Australia defeated the U.S. WNT 1-0 Thursday night in Santa Clara, Ca. for the Matilda’s first ever win over the U.S. in 28 attempts. The loss is the third for the home team on American soil this year and a bad start for the U.S. at the inaugural Tournament of Nations.
This defeat is part of a disturbing pattern for the team as what was once extremely rare, a home defeat for the U.S. WNT, becomes commonplace as the Americans rack up their third home loss of 2017.
The U.S. started brightly enough versus the Australians, ranked 7th in the world according to FIFA. But the number 1, for now, U.S. failed to generate much threat and when the Americans did get a look at goal Houston Dash netminder Lydia Dash barred the door.
Much has been made of Jill Ellis’ commitment to introducing new players and tinkering with how the U.S. approach the game but the team’s record since Ellis led the U.S. to victory at the 2015 World Cup in Canada has to be cause for alarm among U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and company at the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Since Carli Lloyd rained a hat trick of goals down on Japan to lead the U.S. to 5-2 World Cup final clinching victory just over two years ago Ellis’ team has struggled mightily.
Remember the 2016 Olympics? If you are having trouble it is understandable. No U.S. WNT has ever departed from an Olympic games so quickly or went home without at least a silver medal dangling from its collective neck.
Then came the debacle at the SheBelieves Cup in March, when the host nation finished dead last, winning just once while losing 1-0 to England and 3-0 to France in humiliating fashion.
Last night in Seattle Ellis continued to mix established stars with more recent additions and the result was a team that, for all of its possession, rarely threatened Williams’ net.
When the Americans did produce a couple of late attacks star strikers Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn were unable to win one v one battles against Williams, missing gilt edged chances.
For Morgan, in particular, this is becoming a pattern, with a series of injuries affecting the output of the now 28-year-old.
But it is not just one player. The U.S. WNT has now played eight matches in 2017, winning five and losing three. A pair of friendlies versus Russia in April yielded feel good wins, 5-1 and 4-0.
But against tougher foes, particularly in more competitive tournament settings of the SheBelieves Cup and now the Tournament of Champions, the Americans have been unable to score.
Against better teams, the Americans managed to squeak out 1-0 wins over Sweden and Norway on the road, defeated Germany, also 1-0 while losing to France, England, and now Australia.
The question? Where are the goals? Why can’t a team that brought Carli Lloyd, Morgan, and Dunn off of the bench last night, a team that boasts offensive talents like Christen Press, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe and more manage more than one goal per 90 minutes?
Maybe we will find some answers, and some more goals when the Tournament of Champions moves to San Diego where the beleaguered Yanks face a Brazil team that drew with Japan 1-1 in Seattle prior to the U.S. match.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
AUS 0 1 1
AUS – Tameka Butt (Elise Kellond-Knight) 67th minute
USA : 1-Alyssa Naeher; 16-Taylor Smith (5-Kelley O’Hara, 76), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 14-Casey Short; 22-Mallory Pugh (19-Crystal Dunn, 58), 20-Allie Long (6-Morgan Brian, 77), 3-Samantha Mewis, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 9-Lindsey Horan (10-Carli Lloyd, 64), 23-Christen Press (13-Alex Morgan, 64)
Subs not used : 2-Sydney Leroux, 8-Julie Ertz, 11-Ali Krieger, 12-Lynn Williams, 17-Margaret Purce, 18-Jane Campbell, 21-Abby Smith
Head coach: Jill Ellis
AUS : 1-Lydia Williams (capt.); 7-Steph Catley, 14-Alanna Kennedy, 21-Ellie Carpenter; 8-Elise Kellond-Knight, 9-Caitlin Foord (15-Emily Gielnik, 81), 10-Emily Van Egmond, 13-Tameka Butt (6-Chole Logarzo, 73) 19-Katrina Gorry; 11-Lisa De Vanna (16-Hayley Raso, 53) 20-Sam Kerr (17-Princess Ibini, 90+2)
Subs not used: 18-Mackenzie Arnold; 2-Gema Simon, 3-Caitlin Cooper, 4-Clare Polkinghorn, 5-Laura Alleway
Head coach: Alen Stajcic
Stats Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 12 / 11
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 5
Fouls: 11 / 14
Offside: 4 / 2
AUS – Katrina Gorry (caution) 89th minute
AUS – Lydia Williams (caution) 90+1
Budweiser Women of the Match: Megan Rapinoe
USA v Australia
CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Wash. ESPN
Sunday 30 July 2017 – 2:15pm PT
Japan v Australia
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, Calif.
USA v Brazil
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, Calif. ESPN2
Thursday 3 August 2017 – 4:15pm PT
Australia v Brazil
StubHub Center – Carson, Calif.
USA v Japan
StubHub Center – Carson, Calif. ESPN2