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USWNT vs. Japan: Resilience Was Key

From an early lead from Japan to an equalizer from America’s Stargirl, here is how this game thriller showed off the never-say-die attitude of the USWNT.

First Half

Japan immediately showed their urge to dominate the game within the first minute, as Kiko Seike was able to capitalize on the insecure backline of the United States and score a goal. Japan’s dominance did not end there, as they remained in possession of the ball for much of the first half. The United States had trouble settling into the game, as Japan made their presence known on the pitch.

Halfway through the first half, Naomi Girma, the USWNT’s star defender, went out with a knee injury. Not the best-case scenario, especially since the team was already down by a goal. However, Jaedyn Shaw would not let the team stay down for long, as a pass from Sam Coffey allowed her to equalize the game to 1-1. The first half ended with two big stops from Alyssa Naeher preventing Japan from leading again.

Second Half

The USWNT started this half very technically. That got them to start a few set pieces, but their personalities needed to be seen on the pitch. It did not look like they were playing as a unit, and this revealed Japan’s strategy against the USWNT; stop play, then capitalize on failed communication between the USWNT to score. The USWNT had many chances to score, however, none of the shots found the back of the net.

However, in the 77th minute, Sophia Smith was fouled in the penalty box and a penalty kick was awarded. Captain Lindsey Horan stepped up to take the kick and blasted the ball into the goal. Naeher held off the Japanese strikers in the final 10 minutes of the match and the USWNT beat Japan 2-1 to advance to the SheBelieves Cup final.

Major Takeaways

Out of many things that I want to see out of this team, one thing I want to see is more confidence and presence on the field. Players on the team who do reveal their personalities during games are Lindsey Horan, who uses her height to control the midfield, and Trinity Rodman whose creativity always reveals itself on the pitch. Experimenting with younger players in the roster has its drawbacks and this is one of them.

Another thing that this team needs to work on is the accuracy of their passing and their shots. Japan regained possession during this game due to inaccurate passes from the United States. Interceptions were predictable and some passes just went straight to Japan. There were also many easy shots taken by the USWNT that should have made it into the goal.

Mallory Swanson made her first return to the USWNT 364 days after her last appearance. She created chances and had many opportunities to score, however, the soccer gods were not on her side today. She was subbed off in the second half of the game, but hopefully, she will impact the final game positively on Tuesday night.

Read More Soccer News From Stadium Rant Here: Soccer News


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