Women's World Cup: 4 Thoughts On USA 2-0 Colombia
By Ty Duffy
Ugly Performance: Colombia went down to 10-women. The U.S. beat them 2-0, thanks to egregious goalkeeping and a converted penalty. It was a win, but, like much of this tournament, it was dreadful to watch. The U.S. was direct, impatient, and impotent going forward. They could not control the midfield. They did not dictate the terms of play to an overmatched team. Often, it was hard to tell which crew was playing with 10 women. The Americans were flat. They were bereft of ideas. They are coasting on talent and relative fitness.
Defense: The U.S. has not allowed a goal since the 27th minute of the first match. They have hardly conceded a chance from open play. Sauerbrunn and Johnston again proved an excellent partnership. They are backed up by an imposing Hope Solo. Tournaments are tough. A strong defense keeps the train from derailing, whatever is going on ahead of them.
Time to Drop Abby: Abby Wambach is a legend. She’s also human, 35, and playing like it. After four matches, it’s clear she’s not going to be a dynamic force. She shouldn’t be on the pitch for 60-plus minutes. She’s no longer capable of being the focal point for the U.S. attack. The U.S. is blessed with multiple, viable options up front. It’s time to deploy them.
Formation Shift: The 4-4-2 is not serving this team. They’re not creating quality chances. They are getting run over in central midfield. Even with more lively strikers than Wambach, the linkup play has not clicked. A 4-3-3 or similar variant would be better for the U.S. They have players – Leroux, Press, O’Reilly – who can create in space on the wing. They must maximize that capability without Megan Rapinoe (suspended) on the pitch.