The USWNT takes the pitch today against Australia to kick off their 2015 World Cup.
The US is on a mission since sputtering out in fantastic fashion during penalties of the 2011 Finals. This World Cup is all about vindication.
Last World Cup cycle was only the most recent pratfall for the Yanks. Despite unmatched Olympic success and a deep and talented national system, the US just hasn’t gotten it done at the World Cup. And as talented, athletic and deep as this team is, there are so many questions surrounding the squad before today’s kickoff.
Moving Forward at Forward?
The starting forwards for the USWNT has usually been an automatic selection. But age, injury and ineffectiveness has really made the position succumb to roster roulette. Who starts up top today will be some combination of compromises.
Abby Wambach has not been a regular starter lately, but was deadly effective against both Ireland and Mexico in the send-off series. She very much still has a vital role on this team during this, probably her last, World Cup.
Amy Rodriguez, so deadly for the NWSL Champion FCKC, doesn’t get a lot of minutes under USWNT coach Jill Ellis. Hopefully that changes.
What are we going to get from Sydney Leroux? She seemingly snapped out of a yearlong slump during the Mexico game, but that’s it. Will she be effective or forgotten this summer in her native country?
Alex Morgan has been in mini-Twitter spats with reporters regarding her training and fitness for the World Cup. Could she be making a comeback so soon, and if so, how effective can she be?
The US has a width problem. Coach Ellis seems content on trotting out Carli Lloyd, Lauren Holiday and Morgan Brian in the same midfield. This severely weakens our wing play as all three are natural center mids. Megan Rapinoe is her regularly superlative self out wide, but the rest of the midfield gets muddled without true width.
Further complicating the midfield, is that Ellis sometimes starts Christen Press. She was a stud during the 2014 Algarve Cup, but has been flat lately. I am excited to see Christen Press regain her swerve, I just don’t know if it is as a midfielder.
The USWNT is deep and talented here:
Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg are studs. Christie Rampone, Julie Johnston, and Lori Chalupny start for almost any other country. ‘Nough said.
The last time we saw the Yanks in action was the underwhelming nil-nil draw with Korea. As evidenced by all the quesitons above, I have no idea what to expect in the lineup.
I do that Australia is dangerous. I predict we start tentative, planning to read and react. Hopefulyl we stick to a cautious game plane. But Germany and Norway laid down the gauntlet with smashing first games. You know we’re going to want to look the part of champions. Hell, I am gonna be optimistic here and say 3-1, Yanks.