On Wednesday night in Portland and again Saturday night in Phoenix, the USWNT beat the Republic of Ireland by 5-0 and 2-0 scorelines, respectively.
Here are three thoughts from the two wins.
The Irish defense is going to be seeing Alex Morgan in their sleep
Alex Morgan was absolutely on fire in both games, finishing with four goals and an assist, despite only playing a total of 98 combined minutes from both games.
Morgan had a hat trick in the first game, expertly using defenders to shield Irish keeper Emma Byrne on her first and third goals.
And, on Morgan’s second goal in the first game and her goal on Saturday night, Morgan scored by perfectly placing shots past Byrne.
On Saturday, Morgan also had a very nice assist to Rapinoe.
Over the past year, Morgan’s game has grown by leaps and bounds. While her game was once primarily based on her speed, she has become a world-class finisher, a world-class distributor and gotten much stronger in the air.
It’s great for the U.S., but pity the opposition.
Even though she didn’t get on the scoresheet, Carli Lloyd’s ethic work continues to pay off
Since the Olympics, there have been more than a few USWNT fans who have made snide comments about Carli Lloyd’s frequent tweets about her workouts at the Universal Soccer Academy.
However, those workouts are clearly helping keep Lloyd at the top of her game. On Wednesday, Lloyd did a nice job running the midfield and her distribution was solid.
On Saturday, Lloyd hit two absolute crackers that were only kept out of the net through the outstanding individual effort of Irish keeper Emma Byrne.
Lloyd was also one of the only players who put in 90 minute efforts in both matches against Ireland. While many of the USWNT players seem to have been taking the last few months fairly lightly (it is a well-deserved break), Lloyd has continued to work on her game.
With a new coach coming in, it will be important for each player to make a good first impression and it appears that Lloyd is setting herself up nicely to do just that.
It will not be surprising at all if Lloyd is one of the only 30 year olds from the current roster that is still on the national team for the 2015 World Cup.
Abby Wambach didn’t seem like her old self
Wambach, who played the first half of the game in Portland and went the distance for the game in Phoenix, made little impact on either game.
Absent was her normal dominance in the air and Wambach struggled to get on the end of passes and services in both matches.
Some fans have been quick to write off Wambach before and, with Sydney Leroux picking up two goals in Wednesday’s game, that talk may start up again.
However, neither of Leroux’s goals on Wednesday were really that special and Leroux was largely inactive in both of her appearances.
Still, it will be interesting to see how the battle between Leroux and Wambach develops over the next year and under new head coach Tom Sermanni.
Also lurking in the wings is Christen Press, who was an Olympic alternate, and several talented strikers from the U.S. U-20 team like Kealia Ohai, who scored the game-winning goal in Friday night’s national semifinal game for UNC.
Sermanni also showed a preference for a 4-3-3 with Australia and, if he uses such a formation with the U.S., starting forward spots will be at a premium with Heather O’Reilly, Tobin Heath, Lauren Cheney and Megan Rapinoe also capable of playing the wide-forward roles.
John D. Halloran