USA lacks that 2019 magic at this Girls’s World Cup

USA Fifa Women's World Cup

US gamers look ahead to a nook kick in the course of the Girls’s World Cup Group E soccer match between Portugal and the USA at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. (AP Picture/Andrew Cornaga)

America is clearly not the dominant workforce that received the 2019 Girls’s World Cup.

The Individuals have superior to the knockout stage at this version of the match, however simply barely after a 0-0 draw with Portugal of their closing group match. After the ultimate whistle on Tuesday evening, Alex Morgan stood expressionless along with her palms on her hips.

It was a glance of frustration. If the Individuals don’t decide up their play, their run to a 3rd straight World Cup title might quickly be over.

With only one win and a pair of attracts, the USA fell to second in Group E behind the Netherlands. The Individuals now head to Melbourne, Australia, for a Spherical of 16 match towards the highest finisher from Group G, which wraps up Wednesday.

America scored simply 4 targets in group play — a pointy distinction to the 18 they scored within the group in 2019. In every of their first six matches 4 years in the past in France, the Individuals scored throughout the opening 12 minutes.

“I believe there’s issues we are able to do higher for certain, issues we might do higher from the final couple of video games. However I’m not going to dwell on it. It’s what it’s,” veteran Megan Rapinoe stated. “We have to play higher and we all know that. We have to be just a little bit extra fluid and I believe just a bit bit extra linked offensively.”

The workforce has 14 gamers who’re making their first look in a World Cup, and for 12 of them, it’s their first huge worldwide match. Coach Vlatko Andonovski targeted on creating younger expertise after the USA settled for a disappointing bronze medal on the Tokyo Olympics.

Andonovski rolled out the identical lineup for the primary two matches of the group stage towards Vietnam and the Netherlands. The starters had by no means performed collectively earlier than.

Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, who each scored within the 2-0 victory over the Netherlands within the World Cup closing 4 years in the past in France, had picked up accidents within the run-up to the match and their minutes have been restricted.

When Lavelle was subbed into the group match towards the Dutch final Thursday, she gave the workforce a second-half spark and served up the nook kick to Lindsey Horan for the aim that pulled the U.S. right into a 1-1 draw.

Hoping to spice up the assault, Andonovski modified issues up towards Portugal, beginning Lavelle for midfielder Savannah DeMelo and changing ahead Trinity Rodman with Lynn Williams. Nonetheless, the scoring points endured.

Lavelle picked up her second yellow card within the match towards Portugal, that means she received’t be accessible to play on Sunday in Melbourne.

Alex Morgan US Fifa Women's World Cup

United States’ Alex Morgan, proper, makes an attempt a shot as Portugal’s Ana Borges blocks in the course of the Girls’s World Cup Group E soccer match between Portugal and the USA at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. (AP Picture/Andrew Cornaga)

Portugal practically scored in stoppage time, however Ana Capeta’s blast hit the submit. A loss to the Portuguese would have despatched the Individuals dwelling after the group stage for the primary time at a World Cup or an Olympics.

Following the draw, former US ahead Carli Lloyd blasted the workforce as “uninspiring.”

“Disappointing. They don’t look match. They’re taking part in as people and the techniques are too predictable,” Lloyd stated on the Fox Sports activities postgame present.

Andonovski was requested afterward about Lloyd’s feedback.

“One factor that I need to say is that this workforce needed to win this sport greater than anything, and so they’ve put all the things they might in preparation for this match and in each sport,” Andonovski stated. “To query the mentality of this workforce, to query the willingness to win, to compete, I believe it’s insane.”

America can also be lacking Mallory Swanson’s scoring punch and Becky Sauerbrunn’s veteran management on the backline. Swanson, the workforce’s prime scorer this 12 months, tore her patella tendon in an exhibition match with Eire in April. Then Sauerbrunn, the workforce’s captain, introduced in June that she was unable to recover from a foot damage in time for the match.

The Individuals, who’ve received a file 4 World Cups, had not wanted the third and closing group-stage match to clinch a spot within the knockout spherical since 2007.

Going into the match towards Portugal, the USA sat atop Group E even on factors with the Netherlands however holding an edge on aim differential. The Dutch erased that benefit and took the group lead with a decisive 7-0 victory over Vietnam, in a match performed concurrently Tuesday evening in Dunedin.

The Netherlands now heads to Sydney to face the second-place workforce from Group G, which incorporates Sweden, South Africa, Italy and Argentina. America performs the group’s prime workforce — doubtless Sweden. If the U.S. can win in Melbourne, it’s again to Auckland for the quarterfinals.

However there’s no assure until the workforce can discover that 2019 magic once more. And quick.

“I do know this workforce and I do know what we’re able to,” Morgan stated. “Simply because it hasn’t clicked each second on the sector and we’re not placing targets at the back of the web doesn’t imply that these aren’t the proper gamers for the job. The boldness is there, now we simply need to show it out on the sector.”


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