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3 issues discovered from USWNT’s back-to-back wins vs. New Zealand


Three days after routing New Zealand 4-0 in its first match of the 12 months, the United States ladies’s nationwide workforce routed the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosts by the by an much more lopsided rating line on Friday.

The Americans bought targets from Ashley Hatch, Mallory Swanson, Taylor Kornieck and two from Rose Lavelle — who served as captain with fellow veterans Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan on the bench — to win within the second of their two pre-tournament tune-ups Down Under 5-0.

Here are three ideas on the USWNT’s newest victory, the journey total, and what comes subsequent.

Questions stay regardless of one other large win

As anticipated, U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski rotated his beginning lineup closely after Tuesday’s triumph, making 5 modifications from what was presumably his first-choice group. In aim, Casey Murphy got here in for Alyssa Naeher. In protection, Alana Cook and Sofia Huerta changed Sauerbrunn and Emily Fox. Midfielders Andi Sullivan and Ashley Sanchez spelled Kornieck and Lindsey Horan, who returned to her French membership Lyon earlier than the rematch, and Hatch took Morgan’s spot after the striker pulled up lame in warmups.

Some of the modifications have been absolutely deliberate forward of time, however Andonovski additionally rewarded his subs for his or her contributions off the bench following a colorless, scoreless first half in Wellington. Sanchez was wonderful within the first recreation, as was Trinity Rodman, who notched two assists off the bench. The pair promptly arrange Hatch’s opener for the Americans Friday, a strike highlighted by Rodman curling, completely weighted cross:

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It was additionally attention-grabbing that Sauerbrunn, the USWNT’s 37-year-old captain, was the middle again who made means, with teen Naomi Girma staying within the coach’s 11. What does it imply? Six months out from the World Cup, and towards — no offense to the Football Ferns — vastly inferior competitors, it is laborious to attract too many conclusions.

Hatch took full benefit of her alternative, however that does not imply she’s locked down the job as Morgan’s understudy at middle ahead simply but. Rodman and Sanchez each upped their inventory, however the former will possible be competing for World Cup minutes with injured trio Cat Macario, Sophia Smith and Megan Rapinoe. Meantime, central midfielder continues to be behind Horan and Lavelle, who was maybe the sharpest American in each exhibitions.

Let’s not get carried away by the efficiency, although. Friday marked the sixth straight time the U.S. has crushed New Zealand by 4 or extra targets. They now lead the all-time collection 19-1-1. This was a very good preseason train for the Americans. It was good to begin a massively necessary 12 months with two clear sheets, and on Friday the U.S. even snapped its 4 recreation first-half scoring drought. Still, because it pertains to the World Cup, the reality is these two video games in all probability did not reveal all that a lot.

Off the sphere, a useful journey for the U.S.

This month’s journey wasn’t nearly getting ready the Americans for what’s going to occur on the sphere later this 12 months, after all. It was as a lot — or possibly extra— about understanding what kind of atmosphere be in off the sphere throughout the World Cup.

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Friday’s contest was performed at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand’s nationwide stadium and the venue for the USWNT’s 2023 World Cup opener towards Vietnam, plus the primary spherical finale versus both Cameroon, Portugal or Thailand. Tuesday’s win over these identical Football Ferns came about at Sky Stadium in Wellington, the positioning of the Americans’ hotly anticipated second group stage match towards the Netherlands — a rematch of the 2019 World Cup remaining.

In addition to the amenities, the U.S. stayed on the identical Auckland lodge and skilled on the identical apply fields it’s going to use once more this summer time. Not all the pieces would be the identical — the Americans did not go to Australia this month, and the temperature at kickoff Friday was slightly below 80 levels; in July, winter within the Southern Hemisphere, the highs prime out within the 50s — nevertheless it was invaluable expertise, even when the resistance offered by FIFA’s Twenty fourth-ranked nation left rather a lot to be desired.

A a lot stiffer take a look at awaits the Americans in February

Competition will not be a difficulty when the USWNT returns residence to host the annual SheBelieves Cup subsequent month. Brazil, Canada and Japan are the opponents for this winter’s event, which runs Feb. 16-22 in Orlando, Nashville and Dallas.

All three does are able to making a deep run at Australia/New Zealand 2023, if not profitable all of it: Brazil is a former World Cup runner-up, Canada is the reigning Olympic gold medalist and Japan the 2011 champion (and the shedding finalist 4 years later).

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All three will take a look at the U.S. in methods the Kiwis have been unable to, and all three can have entry to their full praise of gamers as a result of the competitors takes place throughout a chosen FIFA window for worldwide video games.

Just like on the fundamental occasion, defenses will probably be tight and errors will probably be ruthlessly punished the subsequent time Andonovski’s squad convenes. That will probably be a welcome problem for a U.S. workforce that wants it — one which could be very a lot nonetheless in search of solutions with the World Cup approaching quick.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer author for FOX Sports. Before becoming a member of FOX Sports in 2021, he was a employees author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has coated United States males’s and ladies’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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