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2019 Women's World Cup in France ... June/July

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
JP and Wagner stunk ... like out literally out loud. They were caught completely off guard by Ellis' tactics in the tournament and you know how TV people are when they don't see exactly what they expect to see, especially in soccer. God help them if any of them have to figure out their precious narrative on the fly or anything.

On Ertz ... go find some of those possession heat charts the stats nerds love so much. The last three games have looked like doughnuts for the US' opposition because she's been a one woman cold front. You don't notice it much because it's not flashy, but that kind of ground covering allows Mewis and Levelle to play higher and do more damage. And we've seen a lot of Mewis for the Courage so we're not surprised to see her play like that, but for whatever reason the writer types always talked up Horan over her. I think they're so much on the same level that you can just play the one that's sharper on the day. Sammie had a wonderful tournament. Really, shy of Levelle's loose outing against France, they all four were just stupidly good.

And I still wish they'd have brought Zerboni to France instead of Long. No way Long plays any of those three roles at anything like an acceptable level. On the other hand, with O'Hara going out in the Final, I guess Ellis nailed it by bringing Krieger back out of the cold. She was solid on a BIG stage.
 
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andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Zerboni probably should have been there instead of Mo Brian. But considering how much Brian played, it probably didn’t matter.

Krieger’s inclusion surprised me, but really they have the same problem the men’s team had for many years; no reliable options at fullback. That Dunn, who is one of the best attacking players in NWSL has to play left back, is a crime. Every other defender that Ellis brought other than O’Hara, Krieger and Dunn is a center back. Sonnett has played some outside but she’s mostly a center back.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Biggest problem at fullback for the ladies is that Ellis requires them to get forward and combine in those forward triangles with the winger and midfielder, and most of all ... to make plays. I've watched enough NWSL to know that the domestic league just doesn't really offer many of those options. Most of them are more along the lines of Krieger, who can defend, and run in a straight line, and overlap to cross the ball ... but she's kind of at a loss when you ask her to make combination plays in space. As long as Ellis is in charge I think you're mostly going to see converted wingers in those spots with a sturdy defensive Mid to support the CBs. And that's fine. I'd just like to get to the point where the press and the commentators start appreciating the more unconventional approaches when they actually work instead of criticizing them simply because it's not what they expect to see. The US basically plays wingbacks in a back four. Deal with it.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Brandi Chastain was a converted forward and Tobin Heath has taken her turn at left back too. It’s just a depth concern going forward, O’Hara and Krieger are on the wrong side of 30. It will be interesting to see what Ellis does for the Olympics (or how many want to stick around), they have an 18 woman roster limit, unlike the 23 woman World Cup roster


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jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Being that there's only one year to the Olympics, I'd guess that a lot of the 30-somethings will still want to play. All of their contracts are up after their contractural victory tour that nobody wants to do, so we'll see how that goes. There's an incentive to stick around as long as possible to maintain that national team stipend. Otherwise you're on a NWSL standard contract getting paid in tape and free gear. Ellis isn't under contract past the end of the month either, not that the vets would be too sad to see her go seeing as how they've tried to get fired twice. Plus, there's the new player contract and the lawsuit. There could be a LOT of changes ... more than just the roster.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
I read something over lunch about the USMNT's labor situation and I wouldn't waste a single minute thinking about the Olympics until this mediation session sets a tone on the labor lawsuit. There's every chance that the women use the leverage they've gained from back to back World Cups by walking out ahead of the Olympics if they is no progress towards substantive change.

BTW ... that much ballyhooed deal with Budweiser? The USWNT negotiated that deal themselves. Whatever anyone thinks is happening, Carlos Cordero has NOT changed anything at US Soccer when it comes to giving more of a crap about the women's game or those players as human beings.
 
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jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Reports are out today indicating that Jill Ellis has decided to step down as coach of the USWNT following their "victory tour" series of exhibition games this summer. Also reported that the USSF will be following through "soon" with a new GM for Women's Soccer to match the Men's setup, with a candidate supposedly already decided but yet to be named. That person's first job will be to hire a coach to get the program ready for the Olympics. Here's hoping they won't take as long as the Men did when they hired Berhalter.

Ellis, despite her success, is not especially popular among the senior players. They tried to pressure Sunil Gulati to replace her after the last Olympics but the timing was bad as Gulati was under fire at the time thanks to the US Men's Team's epic meltdown. Her senior assistants don't seem to be candidates with top assitant Tony Gustavsson having already returned to Sweden following the WC victory celebrations. With the US being pretty much the top job in the women's game, there will be plenty of candidates to choose from, and hopefully the USSF can get this one right.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Rock, meet hard place. She’s going to be a tough act to follow and CONCACAF Olympic qualifying is hot on the heels of the Victory Tour, tentatively scheduled for February. Only 2 teams qualify and the rosters are 18 players instead of the 23 in the World Cup. Unless some players retire after the Victory Tour (cough..Carli Lloyd...cough) the new coach is going to have to cut a keeper and 4 more. And no team has won the World Cup and Olympics in consecutive years.

Besides Gustavsson, Grant Wahl lists Laura Harvey, Mark Parsons, Paul Riley, Vlatko Andonovski and Mark Krikorian as candidates. All but Krikorian are currently in NWSL, Krikorian is head coach at Florida St.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Paul Riley would be a good fit, as his go-go, high pressure style would really suit the current player mix. That said, I seriously doubt they hire a male coach.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Paul Riley would be a good fit, as his go-go, high pressure style would really suit the current player mix. That said, I seriously doubt they hire a male coach.

Apparently, Kate Markgraf is the odds on choice to be the USWNT GM, similar to the job Earnie Stewart has on the men’s side. She wants a woman coach.

I’m not sure what Markgraf’s qualifications are to be the GM. Since retiring, she’s been a broadcaster and volunteer assistant coach at Marquette. Stewart had spent 12 years in club backroom positions before taking the job.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'm just happy they aren't just defaulting to April Heinrichs ... aka the USSF's long time sleeper agent in the women's program.

Markgraf was one of the leadership group when she was a player and is well respected by the 99 crew as well as the group that followed. She should be able to improve communications if nothing else, because the core players trust her.
 
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