The U.S. Women’s soccer team just played a match in a match that’s usually reserved for the men’s national team. The team lost a heartbreaker to Japan, but they managed to pull out a win against New Zealand. The U.S. was not expected to do well at this tournament, but they are performing better than expected. The USWNT was looking to bounce back from their disastrous last tournament in Brazil. The U.S. had a lot of problems at that tournament, which does not bode well for them at this tournament. But they’ve come out and done pretty well in their first two matches so far.
The US Women’s National Soccer Team has won its first two matches of the Women’s Olympic Cup, and they’re doing it in impressive fashion (and just like how the men did in the last two matches in Rio). The US have never won Olympic gold, but they’ve now established themselves as a leading contender—and they’re most definitely playing like it.
The U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) defeated New Zealand 2-1 to secure their spot in the knockout stage and come closer to a spot in the final in Rio. The win was the first ever over the Kiwis in Olympic play, and it also dethroned the White Ferns from their current place atop the standings. The game had its moments, but both sides struggled to find traction as the game progressed. The USWNT’s first goal came courtesy of a penalty converted by Sydney Leroux that gave the Americans a 1-0 lead…. Read more about is soccer in the olympics and let us know what you think.
The United States women’s national team may exhale a sigh of relief after defeating New Zealand 6-1 in Saitama on Saturday.
– Report: The US has a six-point lead over New Zealand.
The victory is enough to put an end to the USWNT’s chances of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which seemed shockingly genuine following their stunning opener defeat four days earlier. However, the final score versus New Zealand was more favorable than the actual performance. To be sure, the Americans looked better, but the worries highlighted by the opening defeat to Sweden don’t seem to be gone just yet.
– Schedule and bracket for the Women’s Olympic Soccer Tournament – Watch ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (available in the United States only) – If you don’t have ESPN, you’re out of luck. Get immediate access
According to US manager Vlatko Andonovski, the USWNT came out more aggressive, but also nervous, with four potential goals ruled offside in the first half because players were “a little bit antsy.” The USWNT still didn’t seem like themselves, despite their anxiousness to score the opening goal and then pad the score in case goal difference was required as a tiebreaker.
Finally, the Americans benefited from what seemed like infinite space and time, a gift from New Zealand. New Zealand lacked the cohesion and, frankly, the courage of Sweden in the few times they attempted to push, creating gaps for the Americans to exploit. New Zealand quickly gave up and sat deep, allowing the Americans plenty of time to set up and play their game as planned.
With that additional breathing space, the USWNT’s unusual sloppiness was gone, and the team moved the ball effectively at times, creating beautiful interplay with one-touch passes and overlapping runs. Two of their six goals were New Zealand own goals, but the others demonstrated the USWNT’s counterattacking prowess – at least when they had pockets of room to play into.
Rose Lavelle opened the scoring in the ninth minute, when Tobin Heath sliced a pass into the box for Lavelle’s run, allowing the OL Reign midfielder the opportunity to finish. Julie Ertz lifted up her head in midfield and spotted Christen Press sprinting into the box — the cross followed, as did a touch to bring the ball down and a confident shot, all before the defender could close in.
The United States women made up for their defeat to Sweden by beating New Zealand, but their performance will need to improve significantly as the tournament progresses. ISI Photos/Getty Images/Brad Smith
“It seemed like we lost the ball far too many times before we even began our build-up, before we even built our framework to start the build-up,” Andonovski said after the Sweden match. There were no such issues against a New Zealand team that was never going to be a threat owing to a lack of skill and inadequate training heading into the Olympics.
Even with the freedom to play as they pleased, the Americans failed to display the ruthlessness that the players had promised after the Sweden encounter. The Americans did not come out and just destroy New Zealand; maybe it would be unreasonable to anticipate that if it weren’t for the fact that they did so in almost every game of the 2019 World Cup.
Indeed, given the players Andonovski recruited, it’s not surprise that the USWNT’s narrative in Japan has been one of triumph over adversity. This is a “run-it-back” squad of players that dominated France in the 2019 World Cup. But that group’s brilliance isn’t there anymore, and the USWNT’s performances have seemed different, even in their 6-1 victory against New Zealand.
After the New Zealand game, Crystal Dunn stated, “It wasn’t our greatest performance in game one, and we came into game two knowing that we don’t go from being a very great team two days before to not being a great team anymore.” “We simply came in more comfortable and trusting of one another.”
Kathleen McNamee breaks down the United States Women’s National Team’s 6-1 win against New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics.
Dunn makes a valid argument. But has the USWNT gone from being a fantastic squad two years ago to no longer being so? That also seems unlikely: the USWNT has only lost once in their previous 46 games, and that was only a few days ago against Sweden. However, if the United States is to reach the gold medal match, as they have in every Olympics until 2016, they must improve their performance.
With four offside goals and many more offside calls, the Americans seemed out of sync in the attack at times, but their fluidity improved as the game progressed. However, they once again displayed a weakness in tracking runners into the box, with New Zealand’s lone goal demonstrating that this is an issue that will need to be rectified sooner or later. It was an issue only a few days ago, and it was an issue again on Saturday.
There isn’t an easy solution. Abby Dahlkemper was responsible for the goal, and she struggled against Sweden as well, which is a surprise pattern considering her stellar club and national performances. She can be replaced in the lineup, but the back line has left unexpected holes all over the place, suggesting that the problem is one of cohesiveness rather than personnel.
Despite the fact that most of the players on the roster had previously won the World Cup, this USWNT in Tokyo is not the same as a prior World Cup-winning squad. No, this bunch may be a lot like the 2015 team, which struggled at first but was pulled along by some luck and opponent errors before finding their feet.
Carli Lloyd, who rose to prominence as the standout of the 2015 team (after many ineffective games), stated on Saturday that the USWNT can still improve in this tournament.
Lloyd stated Saturday, “I still believe we have a lot to offer.” “This is just the beginning. It was a nice reaction, a good outcome, and a solid set of objectives. We can always learn more, and we can always improve, but this is a good start.”
Fortunately for the Americans, the next match is just four days away, so they won’t have to improve by leaps and bounds. The United States will finish second in Group G and qualify for the quarterfinals with a draw against Australia to wrap off the group stage. But, with a match against either Brazil or the Netherlands on the horizon, stronger results will be required.
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