By: Gabrielle Nordstrom
Edited By: Kylie Augis
On July 26, the United States Women's National Team opened their World Cup Tournament. As reigning back to back champions, expectations are high for the club. Even though they are the favorites again, no USA team has won a World Cup three times in a row, so will they be able to defy the odds?
In their opening game against Vietnam the USWNT found the back of the net three separate times. Sophia Smith, player of the match, ended the game with two goals and one assist. She assisted on the third goal of the match scored by captain Lindsey Horan.
Courtesy of Getty Images
Although many expected the USWNT to dominate the scoreboard, Vietnam put up a good fight. Vietnam knew coming into the game the USWNT would have all their firepower up top. So, Vietnam played a 6-3-1(six defenders, three midfielders and one forward). This defensive formation was able to keep the top three for the USA from producing more, but also with this type of formation meant there would most likely be no chance of scoring. USWNT goalie, Alyssa Naeher touched the ball less than 10 times throughout the game, courtesy of her own team passing back to her, and Vietnam registered zero shots on net.
USWNT versus the Netherlands was a long awaited match; the 2019 FIFA World Cup final rematch. The USWNT has been a powerhouse for years, ranked number one globally. The Netherlands is a team that is beginning to take strides and slowly becoming one of the dominant countries in the soccer world. As these two teams have major recent history, everyone was expecting this to be an amazing game.
Unlike Vietnam, the Netherlands did not play a defensive formation. Instead, they clogged the middle which proved to be impactful as the USWNT struggled to gain control in the middle and had to play on the outsides.
The Netherlands scored first, ending a 17-game streak of not trailing in any World Cup games for the USWNT. They ended the first half with a score of 1-0.
The first half was not something the USA team should be proud of. Sloppy passes, bad first touches, no movement off the ball and overall looking very tired on the field. The second half came and it seemed like a completely new team out there.
Midfielder Rose Lavelle came in to start the second half. Lavelle, a young star on the team, is typically a starting player who plays the full 90 minutes. Due to injury, her time has been cut short and they are easing her way back in to be able to play the full 90. The impact she made on the field was noticeable immediately. The USWNT gained control over the middle of the field again, passes were crisper, there were more runs off the ball and the overall vibe seemed that the USWNT would do anything to win this game.
Around the 60 minute mark, captain Lindsey Horan and Netherlands player, club teammate, Danielle Van De Donk got into a scrum after Van De Donk fouled Horan, leaving her lying on the ground needing medical assistance.
Courtesy of Getty Images
Horan did not exit the game, instead she came right back in as the USA were getting a corner kick. Horan headed the ball in, getting the equalizer, silencing the Netherlands fans.
The game would remain 1-1 and end in a tie.
The USA remains on top of Group E because they have a better goal differential. All eyes are on the matches on Tuesday when they play Portugal to see if USA will clinch the top spot in Group E.