Thursday, October 2, 2014

USWNT 2015 World Cup Qualifying roster

Coach Jill Ellis' 20 woman roster was possibly leaked today ahead of the U.S. Women's National Team's qualifying games in the next couple of weeks.  The roster was due to CONCACAF yesterday, but it doesn't look like it was meant for the public just yet.

Notable absences from the recent camp and friendlies include Allie Long, Shannon Boxx, Kristie Mewis, Julie Johnston, Stephanie Cox, Rachel Van Hollebeke, Nicole Barnhart and Alyssa Naeher.

Which leaves the roster as follows:
Goalkeepers - Hope Solo, Ashlyn Harris
Defenders - Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn, Whitney Engen, Ali Krieger, Meghan Klingenberg, Kelley O’Hara, Crystal Dunn
Midfielders - Lauren Holiday, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Heather O’Reilly, Morgan Brian
Forwards - Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Sydney Leroux, Amy Rodriguez

I'm not completely surprised by the selections with the exception of maybe the midfield because I don't see a natural holding midfield player.  Morgan Brian has been playing it lately, but I think the rest of them feel more comfortable in the attacking midfield role in Ellis' 4-4-2 lineup.  Though she has been toying with a 4-3-3 lineup, so the midfield is a little more fluid in where they are playing.  Given her 4-3-3 lineups, the roster seems about right.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I think Coach Ellis should consider doing something radical, especially with the roster that she is bringing to the qualifying games.  Coach Ellis has already started toying with the idea of utilizing her riches at forward with the 4-3-3.  Even if just once, I want to see her scare the crap out of the rest of the world and start a game with a 4-2-4.

Can you imagine the opposing team's reaction if the USWNT took the field and it looked like this;





With A-Rod ready and in fine form to come off the bench and take one of their spots up front when the opposing team's defense has been bombarded with one forward run after another?  That's a defender's nightmare.

What about the riches in midfield sitting on the bench too, you say?  My personal opinion is that Lloyd is a shoot first, pass second midfielder; Heath has spectacular skill but may be a little injured; and O'Reilly has always seemed to be "speed to the endline and then cross" type player.  Great players and great subs for Holiday and Rapinoe for a change of pace, but Holiday and Rapinoe do a better job of controlling the ball and getting the ball from the defense and working it to the forwards.  With O'Hara, Krieger, Dunn, and Klingenberg all capable of making runs from their outside defense positions, there could be times where it looks like a 2-4-4.  Rampone and Sauerbrunn behind all of that, combining to hold down the fort as the best two defenders in the world sitting in front of the best goalie in the world.

When I read Pele's autobiography "My Life and the Beautiful Game", he stated a couple times that during his time with Brazil, their lineup was a 4-2-4.  Attack, attack, and then attack some more.  You win games by scoring goals.  I've said before while watching the USWNT play that there is absolutely no point in games where they take their foot off the gas, no matter the score line.  If there is time left, they are going to try and add one more goal. So why hide it?  Boldly show the other team that they about to be attacked for the full ninety.

I'm not saying that the 4-2-4 would work against every opponent, but it certainly worked for Brazil back then, and I think it would work for the USWNT at times now.  Let Holiday and Rapinoe do what they do best, which is to be playmakers with an offensive tilt and let Sauerbrunn and Rampone clean up the messes that come through, while Wambach, Morgan, Leroux, and Press/A-Rod terrorize the other team's backline.

A guy can dream, can't he?

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