Harrison, N.J. – The USWNT came into Sunday’s SheBelieves Cup match sitting in second place on goal difference behind England following the home side’s 1-0 win last week over Germany in Columbus and England’s 4-1 shellacking of old rivals France.
The World Cup is still a year off but with qualifying just around the corner time is becoming an issue for the Americans and Megan Rapinoe, for one, was clearly unhappy with the state of the U.S. team after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Les Bleus.
Citing “tactical, thinking errors” the dynamic winger summed up the defending World Champions performance as “pretty bad all around. I mean for where we are and where we want to be going, it’s just not good enough.”
And it was hard to disagree with ‘Pinoe, after watching the Yanks struggle to string together passes and control possession, which led the Americans to revert to the old hit and hope tactics of days gone by.
With Julie Ertz and Sam Mathis both missing out through injury, Jill Ellis installed Andi Sullivan and Morgan Brian into the what has become the regular midfield trio along with Lindsey Horan, and the results were poor.
Things picked up a bit in the second half when Carli Lloyd came off the bench to provide a couple of incisive passes as the Americans chased a late winner after the first half ended a 1-1 on goals by Mal Pugh and Eugénie Le Sommer.
The sellout crowd at Red Bull Arena seemed happy enough with the effort and a 2-2 draw between England and Germany in Sunday’s RBA nightcap means the U.S. can claim the SheBelieves Cup with a win over England tomorrow night in Orlando.
That may yet come to pass but for Megan Rapinoe the U.S. must be better and for her, the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the players.
“For me, it’s more of the intellectual part of the game, thinking quickly and tactically thinking part of the game. I think when you don’t think quickly you leave yourself having to make decisions under pressure and your technical mistakes are going to increase.”
Given the out of chalking it all up to “a bad day at the office,” Rapinoe demurred. “I don’t know – it was not good enough from anyone,” Rapinoe said.
“Everyone played bad on the day but you never really want to accept that or say that. It can’t be that it just happened, so I don’t accept that – we should have played a lot better. Obviously, we’ll look at film and see where we can improve.” “But” the demanding veteran concluded, “there are a lot of things that we can’t really look at film and improve that, that’s individual.”