Monday, June 8, 2015

2015 Women's World Cup

Tomorrow, the United States Women's National Team begins its quest to do what the women's team has failed to do since 1999.

Win that trophy.

Unlike the Men's National Team, the World Cup is the expectation for the women's team and despite its successes in the Olympics in recent years against essentially the same competition, the World Cup is still the more desired trophy. The team's failure to win the coveted trophy has been discussed at great length by pundits after every World Cup comes to a close with the U.S. team not hoisting it.  There are reasons given about the rest of the world catching up to the speed and athleticism of the United States, the flaw here and the flaw there, and even issues with coaches selection of which goalie to play.  To me, it comes down to proof that it's a hard damn trophy to win, even if you're the team that is favored to win it.

The United States is in the so-called "Group of Death," having to face Australia, Sweden, and Nigeria, ranked 2, 10, 5, and 33, respectively.  The United States' group schedule looks like this:
Monday, June 8
United States vs. Australia (Winnipeg), 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

Friday, June 12
United States vs. Sweden (Winnipeg), 8 p.m. (FOX)

Tuesday, June 16
Nigeria vs. United States (Vancouver), 8 p.m. (FOX)

There are the high profile players on the team who seem to be getting most of the press.  Solo, Wambach, Morgan, Leroux, and even Lloyd look to be on most of the magazine covers. I think this World Cup is going to hinge on Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Klingenberg, Chalupny, Rapinoe, and Holiday. Solo is the best goalkeeper in the world and those other four are some of the best finishers. This World Cup is going to hinge on what goes on between all of the headliners. I don't think Rampone is going to get the same kinds of minutes and Sauerbrunn has slowly become one of the best center defenders in the world.

I also think that Lloyd's decision making in the midfield is going to be key.  If she picks the right times to take her shots, and she will take her shots, this could go very well for the team. If she doesn't take the right time to take her shots, which she is prone to do from time to time, there's going to be some wasted opportunities.

I think this is the year for them to finally bring the Cup back to the States, but I don't think it's going to be easy.  Like the pundits have all said, "the world is catching up."

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