According to the standards of the American women’s national team, losing 3-0 in a major game is really embarrassing. Not only has the United States never lost such a big advantage in the Olympics, but people believe that this should not happen to the world’s number one team, the hottest team in the championship, and the defending champion of the World Cup, who happened to be in 44 games Undefeated. This caused panic among the fan base.
This Beat 5th place Sweden 3-0 Not good, but it is also an anomaly and is the product of multiple factors, all of which have led to the most serious USWNT failure in 14 years.
The new coach participates in his first major event
The broadcaster screamed, and you might yell the same words in front of the screen: “Can America hold the ball? Who can keep it?” This is the natural reaction of the audience to what happened during the game: The US charged forward and coughed quickly. Sweden came back from their throat in the opposite way. This pattern is repeated over and over again. This may be effective for Sweden, but it divides the United States, and the Americans urgently need to stop this cycle.
Admittedly, this is the first time the head coach Vlatko Andonovski has participated in a major event. Maybe he is unwilling to change things within 15-20 minutes of the first game to deal with some adversity. Nevertheless, it is fascinating that no player felt the need to try to calm the game, control the situation and give the team a chance to settle down. Over time, the United States seemed to become more and more impatient, running faster in Sweden, firing more long passes and taking more risks in the offense.
One of the themes on the eve of the Olympics was Andonowski’s experiment: he implemented in-game tactical adjustments and system changes to challenge his players to adapt to dynamic situations. The American players and coaching staff encountered one of these situations in the first half of the game against Sweden. We did not see any obvious adjustments that helped change Sweden’s dynamics or slow down the momentum.
Sam Mewis (pictured below) has been one of the top three American athletes in the Olympics. Even if she is not the leading actor, her performance on the court is always enough to make her an irreplaceable person. But the first adjustment that Andonowski chose to defeat Sweden 1-0 was to let her and Alex Morgan out at halftime. The first half did not perform well, but Maywes experienced those barren spells before and finally got rid of them.
The idea at the time might be that it was necessary to keep Lindsey Horan’s creativity in midfield because the US team was playing in the back. But Mewis has contributed to the offense in other ways through her productivity, her running, and her combined abilities. It will be interesting to see what she can do in the second half that is better for the United States.
Obviously, the team missed Julie Eltz
The reason why the American team performed better in the second half was the long-awaited Julie Eltz joining the game. We have seen firsthand how much a game changer she can become after returning from an injury suspension. Sweden’s blade attack dissipated-wave after wave of Swedish offense decreased-Eltz’s quality improved the organization of the midfield. This is not necessarily a criticism of her replacement Holland, who complemented Oetz well, but did not play this position in the same way.
Sweden boxed Holland at the start of the game and overwhelmed her with numbers in the first half. This begs the question: If Ertz (pictured below) is healthy and can play half a game, is she enough to start the game, maybe 60-70 minutes? In the next few days, Andonowski will be asked a lot about her situation, especially considering that the next two games become more important after the defeat in Sweden.
Too many players are absent
To put it better: some players perform poorly in a game and perform well. Crystal Dunn gave too many gifts, and Abby Dahlkemper’s defensive mistakes; to be fair, they have been under the tough attitude and pressure from the Swedes, and they rarely feel comfortable.
In the offense, Tobin Heath did not have an impact, Alex Morgan did not use one of her header opportunities to play well, and Christen Press seemed to be in the first half for a long time. On an island, her participation has improved in the second half as the US team’s play has improved.
Given that the Olympic football coach must choose an 18-person match day roster from the 22 available players, this makes the debate about who does not participate in these games very interesting. Katarina Macario (pictured below) was one of the players who failed to advance in the US team’s game against Sweden, and it was surprising that she was excluded.
Entering the game, it is not unfathomable to see the Swedish team taking the lead in the game. This is the fifth-ranked team in the world, and the Swedes have done it in the April game against the United States. Macario’s organizational skills and 1-on-1 skills are very special, and deserve a place on the roster when the team usually needs ideas. In hindsight, she would make an interesting choice, but Christie Mavis (Sam’s sister) was selected before her. In these Olympics, the substitute for the midfielder is Macario vs. Mavis. The other is a strange player.
USWNT needs better competition
The narrative has begun to circulate, and this is the “wake-up call” that USWNT needs to pull from the lofty height of its 44 unbeaten record. Although this is true, it is not because any sense of superiority may develop over time.
More importantly, USWNT needs to remember the feeling of playing against elite opponents. It does not often play against FIFA’s top 5 teams outside of official competitions. As we have seen in Sweden, these teams have raised completely different issues that need to be resolved. Since the end of the 2019 World Cup, the United States has played a total of two friendly matches (including Sweden in April, with a 1-1 away draw), and the COVID-19 pandemic must have played a significant role in this regard.
After the pandemic, it is clear that the American women’s team needs to return to more frequent matches with European powers-Germany at No. 2, France at No. 4, Holland at No. 5, Sweden at No. 6, England. Since the World Cup final in July 2019, they have only played against these teams 3 times. If the football game is to solve the problem on the field, then American players need to face the problematic team more frequently.
The end result is terrible. It seems that lack of composure is not positive, but this is not the worst performance of the United States. It feels worse than it actually is, because it seems how dangerous it is for Sweden to slice the United States at will. But USWNT also created a similar number of opportunities and hit the goal post twice. Nevertheless, with Sweden’s rule, this game will still fail.
This may be a by-product of this game. Sweden shows that if you can hit the seams of American defense and do it with speed and number of people, even Americans will succumb: they can be pulled out of position and stretched in all directions. “They found a lot of space in us,” Megan Rapino pointed out twice in the post-match press conference. During these rapid transitions, American attackers did not come back to help defend these spaces.
Attack space? Attack the United States? Many opponents, including the lower-ranked Olympic-adjusted varieties, even bother to pay attention. They know that they do not have the athletic ability, strength, speed and strength to keep up with USWNT. But the few countries that do this-and they all belong to the elite-may try to become bolder in the near future. Just like Sweden.