The United States Women’s National Team took on Haiti Tuesday night in Texas. Head coach,  Vlatko Andonovski, has a lot of room to play around with the lineup in these Olympic qualifying games. However, at some point, a coach must realize that something is just not working for their team. With changes like starting Carli Lloyd, Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle, it makes sense that the chemistry seemed off with the USWNT. 

Let’s break down what worked and did not work for the USWNT in this first round of the Olympic qualifiers: 

The Lynn Williams/Christen Press Chemistry 

This chemistry opened up the game against Haiti with a cross from Williams into the box to Press, allowing her to score in the 78th second. All of this happening while Williams only has one shoe on. But the chemistry did not stop there for these two. Weaving in and out of each other, Williams sends in crosses that can be compared to Lauren Holiday, and Press working to attempt to finish these balls as she proves again why she should be a starter. The chemistry between these two players needs to be capitalized in future games. 

Passing game was decent 

Playing a young, inexperienced team like Haiti should have the USWNT passing circles around them. However, the US seemed to be their own worst enemy last night with some lazy passing from the back field to the midfield and so forth. This passing game held up against Haiti because they are young and inexperienced but even with those facts, the US still managed to give up easy passes. This passing game was good enough for this team but won’t hold up when they face teams like Canada and Germany. 

Where does Julie Ertz belong?

Starting as a centre-back in her first year with the USWNT, Ertz was moved to a mid holding position that she excels in. However, her playing tendencies are still very much a centre-back type. She holds off the offensive players from the back line more than the actual defenders do like Kelley O’Hara and Crystal Dunn. With the amount of talent they have in the midfield already and the fact that Crystal Dunn would excel more in the midfield position, one would think it would make more sense to move Ertz back to her defending spot. 

Lazy game play or trying new things? 

With a new head coach, it makes sense for things to be tried during the Olympic qualifiers. However, there is a difference between trying new things and just playing lazily. Haiti is a young team that comes out in the beginning minutes with a lot of energy. It disrupts the play for the USWNT. Instead of working with that energy and playing the best game they can, they struggle to find a rhythm. It is not until the opposing team starts to lose energy since no team is at the same physicality as the USWNT, that the team finds their rhythm and begins playing like they just won a world cup. 

The game against Haiti was predicted to be a blowout game since the difference of play is so drastic. With only one goal in the first half, the game did not go as expected for the USWNT. This shows that that while Andonovski might be trying new things like the lineup and who is subbed in and out, it clearly did not work against a low caliber team and the USWNT will have trouble facing teams like Canada and Germany who put up more of a fight. 

@kelseyboeing

kb794916@ohio.edu