Friday, May 9, 2014

USWNT vs Canada - International Friendly 05/08/2014

- Opponent: Canada (International Friendly)
- Location: Winnipeg
- Attendance: 28,255
- Final Score: 1-1
- Starting XI: Solo, Krieger, Engen, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg, Lloyd, Brian, Holiday, O’Reilly, Leroux, Wambach (Captain)
- Substitutions: Crystall Dunn (Klingenberg), Press (Wambach), Long (Brian), Rampone (Engen)
- Goals: Leroux (78')
- Bookings: None

This game looked a lot like what I have been saying recently about the Indy Eleven.  The team didn’t look together for stretches.  There were some good runs at times, but moments later there were odd turnovers.  This is a group of players that have significant time playing together and so I shouldn’t be comparing them to a start-up NASL team as far as not being in-sync with one another.  Canada played a really good game, with a backline full of youngsters (three of the four are less than 20-years old), with a very stout midfield, and a well-timed header off a corner kick for their goal so I’m going to admit that their play was a major part in the way that the U.S. played. 
Since my feed (got it right this time from the start) was coming and going for some reason (of course), I again missed portions of the game, but there didn’t seem to be the normal build-up from the team on the offensive end.  Seemed like the backline was trying to bypass the midfield completely and it was long ball after long ball.  The great folks at Equalizer Soccer even thought that Lauren Holiday "was too often sitting just in front of the back four in the first half; that's not where someone of her playmaking ability should be at all." I agree with them completely and the normally aggressive Lloyd was pretty much a non-factor for me, even though I believed she was Budweiser Woman of the Match.  Brian didn’t look nearly as composed in the holding midfielder role as she has looked in past games.  Couple all of that with good play by Canada, especially in the midfield and the young backline holding strong, and you have a U.S. team that has to fight its way to a 1-1 tie.

I also thought that the U.S. let themselves get caught up in the physicality that Canada brought to the game.  While the U.S. can match the physical nature of every team in the world, they let Canada dictate the style of play, particularly in the first half.  I don't think that is something that they want to get in the habit of doing, particularly with World Cup qualifiers coming up later this year.
Lauren Holiday celebrated her 100th cap, bringing her into a suprisingly low group of 30 women who have reached that milestone.  I would have thought that there would have been more to have reached that number, so it really highlights the career she has had with the WNT.  I thought that they normally honor players who are achieving major milestones like that by making them the captain for the game, but the captain's armband was noticeably absent.  Maybe she will be the captain at the next game, when she will be honored for her achievement.
Lauren Holiday: 100 Caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team

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