In 2017 The United States men’s soccer team failed to beat the 92nd ranked team in the world in Trinidad and Tobago. With the loss the United States also failed to qualify for the 2018 World cup something that they haven’t done since 1986. The good news is the United States also has a women’s soccer team. The United States women’s soccer team has won 3 world cups since the existence of the tournament and they are also the favorites to add a fourth world cup to their resume in 2019.
The Women’s world cup first started in 1991 and the Americans defeated China by a final score of 2-1. They have since added two more victories; first in 1999 with a victory on their home soil over China once again this time in penalty kicks with Brandi Chastain scoring the world cup clinching goal. They would also go on to defeat Japan in 2015 on a Carli Lloyd first half hat trick to a final score of 5-2 and getting retribution for Japan stunning them in the final of the 2011 women’s world cup on penalty kicks.
While there are some teams that are catching up to the United States on the women’s national level, as evident by the US failing to reach the semi finals in the 2016 Olympics, they are still the team to beat for next years world cup. The United States at that time lost key players in Abby Wambach, Lauren Cheney among others who retired before the 2016 Olympics. They also did not have a healthy Megan Rapinoe for the Olympics. They were also in a transition phase then and after that loss that would continue until mid 2017 under Head Coach Jill Ellis. The United States would have one of their worst professional tournaments during the 2017 she believes cup losing two of their 3 matches on home soil. There were many that questioned whats wrong with the women’s national team. The US would also lose yet another game to Australia in the first game 2017 Tournament of nations. It was the first time in 30 years the United States lost 3 games on their home soil. Ironically those losses will be the reason the United States should win the 2019 world cup.
During the transition phase, Jill Ellis would experiment with things that didn’t need to be experimented with. There were many fans that would call for the firing of Ellis who said that her goal was to get the squad ready for the 2019 World Cup and she was not concerned about the results. This became quite clear by some of the formations she would try as well as the personnel she would use. Some of these personnel decisions were head scratching; forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Julie Ertz were pretty much substitutes while forward Megan Rapinoe was also in and out of the lineup. In the summer of 2017 during the 2nd game of the Tournament of Nations vs Brazil the United States were heading for their 4th loss on home soil, something that they have never experienced before when they were trailing by a score of 4-2. The United States led by mid fielder Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe two of the catalysts for the 2015 World Cup championship and incidentally two of the players not seeing a lot of time during this transition phase on the field, came storming back and ultimately led the United States to a 5-4 comeback win. The next game was probably one of the most important games for the United States. It was a game that didn’t mean anything due to Australia already being the champions of the tournament but for the United States it was something that they desperately needed. In the 80th minute of that game forward Alex Morgan who was coming off an 8 game goal less streak finally found the net. This goal lead to Morgan going on a tear too finish off 2017 scoring 6 goals in the teams final 7 games. The US also got contributions from midfielder Julie Ertz (5 goals in 6 games) as well as Megan Rapinoe and the US finished 2017 with a 5-0-1 record.
In 2018 the United States have scored 18 goals while conceding only 5 in six games; including during the she believes cup (which they were crowned champions) and against some of the best teams in the world like Germany, France, and England. Despite missing several key players. While the play of Morgan, Ertz and Rapinoe has been mostly the reason for the US turn around since last summer, the additions of several key players have also helped. There is now starter forward Mallory Pugh who combined with Rapinoe and Morgan to form a dominant front 3 that we haven’t seen in women’s soccer since Alex Morgan went to Lyon and played with Eugene Le Sommer and Ada Hederberg. They are creating havoc for any opposing back line. The additions to the back line of Emily Sonnett and newcomer Tierna Davidson have seemed to help stabilize a leaky back line that also features Kelly O Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn. There is no other country that has as much talent and depth as the United States. The addition to the midfield of Julie Ertz combined with Sam Mewis has given the team 2 linchpins there. There are also players like Christen Press, 2015 world cup MVP Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Abby Dahlkemper among others that head coach Jill Ellis can insert into the line up.
While injuries can certainly change the outlook of a tournament, as we saw with the United States not having a healthy Megan Rapinoe for the 2016 Olympics, the United States have so much depth that they should be able to put a great team on the field next summer. If the United States were to be completely healthy at that time, there’s not another team in the world that can contain the front line of Rapinoe, Morgan and Pugh up front who are all playing at a top level and also contend with a back line that could feature Sauerbrunn, Davidson, Ohara and Dunn. This does not even factor in the the depth that will be available to head coach Jill Ellis. There simply is not another team in the world at this moment that has as much talent and depth as the United States Womens National team currently has and its why they should win their fourth world cup and become the second team ever along with Germany to win back to back world cups.
One thought on “Why The United States Should Win The 2019 Women’s World Cup”
While I do understand that as an American you are convinced that the USWNT are on track for their 4th WC in 2019 I would, as a neutral, advise you to analyze in depth their performance since the 2015 WC.
The lack of technical possession play in the American system had got coaches worried for the past decade or so. As more countries take their women seriously the physical advantage of the US has almost become non-existent against good teams. With European teams along with Japan playing a much better technical style of football with focus on possession in tight spaces and under pressure, for the US to win the World Cup in 2019 a decent amount of luck has to be factored in the equation.
Starting with their luck of the draw – bogey team Sweden must be in same group or they avoid them in the knockout stages – the USWNT need favourable referring decisions at crucial junctures. Julie Ertz should have been sent off against the Germans in that semi-final. Technical teams like the French have wiped out USWNT midfield by applying high pressure with alarming regularity. The matches this year against the English and the French were very scrappy not befitting a champion team playing at home. Problems with possession, passing accuracy, lack of first timers in the box, overall bad first touches and building up from the back still persist. Add to that the lack of modern day outside backs in the US system – O’Hara had to be converted to fulfill that role on one side only. We have seen through the failures in 2016 junior World Cups how American style of physical long ball game is not good enough any more.
However the new breed led by once-in-a-generation Mal Pugh will ensure that the US have a very decent shot at the World Cup provided the core technical players stay healthy. With Tierna Davidson backing up Lavelle and Sullivan in the midfield with Pugh up front – these are the only technical players who can possess calmly in tight spaces and have an acceptable passing accuracy. Brian is too fragile and shown bad decision making under pressure this year, Horan in spite of her solidity has problems with her balance, Heath tends to overdo stuff and lose momentum of an attack.
With MRP – Morgan, Rapine and Pugh finally combining well in attack it can be some exciting viewing in the future provided the supply pipeline from defense through midfield do not get clogged. I just can’t wait to see how they fare against the Dutch MMS – Miedema, Martens and Shanice – backed up by a very creative midfield trio of Van De Donk, Groenen and Spitse. Now that’s one team which is playing a delightful one touch football at the moment.