In the last game before the Olympics, the performance of the U.S. women’s national football team stunned the upcoming opponents. The USWNT is unbeaten in 44 consecutive games and is a popular candidate for the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics. Monday’s game against Mexico proved the reason.
The final score was 4-0, the same as the first game of the two series against La Tri-but the final impression left by USWNT was very different from the first game: this impression was long enough to last the first group match against Sweden There are still 16 days.
“This is a statement to ourselves, we cannot take any game for granted,” said captain Becky Sauerbrunn. “Every game we have to make a statement to ourselves, because sometimes we are our own worst enemy.”
The United States walked out of the gate with a goal, overwhelming Mexico with relentless pressure, greedy appetite for the second goal and overwhelming offensive data, leading 2-0 in 11 minutes (Lindsey Horan and Carli Lloyd goals). After a banned goal and a penalty missed by the referee, USWNT continued to work hard and scored the first half with two other goals (own goal and Tobin Heath).
The United States is prolific and has found different ways of scoring. Every player wants to get involved, including the defenders. For 45 minutes, American women were full of aggressiveness and enthusiasm: this was not always clear and accurate, but when the game started, the United States was unstoppable.
“We showed off a good football brand today and scored some good goals,” coach Vlatko Andonovsky said of the game, regretting the unexpected whistle later. The goal is invalid. He called it “the most beautiful goal we scored as a team.”
USWNT dialed it back in the second half, almost out of pity. The first half was enough to give us a glimpse of what will happen when the game starts.
Will that be the starting lineup against Sweden?
Andonowski talked about now expanding the team of 22 Olympians, all of whom have starting qualities, but each combination of these players will not produce the same results.
Viewing his starting lineup against Mexico as the first game against the group’s most difficult opponent (Sweden) is not far-fetched: four defenders and three midfielders (Sam Mavis, Holland, Rose) Lavelle) seems to be locked, Heath and Lloyd are ahead of Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan in two of the three forward positions.
This is a starting combination that makes the USWNT offense full of vitality, creativity, improvisation and fast passing combinations, enough to overwhelm most opponents. The chances of scoring in the first half continued.
“The courage to participate in as many games as possible,” Holland said of the new changes in USWNT’s identity entering the 2021 Olympics. “I think you saw some combo games today, one-on-two, cheeky movies, etc. just to add another evolution to our game and how we play transition [attack] In our back pockets, we know that we can always be the best team in the world. “
One day experiment
One of the main reasons why the US team has a firm foothold on the front foot is that the deeper midfielder Holland starts the game with three other forwards (basically a 3-3-4 formation). Andonovsky is testing the tactical settings of the US team when it needs to push the goal. It produced the expected result-a goal was scored in just six minutes-and, more importantly, it set the tone for the team throughout the first half.
Andonowski said before the game that he will use this final adjustment game to conduct these types of experiments. He also ended the game with a score of 5-4-1 and three central defenders, simulating a situation where the United States may need to lock in to protect the result.
“For us, it’s not just executing it here (in the game), but also creating pictures,” Andonovsky (above) explained, referring to actual pictures, “and use it Create a learning opportunity so that we can analyze it further to see what the horizontal and vertical distances are between players and how they screen each other.”
Although these changes may have the desired effect on Mexico, ranked 28th, Sweden, ranked 5th, Australia ranked 9th, and New Zealand ranked 22nd, may make very different adjustments to the adjustment.
What are Julie Ertz’s plans?
Eltz (pictured below) was seen watching the game in the suite on the radio. She will go to the Olympics without seeing any preparation time for the official competition.
In the NWSL game against the Chicago Red Stars on May 17, she was still recovering from an MCL injury to her right knee. Andonowski said in May that USWNT “will be very careful in how we approach her recovery”, but he did not ask the sports news whether Eltz’s recovery schedule could make her the first to start against Sweden. When choosing a game, he did not provide any details.
“Juie Ertz is most likely, or most definitely, will be involved in those (dogfights) and will play like everyone else,” Andonovsky said of the team fights that the team will spend after arriving in Japan.
Therefore, Holland scored with an amazing volley and is likely to continue to replace Etz as a midfielder to start the Olympics, because she has been in the game since Eltz was injured. As the game progresses, this will give USWNT time to slowly reintegrate Ertz.
She played very well,” Andonovsky said of Holland’s performance on Monday. “She is a football player through and through-understand the game, understand the game, no matter where she plays, she will Well done, she has proved it today. “
In a few days, the team will travel to Japan to participate in the pre-Olympic training camp in Miyazaki, the southern island of Kyushu.
But in the two weeks before the first game against Sweden, USWNT has no plans to play against other teams. Mexico is the last opponent before the opening of the Olympic Games on July 21.
Andonowski said: “It is very likely that we cannot arrange anything because of our COVID agreement. These agreements are very strict.” “Of course, we can do it.” [schedule matches against other teams], But we don’t want to take risks. Therefore, all melees will be carried out behind closed doors, in-team melee. “
The fact that it will be a melee from now on is not necessarily negative. American players often mention that USWNT training games are better than any competitive games.
“I think we are ready and moving in the right direction,” Andonowski confidently said of his team’s preparations for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. “We are slowly but surely completing all necessary tasks to make full preparations for the Olympics.”