My take away from this game is that Coach Jill Ellis wanted to test her team in a tournament format to prepare for the WWC. They will play 3 matches in 7 days including travel while observing players physical, mental states in game, recovery time, nutrition, training, preparation, etc. Basically, they are test driving the Lamborghini against three of the top teams in the world. That is goal number one.
A 2-2 draw vs Japan isn’t the end of the world. The team learned a few things and look to improve skills individually and collectively. The defense was unable to hold two leads. Remember, no Sauerbrunn, no Horan tonight. Sonnett, Davidson and Dahlkemper are inexperienced players at this level and it showed. However, great minutes in a match that will serve them down the road. O’Hara and Morgan most likely do NOT come out if this was a World Cup game.
On the plus side, Rapinoe continues to be the best player on the pitch. She has a nose for the goal, amazing set piece execution (while that dipping strike didn’t go in it shows that she is capable and very dangerous), and a work rate that allows her to drop deep in help defense. How easy did she make that goal look? Very.
Christen Press. Fastest player on the team and she made a statement upon her entry. The Japanese defenders simply could not mark her or keep up with her. Immediate impact player. Her effort on the flank and a quality service on the go ahead goal made the finish by Morgan look easy. Kudos to Morgan for a “side netting” goal via her chest. Not sure I have seen that before and she made it look easy.
Looking forward to Saturday’s match in Nashville for USA vs England. You just know the English side would LOVE to beat the USWNT in the US to make a statement of their own. I am always reminded of the great HBO Miniseries, “John Adams” when the USA and England get together. We know how that turned out. Lol. (Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John & Abigail Adams is one for the ages.)
I will be live tweeting the game which begins at 4:30 on FOX! Join me on twitter @teeoffwithjamie so we can discuss the finer points of the beautiful game. 🙂