USA-Ireland Women's Friendly Player Ratings

April 8 in Austin, Texas
USA 2 Ireland 0. Goals: Fox 37, Horan 80.
Att.: 20,593 (sellout).

* * * * * * * * * *

In its second-to-last game before Coach Vlatko Andonovski announces the USA's 23-player Women's World Cup roster, the USA beat a tenacious Ireland 2-0 in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. In the first half, outside back Emily Fox scored her first national team goal and Lindsey Horan converted a second-half penalty kick after she was fouled. Mallory Swanson, who came into the game with a 6-game scoring streak (8 goals), was stretchered off late in the second half and taken to the hospital with a knee injury. 

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


Along with the rest of her team, Alyssa Naeher looked a little rattled in the first half when the Irish were at their strongest. But she pulled off the shutout — batted the ball off the goal line after deflecting a tight-angled shot — with help from the backline when Ireland pulled off a series of rapid-fired shots. Naeher, who snagged a couple crosses, sparked some counters with good throws and punts.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) 90/0 (34)


Crystal Dunn won almost all her one-on-one battles, forcing Ireland to try advancing on their left side. In small spaces she was a little less effective but had several dangerous crosses in the second half. The U.S. center backs Becky Sauerbrunn and Naomi Girma were both great in the air and at slowing down Ireland’s counterattacks. There were a few times they were slow to clear the ball, leading to frenzies in their box — particularly early on in the first half.  They showed more comfort on the ball in the second half. Girma, the less experienced U.S. starting defender, headed an Irish delivery toward her own goal in the 72nd minute but it landed safely into Naeher's hands. Emily Fox was struggling defensively against Ireland’s strong left flank, losing the ball to pressure, giving up a corner kick, and misplacing a few passes. But besides becoming more composed defensively, she picked up the ball outside of Ireland’s box, took a couple touches to the right, and, shrugging off her defender, ripped a great shot into the corner pocket.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns) 131/24 (30)

Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave) 16/0 (22)

Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) 215/0 (37)

Emily Fox (NC Courage) 29/1 (24)


The U.S. midfield struggled to track runs in defensive transition moments and were too slow on the ball in front of Ireland’s goal to create meaningful chances. They were good at rotating the ball, but ran out of ideas sometimes, seldomly attacking through the middle. Lindsey Horan kept the ball well but including in the box, like when she won and then scored the penalty kick that was USA’s insurance goal. The trio usually tried to isolate its wingers down the line in one on one situations. The strategy worked a few times, particularly when dynamic Rose Lavelle did it. Andi Sullivan swept in front of the backline, ensuring Horan and Lavelle to focus on attacking, and she also relayed the ball to Fox on the first U.S. goal.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Rose Lavelle (OL Reign) 89/24 (27)

Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit) 43/3 (27)

Lindsey Horan (Lyon, FRA) 128/27 (28)


Mallory Swanson, before her injury, along with Sophia Smith, were the team’s most dangerous players on the ball. Smith coped with some tough defending by the Irish, but in the open field she was unstoppable. She beat three Irish defenders in the 18th minute who converged on her near the corner flag and just missed setting up a scoring chance. Alex Morgan kept a compact, suffocating defense occupied enough that the Irish often neglected to close-in on her teammates. On the other end, Morgan blocked a header off the line following an Irish corner kick.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars) 88/32 (24)

Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave) 205/121 (33)

Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns) 28/12 (22)


Trinity Rodman will feel that she should’ve scored at least one, maybe two goals. Her worst miss was a one-on-one with the goalkeeeper that she put well over. Julie Ertz made an instant impact, winning the ball deep in Ireland’s half and then almost scoring from a corner minutes later. She played the ball into the penalty area on the play that led to USA’s penalty kick. Her rustiness showed with a mis-timed that earned her a yellow card. Ashley Hatch almost scored twice with half-chances, and Emily Sonnett kept the momentum on the left side strong. The subs Andonovski made injected some energy into the USA, which proceeded to dominate Ireland for the last 25 minutes. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit) 16/2 (20)

Julie Ertz (Unattached) 117/20 (31)

Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit) 18/5 (27)

Emily Sonnett (OL Reign) 74/1 (29)

Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit) 23/3 (24)

HISTORY: Saturday's result makes the all-time USA record against Ireland 14 games, 14 wins, 50 goals scored, 1 goals conceded.

NOTABLE: Ireland played four players who were born and raised in the USA and played college ball: goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan (Syracuse Univ.), midfield Sinead Farrelly (Univ. of Virginia), forward Marissa Sheva (Penn State) and forward Kyra Carusa (Stanford and Georgetown).

UP NEXT: The USA faces Ireland again on Tuesday, April 11 in St. Louis, Missouri (7:30 ET, HBO Max, Universo, Peacock).

April 8 in Austin, Texas
USA 2 Ireland 0. Goals: Fox 37, Horan 80.
USA — Naeher; Fox, Girma, Sauerbrunn, Dunn (Sonnett, 68); Lavelle (Sanchez, 80), Sullivan (Ertz, 68), Horan; Smith, Morgan (Hatch, 68), Swanson (Rodman, 45+1).
Ireland — Brosnan; Payne, Mannion (Littlejohn, 60), Quinn, Caldwell, McCabe; Farrelly (O'Gorman, 60), O'Sullivan, Connolly, Sheva (O'Hanlon, 86); Carusa.
Yellow cards: USA — Ertz 72. Ireland — Mannion 30.
Referee: Carly Shaw-MacLaren (Cananda) AR1: Melissa Snedden (Cananda) AR2: Gabrielle Lemieux (Cananda) 4th Official: Jasmine Peralta (USA).
Att.: 20,593 (sellout).

Shots: 25/6
Shots on target: 8/1
Saves: 0/6
Corner Kicks: 10/3
Fouls: 5/13
Offside: 0/1
Possession: 70%/30%

Photo: Mike Woitalla

11 comments about "USA-Ireland Women's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. James Madison, April 8, 2023 at 8:14 p.m.

    Inflated descriptions and ratings.  Dunn, for example, allowed shot that Naeher almos deflected into the goal. Morgan was non-existent. Smith was strong on the right, but  less so when she shifted to the left in order to give Rosman the right. Smth's intent on goal showed when she ran free near the and kept the ball only to have her shot blocked instead of laying it off to an onrushing Hatch/Rodman. 

  2. Santiago 1314, April 9, 2023 at 12:35 a.m.

    23.!?!?!?.... Talk about Un-"Equity".!!!
    How come the XY, get 26 player Roster;
    But, the XX only get 23 Player Roster !!!
    Where is Rapinoe when you Need XX.???
    Time for a Lawsuit, I would say.!!!

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, April 9, 2023 at 7:44 a.m.

    I know you are being sarcastic, but you should know that the WNT has a 26-player roster for this camp.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, April 9, 2023 at 7:57 a.m.

    Let me Clarify; for the World Cup AuNz 23 vs 26

  5. Santiago 1314, April 9, 2023 at 12:36 a.m.

    23.!?!?!?.... Talk about Un-"Equity".!!!
    How come the XY, get 26 player Roster;
    But, the XX only get 23 Player Roster !!!
    Where is Rapinoe when you Need XX.???
    Time for a Lawsuit, I would say.!!!

  6. frank schoon, April 9, 2023 at 9:13 a.m.

    Lets face it our backline puts me to sleep. That backline breaks all the Golden Rules of how to play good EFFICIENT soccer. To me, if you take it a step further, it calls in the question of all the lousy coaching these women have had along the way in the past 10years, presently on their club teams and on the NT.

    How can I as coach sit on the bench like Andonovski and watch this garbage without embarrassing myself for the product I've created working with these women in the past 2years.  Get this ,he has an assisstent next to him watching a monitor studiously and pointing out things to Andonovski. This assistant could just as well be watching Bugs Bunny on the Cartoon Network, for obviously he doesn't and 'Ando' don't see what is really going on. But unfortunately this is what happens when today's coaches are employing technical gadgets, beepers, satellites, binoculars, phones, spyware. Coaches have become so programmed with garbage and they have become "LAPTOP" coaches. And not to mention, the increase in coaching staff, assistant coaches, dieticians, warmup coach, mental coach, psychologists,  in sum, you need either a extra plane or bus to take the extra number of coaches....

    You would think, with all this extra aid in coaching, the game, the players , the level of sophistication of playing has gotton so high and phenominally smooth that even Walt Disney Studios could replicate it on a cartoon level.

    Cruyff once stated that he considers only about 4 coaches in the world that can 'SEE' the game. He also stated most coaches perhaps can 'see' or are aware of at most 1 or 2 players, while he's aware of all 11. Cruyff mentioned those 4 coaches have the ability to change the game through making only one substitution. Today, the coaching world tries to get as close to 'seeing' the game by employing all these technical gadgets and assistants but are not getting anywhere close. Van Hanegem, a Dutch great,  respected as the second Cruyff, as far as knowledge of the game goes, stated not too long ago, "that we're steadily losing the real essence of the game, when we employ bring all this non-essential garbage", which has not improved the players on a mental or technical level. 

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  7. frank schoon, April 9, 2023 at 9:52 a.m.

    Lets face it ,when you use a monitor without using employing your own eyes watching the game, taking into account the flows, the movements, the positionings, the reading of what could happen and be mindful of it, how the specific abilities of the players can and can't influence at the moment and all the other factors important at that moment, than in conclusion the monitor will not help but only show result of the aforementioned...

    Look at the backline and see the mistakes in light of efficient and fast play. Take Girma, the right centerback, she represents basically all of the centerbacks in how they play. She totally LACKS any creativity. Golden Rule one, the backline should pass the ball in a manner that beats or bypasses an opponent. Only in rare instances she does when trying to kick long which she is not good at...
    Golden Rule two, she does not pass the ball thinking in a manner that creates a SOLUTION but instead only shifts the problem. Golden Rule Three, most of her passes are SQUARE , which does absolutely nothing for the buildup. You don't need a monitor to point that out to you...and apparently how long has this been going on in US play.

    Golden Rule Four, when building up you must do it quick as possible therefore you don't give the opponent time to adjust, YEAH, RIGHT''!!!!!  That is all what the opponents are given , TIME TO ADJUST. It is so pathetic watching Girma give a square pass TO THE FEET of the left centerback who has no opponent near and has tons of space around her to able to plan a turnip garden....
    Golden Rule Five, speed of play, tempo, is to pass the ball into space in front of the leftcenterback, thereby she able to gain more space forwards giving a passing range much shorter than if she didn't move. REALIZE, by passing to her feet, she CAN'T move but has to wait for the ball ,which not only takes her eyes off of what is downfield but gives the time to opponents to adjust as a unit defensively.

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  8. frank schoon, April 9, 2023 at 10:05 a.m.

    Golden Rule Six, Girma should pass the ball after the opponent COMMITS to you but instead she passes the ball to an area where her immediate opponent can help out on defense.
    But the most important GOLDEN RULE this team continuously does not follow is that you should only pass to an outside back is she runs down the flank on attack. But what do we CONSTANTLY see is that the center back passes to the stationary outside back who has no room to attack for by the time she gets the ball the opponent have shifted and blocked off any forward movement for the whole Irish just shifts over.....When you pass to the outside who can't attack forward, the other side of flank is USELESS, meaning the teaming is in 7v10 mode of play.

    Horan should position herself in a manner around midfield with a view facing forward. She at midfield should play a little closer to the front line for she handles the ball best and has the most poise. Use her strength and she should not be caught having to run down the left flank for she's wasted there.

    On corners we are weak when we position zonally for if the opponent crosses the ball  to let it go between the goalie and the zonal line leaving our players very weak defensively.... I don't get why team sets up zonally for the attacking the ability to make runs ,jumping higher than the stationary defense..

    In sum, the style and poor level of play has not improved in women's soccer for all we get is the same, consistent stale pattern of soccer offered to women/girls soccer. Unfortunately, all you hear is how good Swanson, Smith, what talent....blah, blah and totally forget the poor soccer we play and that's not going to future talent in the long run

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, April 9, 2023 at 11:33 a.m.

    You are Spot on Frank...
    When we get some XYTs on the Team, it will be more Exciting.,!!!

  10. Santiago 1314 replied, April 10, 2023 at 10:47 a.m.

    It's Almost like Watching the Paint Dry.!!!

    Maybe they are just Trying to Avoid Injury before The World Cup.??? 

    Reasonable and Logical, after What has Happened in the Past, and even this game.
    (Nature of "The Beast")
    OR; It Could be, We are in a IRREVERSIBLE "Slouching to Gamorahh" as the Rest of the XX teams in the World are Improving their Level and Even Surpassing ours.!!!

  11. frank schoon replied, April 10, 2023 at 11:10 a.m.

    Santi, it is not about trying to avoid injury but they are failing to do basics. Like why do you does the centerback pass the ball out to the outside back who is standing stationary waiting for the ball to come when she has no room to make a run upfield down the flank to attack because it is all blocked off by the opponents and as a result make the opposite flank of ours totally useless. That has nothing to do with worrying getting hurt...What is the use of passing to a outside back who can't move forwards and blocked by whole unit of opponents....

    The backfield passes are so slow along with their movement with the ball which looks so predictable giving the opponent so much time to move as a unit defensively...again that has nothing to do with being hurt... Our team is a horror when it comes to playing good soccer...

    This failure of unable even the basics of good soccer can be laid squarely upon the USSF ,along with the idiots with their A-licenses, who obviously can't teach this game properly.

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