USWNT protection shuts out, rankings two in opposition to Colombia

USWNT protection shuts out, rankings two in opposition to Colombia

Through Laken Litman
FOX Sports activities Football Author

SANDY, Utah – And now it’s onto qualifying.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Girls’s Nationwide Crew beat Colombia 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium, sweeping this two-game pleasant sequence. Now the staff will to the CONCACAF W Championship event in Monterrey, Mexico, which doubles as qualifying for each the 2023 International Cup and 2024 Olympics.

Each targets from Tuesday night time’s victory got here from USWNT proper backs. Within the twenty second minute, Sofia Huerta compelled an personal purpose when her move — which used to be supposed for Megan Rapinoe — used to be redirected into the again of the web by way of Colombia’s Manuela Vanegas.

The U.S. didn’t rating once more till after a late-game climate lengthen when Kelley O’Hara stepped up and hammered house a rocket of a shot within the 77th minute. This used to be O’Hara’s 0.33 profession purpose for the nationwide staff. Her first got here all through the 2015 International Cup semifinal fit in opposition to Germany and her most up-to-date up till Tuesday used to be in a 2016 Olympic qualifying fit.

Prior to O’Hara clinched the win, the U.S. let Colombia hang out. Such a lot in order that early in the second one part, that they had a number of excellent seems within the field, forcing goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to make crucial saves.

Whilst issues just about were given a bit too highly spiced for the U.S., trainer Vlatko Andonovski discovered positives in his staff’s efficiency.

“The largest takeaways are that we have got an excellent staff and we discovered a technique to rating targets in several techniques,” Andonovski mentioned. “Even if these days I might say it used to be now not our best possible efficiency, we nonetheless controlled to attain targets and get off the sector effectively.”

Listed here are 3 takeaways from the fit.

Questions on completing?

Heading into this sport, Andonovski mentioned his staff’s major focal point could be attacking within the ultimate 0.33, discovering house and executing. In Saturday’s 3-0 win over Colombia, the U.S. began gradual, however scored 3 targets in the second one part. Tuesday, a equivalent theme opened up and in the end, two targets got here from two defenders, Huerta and O’Hara.

Given the volume of ability fighting for enjoying time at ahead, does the U.S. wish to be involved in their loss of completing all through those friendlies?

“I like defender targets,” Alex Morgan joked after the sport. “Greater than my very own targets.”

Morgan, who leads the NWSL with 11 targets in 10 video games, had a number of probabilities, together with at the ultimate play within the first part when she attempted to complete a good looking move by way of Huerta. She were given her foot at the ball, but it surely hit the crossbar. 

“We had been simply lacking a bit little bit of that ultimate move, a bit little bit of that of completion on purpose,” Morgan mentioned. “It’s going to come. 

“Another way, I felt like we broke them down now and then and we were given damaged down now and then, however by no means did we now not really feel in keep an eye on of the sport. So I believe that used to be crucial factor and I believe we advanced a bit bit extra and needed to face various things as that they had 5 backs or a sweeper or truly got here to the ball with a large number of numbers. With the ability to remedy that at the box with no water destroy or halftime is vital for this workforce.”

With qualifying briefly drawing near, Andonovski gave Sophia Smith the night time off after she scored two targets and performed a complete 90 mins on Saturday. Morgan, Rapinoe and Margaret Purce began up best whilst Mallory Pugh, Trinity Rodman and Ashley Hatch got here off the bench.

Andonovski isn’t involved in the loss of scoring from his forwards. No less than now not but. It is a more moderen workforce that’s nonetheless gelling.

“In a sport like this when the forwards are surrounded with 4 or 5 gamers at a time, it’s arduous to seek out them,” Andonovski mentioned. “The truth that Alex got here right into a excellent purpose scoring alternative and performed a pleasing ball to Sophia [in the first game] for the primary purpose, I imply that’s certain. The ones are little issues that we’re taking a look at — person performances in sure scenarios. 

“It’s arduous to guage [a player] in 90 mins. We need to have a look at explicit moments and the way we will be able to reflect the ones moments within the subsequent sport.”

Dealing with physicality will handiest assist in CONCACAF

Andonovski mentioned one of the treasured issues from those two video games in opposition to Colombia used to be the physicality. That is the kind of taste the U.S. will see from CONCACAF fighters, so scheduling Colombia proper sooner than the event used to be the most efficient factor they may have achieved. 

“It used to be an excellent finding out alternative for us,” Andonovski mentioned.

After the sport, Andonovski spoke with a couple of gamers one-on-one to briefly get their ideas on how issues performed out. He spent a minimum of 10 mins at the box with Rapinoe, speaking X’s and O’s. Andonovski has mentioned a couple of instances how vital Rapinoe is for this staff and that he enjoys bouncing concepts off of her. 

“It sort of feels all of us agree that that is the kind of sport we would possibly face in CONCACAF,” Andonovski mentioned. “It used to be nice for us to peer what we may have achieved otherwise and what we may have achieved that will have got us luck even more straightforward. That’s why we picked this opponent, as a result of we felt adore it used to be going to give an image of what we are gonna see and we will be able to’t be pissed off about it as a result of we knew what we had been going to stand entering it.

“Each and every sport is a finding out alternative till we move to the event, after which within the event, it is must-win.”

Issues were given a little bit chippy Tuesday on a couple of other events. Within the first part, Morgan used to be driven down within the field however the referee didn’t name a nasty, then on the finish of the fit, a combat just about broke out between a couple of Colombia gamers and Ashley Hatch and Kristie Mewis.

“It used to be bodily and really, very tight,” Andonovski mentioned. “And it’s excellent for us to arrange for it.”

What’s subsequent?

The U.S. will head without delay to Monterrey on Wednesday and get started making ready for the CONCACAF W Championship, which runs from July 4-18. Andonovski mentioned Tuesday he just about is aware of who the beginning XI might be all through the event.

“It’s now not arduous to expect who’s going to be at the box,” he mentioned.

Here’s the whole lot that’s at stake:

This event serves as automated qualifying for the 2023 International Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the 2024 Paris Olympics and the inaugural 2024 CONCACAF W Gold Cup.

The USWNT are the reigning champions and had been drawn into Workforce A. They face Haiti on Monday, July 4 at 7 p.m. ET, Jamaica on Thursday, July 6 at 7 p.m. ET and Mexico on Monday, July 11 at 10 p.m. ET. At the different facet of the bracket in Workforce B are Canada, Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.

The highest two finishers from every workforce after round-robin play will advance to the semifinals and earn International Cup berths. The third-place finisher in every workforce will play in a 10-team inter-confederation playoff event in February 2023 and the highest 3 finishers from there’ll qualify for the lately expanded 32-team International Cup.   

The winner of the Concacaf W Championship may also robotically qualify for the 2024 Olympics and 2024 Gold Cup, whilst the second one and 0.33 position finishers will head to a playoff in September 2023 to earn their spots in either one of the ones respective tournaments.

Laken Litman covers faculty soccer, faculty basketball and football for FOX Sports activities. She up to now lined faculty soccer, faculty basketball, the U.S. Girls’s Nationwide Football Crew and the Olympics at Sports activities Illustrated, USA As of late and The Indianapolis Megastar. Her first e-book, written in partnership with Rizzoli and Sports activities Illustrated and titled “Sturdy Like a Lady,” used to be printed in spring 2022 marking the fiftieth anniversary of Identify IX.

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