The US women’s national team christened the US’s newest soccer stadium, Q2 Field in Austin, Texas, with a 2-0 win over Nigeria in what was the players’ last chance to impress. to head coach Vlatko Andonovski before he names his latest 18-player Olympic roster.
The Winger Christen Press stole the show again and their quick thinking and reactions on the attack helped bring down the toughest opponent the USWNT faced in their three-game set-up series this month. He scored the first goal with a left-footed shot for the first time and delivered a spectacular direct pass for the second goal.
Here are four key takeaways from the match:
The press delivers. . . again
She was the top USWNT player at this Olympic prep camp and we’re used to seeing her give birth regularly, but this stat really puts it in perspective:
Press says that she has become a better player over the last year and that the rest she received before this camp served her well. But his consistent performances and the desire he displays in each of his USWNT appearances are perhaps best captured by these words he shared after the game.
“I think about my journey and sometimes how I reflect on my own career and it’s hard to believe that I’m here,” he said. “So I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have with the national team and I will always continue to fight to score goals.”
Kristie Mewis is in the bubble
He made a change in midfield in place of starter Rose Lavelle, but couldn’t really make a mark on the game. As one of the bubble players for the Olympics, it wasn’t a performance that moved her up the depth chart. But that can also be attributed to the type of game that developed and Andonovski said the same after the match.
It can be argued that his experience, versatility, and pace of work could come in handy in Tokyo, but they may not yet be enough to justify a spot when Andonovski only has 18 spots available. But if Julie Ertz’s recovery doesn’t go as planned, Andonovski has previously said that he hopes Ertz has recovered from his knee injury in time for the farewell series, that could bring Mewis back to the scene.
Lloyd or Morgan as center forward?
Given the high profile of both stars, it will be tempting in the coming weeks to have a debate about who the headline should be. Carli Lloyd received the nod in two of the last three games after Alex Morgan started against Portugal.
Of course, lineup decisions are ultimately up to the opponent, and the USWNT saw three teams opting for defense-first approaches. Based on what we saw in the games, Lloyd is a solid option against teams that are left behind by their pressure and their ability to improvise. Having the taller striker also as a playmaker offers additional ways to resolve a congested final third.
Less traffic and more space benefit Morgan’s game. Sure, she can be a poacher for goals in the box, but she’s most dangerous when she can get to the defense with a steamhead. There will be games at the Olympics and periods within games, when the space will be there to be exploited.
Rose Lavelle cannot be replaced
She can, but no one in the current US group has the same qualities that Lavelle brings to the team in midfield. Her skill, vision and one-on-one playstyle (constantly looking for connections and combinations with the attackers around her) give the USWNT a flow and rhythm to her attacking game, even on streaks, that was difficult to recreate in her absence. against Nigeria.
Pushing Lindsey Horan from No. 6 into an offensive midfield position late in the game felt in part like Andonovski’s attempt to inject some of the passing style Lavelle would normally bring.
But Andonovski seemed confident that Lavelle will be ready for the pre-Olympic farewell series, despite talk of a walking boot on the ESPN broadcast.