USWNT v Japan: Four Thoughts from the U.S.’ Dominating Win

June 18, 2012
By

The United States Women’s National Team defeated World Cup champion Japan 4-1 Monday morning in Sweden.

Here are four thoughts from the USWNT’s win.

Alex Morgan continues to be red hot

Moments after a Hope Solo and Rachel Buehler miscue almost put the U.S. down in only the 3rd minute, the U.S. found itself up 1-0 off a terrific blast by Alex Morgan.

Morgan was put in behind the Japanese defense from a pass by Tobin Heath before hitting a solid left-footed blast past the helpless Japanese keeper.

But, Morgan did not sit on her early goal and continued to impress through all of her 69 minutes.

Twice more in the first half, Morgan was able to get in behind the Japanese defense, putting in a great service to Abby Wambach on the first one and putting a shot off the post on the second one.

Morgan rounded out her scoring in the second half when, in the 60th minute, she won the ball from the Japanese defense, beat two Japanese defenders by herself and then calmly slotted home the finish to put the U.S. up 3-1 and seal the game for the U.S.

Megan Rapinoe had a lively game

In the 10th minute, Rapinoe took a ball near the touchline, created enough space for herself, and got off a beautiful service in behind the Japanese defense which Abby Wambach touched home to put the U.S. up 2-0.

Rapinoe stayed active for the rest of the half, putting Morgan in behind in the 28th minute and putting in another fantastic service in the 32nd.

Overall, Rapinoe looked very good on the attack.

Is it time to embrace the 4-4-2?

For the past year, Pia Sundhage has experimented with a number of different looks for the USWNT, but seems to have settled on a straightforward 4-4-2.

While the formation has created problems for the USWNT in terms of putting together long spells of possession, the decision to play two holding midfielders allows the team’s outside midfielders to play higher up the pitch.

With two world-class strikers in Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, and outside midfielders of the quality of Megan Rapinoe, Heather O’Reilly and Tobin Heath, it seems time to embrace the 4-4-2 and allow Morgan, Wambach and the wingers to create chances off of counterattacks.

A 4-1 win over the defending World Cup champions on the back of a 3-1 win over the #4 team in the world in Sweden on Saturday morning is tough to argue with. Besides, trying to outplay the Japanese in terms of a possession-style system is probably a losing proposition anyways.

Rachel Buehler struggled

Rachel Buehler struggled for much of the match. In the 3rd minute, a poor clearance by Buehler resulted in a wide-open opportunity for the Japanese.

Buehler was cautioned in the 24th minute for a poor challenge and to round out her game, she was responsible for the lone Japanese goal, when she lost her mark in the 28th minute.

She was replaced at halftime.

Highlights from the game below

John D. Halloran
johnhalloran@hotmail.com


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