Thoughts about USWNT vs Colombia

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusreddittumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusreddittumblrmail

RJ Allen:

Hello I’m the Editor in Chief of Backline Soccer and I’m here with the Managing Editor, Chelsey Bush to talk about the weirdest USWNT game I’ve ever seen.

Chelsey Bush:

It was definitely not quite what we expected in some ways.

RJ Allen:

Let’s start off with the line up.

What was your reaction to the changes?

Chelsey Bush:

Mostly what I expected. I figured she’d rest one each of the OBs and CBs, and I was pleased to see Krieger start. I expected Rapinoe to come on late if she played at all, so I was surprised she started.

But pleased to see she was actually going to play. It was implied she wouldn’t see time until the knockout round.

RJ Allen:

I wasn’t expecting the changes she made even if I knew she would be making some of them. I was glad to see her resting Heath and Morgan.

But I was also expecting us to play a 1-1-8 and score 5 goals.

Chelsey Bush:

Colombia came out much stronger than I expected. Not the same team from the World Cup, but better organization and pressure than when we played them in friendlies this year.

And with better jerseys, I might add.

RJ Allen:

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

Megan Rapione gave up a free kick on a horrible tackle. (edited)

That’s what everyone is talking about, right?

Chelsey Bush:

Well, sort of.

RJ Allen:

That first goal might be the worst in game mistake Hope Solo has made in the last 8 or 9 years.

Chelsey Bush:

Certainly her worst game in quite some time, particularly for the National Team.

She won’t be forgetting about that first goal any time soon.

That’s not a mistake any USWNT goalkeeper would make, much less Hope Solo. And it looks even worse when you compare it to how fantastic she was against France.

RJ Allen:

As someone who covers the Reign I find it funny people are acting like Solo has been horrible for the Reign all year and it’s somehow leaking to her national team play.

She hasn’t been great for the Reign but she hasn’t been horrible either.

Chelsey Bush:

She hasn’t had a great NWSL season, but this was just that once a cycle mistake, not a sign of form.

RJ Allen:

I think the second goal was just a great strike. Maybe her position was a bit weak but I didn’t think it was a gross error.

I’m honestly more worried about us giving free kicks away near the 18 than I am about Solo.

Chelsey Bush:

Yeah, she maybe could have gotten a hand on it, but it was nothing like that first goal.

We gave away some dangerous free kicks to France, too.

And no one has forgotten Julie Johnston’s foul that should have been a red card during the WWC semifinal. If Sasic had made that, it could have changed everything.

Both of the free kicks that scored today were a result of stupid fouls, and they made us pay.

RJ Allen:

What is your number one take away in this game?

Chelsey Bush:

Center midfield is still a issue without Morgan Brian dropping back.

They played so many long balls, which I believe was part strategy against a team like Colombia where we have a height and athleticism advantage. I think the passing between the backline so much in the second half was also strategy to conserve energy. At the same time, they did struggle to move the ball up the field.

RJ Allen:

When is Ellis going to remember that Morgan Brian was the best DMid in the World Cup in the knock out rounds?

Chelsey Bush:

I’m not sure Ellis remembers much from the World Cup except that Rapinoe had great crosses, Kling had a goal line save, O’Hara scored (from what position, she does not recall), and the offense was criticized.

RJ Allen:

The midfield is such a mess that I think it’s starting to become a known fact.

Even teams like Colombia can take advantage. And a few of their best players weren’t on the field or the team.

I noticed that after Lloyd and Brian went off, there was no center mid capable of being the pivot. Long and Horan just don’t get it.

RJ Allen:

Horan is also less than a year into being a midfielder.

Long doesn’t have that excuse.

Whatever magic Long had when she first joined the team seems to be long gone.

Chelsey Bush:

Horan came on strong at first, too.

RJ Allen:

She did.

Chelsey Bush:

The problem is they’re being played out of position.

Square pegs, Morgan Brian-sized hole.

RJ Allen:

I will say it was nice having O’Hara and Krieger on the pitch at the same time.

O’Hara gave away one free kick but it was unrelated to her outside back play and just a silly move.

Chelsey Bush:

Yeah, just a poor foul.

RJ Allen:

How did you think Krieger and O’Hara did? We didn’t see a ton from them but they seemed to play lower.

Chelsey Bush:

Besides the above mentioned foul, they were fine.

Play as a whole was pretty conservative, and I think that was probably to save energy.

No real need for the fullbacks to spend 90 minutes rushing up and down the flanks.

RJ Allen:

One thing we didn’t do when Pinoe was in, and I think something everyone was hoping we would do, was score on a set piece.

Chelsey Bush:

Right.

Her corners were what everyone was waiting for.

They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great. Nor were Pugh’s, who except for her excellent goal did not have a great game.

I miss this team being a true threat on set pieces. These days, it’s hit or miss.

RJ Allen:

The very first cross she had in the box gave me hope.

And then her first corner kick was a bit long and it all went slowly down from there.

Chelsey Bush:

She wasn’t remarkable.

But she wasn’t a dumpster fire, either.

She was a player who hasn’t played in 9 months and has always been inconsistent.

RJ Allen:

What are some of your other take aways?

Chelsey Bush:

I think had it not been for that first goal, which Hope would have saved 99.99% of the time, people would ultimately look back on this game for what it was: a game we didn’t absolutely have to win, in a place notorious for draining teams, where we controlled the game but never fully pressed on the gas, and I think most of that was intentional.

Also, was so boring at times that I spent quite a bit of time wondering if Dunn’s hair dye was rubbing off onto her shirt.

RJ Allen:

I believe with the standings how they are the US will either play Australia or Sweden/China.

We’ll know more after the final games.

Who do you think would be the best for the US to play?

Chelsey Bush:

Get Australia out of the way.

They haven’t looked as good as we expected, but they were still dangerous coming into the tournament.

RJ Allen:

Who would have thought a week ago we’d want Australia first round of the knock outs?

Chelsey Bush:

It would be the tougher game, and the further they go, the better they’ll be.

RJ Allen:

Which team do you least want to play going into the knock out round?

Chelsey Bush:

Brazil

They’ve got the home crowd behind them, they have the best ball skills of any team in the Games. And they have much more than just Marta now. They’re looking really good.

RJ Allen:

At this point do you feel confident the USWNT can win gold?

Chelsey Bush:

They absolutely can.

Catch the rest of our thoughts on The Scouting Report on Thursday night, 8 pm EST.