Up on this.... Used to be a Big issue with Ggg... At least Ggg doesn't stand there anymore with his Too Tight Street Shirts, Arms Crossed, Deer-in-The-Headlights Look.... And his Bounce Passes have gotten better.!!!!

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