Editor’s Note: A quick thank you to Dan Weirsema of FBM who’s been instrumental in both getting us into and up to speed on the USWNT.
The US women’s team comes out victorious in their game-to-go (to another playoff series) against Costa Rica in Mexico this evening, 3-0.
While the US was the better team, today was hardly a dominant performance as the ladies survived mainly on skill and physicality more than game play and tactics.
Two for Abby Wambach and one for Lauren Cheney were enough to take the win.
Since Pia Sundhage and I have the same haircut, I’ll channel my inner Pia here in making the following points:
• Accurately pointed out to me on Twitter, “the girls showing the wear of 5 games in two weeks. Lots of heavy legs. That’s a lot to ask.”
That comment in response to my tweet that the women were woefully impatient with the ball and failed miserably to move off the ball.
Few strategic runs were made ahead of the possession and the forwards and fellow midfielders failed to effectively check back to the ball. This left Shannon Boxx and friends having to do a lot of work to move the ball and often having to move it to the flank, where further lack of movement shut down an attack.
This will get better from the ladies and must.
• Costa Rica got loose on breakaways on a few occasion, one a narrow miss of the post that could have made it 2-1 (remember Luis Fabiano-Jay DeMerit in Brazil) and been a momentum changer.
The US Women played a mid-to-high line in defense and the defender were often caught squared upfield. Ahead of them the middies failed to shield and angle their offenders allowing the Costa Rican midfielders a wide breadth of space to play balls ahead. That’s a simple fundamentals error that can be fixed.
• I had thought Yael Averbuch would have been a critical figure however she didn’t enter until late. I’m going to be watching Averbuch who is excellent–when on–in terms of managing the tempo of possession and the attack, a skill the US Women wanted for today.
Having said that Averbuch needs to improve on her clumsy tackling.
• Had to be impressed with the play of Lauren Cheney, Lori Lindsey (who feathered a gorgeous pass to an in-cutting Abby Wambach for the score) and, of course, Wambach herself.
• Given that we interviewed last week, I focused quite a bit on Heather O’Reilly, man she has a great combination of power and speed. The US didn’t get their fullbacks into the attack often enough, but I’d like to Reilly slightly interior an outside fullback run. She’s got the strength to take on a centerback and the speed to go around them. Let’s hope Pia gets her even more involved forward in the run of play.
Next up? Gelato time!