Sports

U.S. Women’s soccer falls to Canada at Tokyo Olympics, can only win bronze

Carli Lloyd is justifiably unhappy.

Carli Lloyd is justifiably sad.
Photograph: Getty Photos

The U.S. wouldn’t have had a lot argument in the event that they’d eaten it in opposition to the Dutch. And if Lieke Martens had hit the penalty that Jessie Fleming did in the present day, as a substitute of her tribute to English penalty taking, they most likely would have. They will really feel just a little extra arduous finished by dropping this recreation to Canada, giving up just one shot on track (stated penalty). That doesn’t imply it was a complete smash-and-grab by the Canadians, because the U.S. didn’t handle its first shot on track till an hour in, and actually solely got here up with about three actually harmful possibilities. On the finish, the USWNT didn’t should play for the gold given their general event, and this was simply the actual sword that fell.

The U.S. received one recreation out of 5. They scored eight objectives over 5 video games, and in solely two of them. And within the three video games they didn’t rating, it didn’t actually take some heroic goalkeeping efficiency or Alamo-like rearguard motion to maintain them out. They various between toothless and insipid for lots of matches, which is a fairly gross mixture.

The adjectives we heard or learn all through the run had been “off,” or “out of sync,” or “not ourselves.” And once more, it was a distinct lead-in to this Olympics than most for the U.S. Extra gamers than ever had been taking part in in Europe due to the pandemic, main to some to be taking part in year-round or coming off damage from that (Tobin Heath can be the largest instance). An undervalued benefit the U.S. has had in summer time tournaments previously is that they arrive principally proper on the top of health for them, in the midst of the NWSL season the place most of their competitors is coming off the top of a European season.

It’s additionally a particularly packed event, as this was the fifth recreation in 13 days. Mixed with the steambath local weather of Japan in the summertime, and the collective age of this staff, it was at all times unlikely that they might appear like themselves. At the least not in each recreation. What’s disappointing is that they didn’t appear like themselves in any recreation, apart from perhaps the batting follow that was New Zealand.

The primary half was a lot the identical story we’ve seen from the USWNT this event, an entire lack of ability to cope with the identical excessive press they’re accustomed to smothering their opponents with. After a promising opening 10 minutes or so, the U.S. fell again into the muck they hadn’t been in a position to escape all event. And as soon as once more, supervisor Vlatko Andonovski’s selections to cope with that press had been curious.

Beginning Lynn Williams and Heath was the best name, as their better mobility and willingness to interchange positions everywhere in the subject gave the U.S. extra choices, simply because it had finished in opposition to the Dutch. However as Canada exerted extra strain on the U.S. protection once they had the ball, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle break up increasingly more broad from the middle of midfield. This is able to be wonderful if the U.S. was intent on hitting direct balls out to them or to Heath and Williiams farther up the sphere. However apart from occasionally, they didn’t. They saved making an attempt to funnel balls to Julie Ertz, who didn’t have any teammate inside 15 or 20 yards of her. Given the diamond form of Canada’s midfield, it’s a thriller why after the primary 10 minutes the U.S. didn’t push Crystal Dunn and Kelley O’Hara farther up the sphere to go extra direct. Dunn is among the NWSL’s most dynamic wingers taking part in as a fullback for the nationwide staff. Why not use that?

The second half was a a lot greater enchancment, they usually saved Canada pinned in their very own half, partially due to Dunn and O’Hara getting up the sphere. However Canada solely appeared too joyful to allow them to have the ball broad and ship the crosses again to whence they got here. The U.S. didn’t have every other concepts. The one occasions they seemed to unlock Canada via the center was after Carli Lloyd got here on and linked up with Heath. And there wasn’t sufficient of that.

And Andonovski can’t escape blame for a way off colour the staff seemed all event. Whereas the prep was totally different and the obstacles clear, it’s his job to construct cohesion out of that. To have a plan for what was thrown at them. The U.S. seemed like they hadn’t performed collectively earlier than and nearly incredulous that anybody would stand up of their face defensively.

The large theme popping out of this shall be whether or not it’s time to start out turning this staff over. Lloyd is 40. Rapinoe is 36, and apart from her successful penalty in opposition to Holland, wasn’t excellent. Sauerbrunn is 36. Many others are over 30. However then two years in the past after the World Cup we had been asking among the similar questions on all of them. And Tierna Davidson, the one actual youth on the staff at 22, seemed essentially the most ropey beneath strain and gave away the penalty in opposition to Canada out of nothing. However she’ll be higher for the expertise.

A large turnover isn’t wanted, or seemingly. Possibly it’s time for Lloyd and Rapinoe to maneuver apart, and different stalwarts to maneuver into extra of a squad position. However the World Cup is barely two years away,

And there’s a query of turning the staff over to who, precisely? Of gamers to get vital minutes, solely Davidson and Lavelle had been beneath 27. The Mewis sisters, Horan, and Lavelle are clearly what the subsequent staff must be constructed round, however totally going to the subsequent era off of those Video games appears a bridge too far. Particularly as actually none of them received any expertise on this event. Whoever the U.S. flip to for the 2023 World Cup, they clearly want to have the ability to play beneath a excessive press higher than this squad managed.

It by no means seemed good, and it was by no means nice watching, and in that sense perhaps it’s higher that it’s over.

https://deadspin.com/the-uswnt-is-put-out-of-its-misery-1847407770 | U.S. Ladies’s soccer falls to Canada at Tokyo Olympics, can solely win bronze

Linh

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