USWNT’s Defense Woeful Against Denmark in Algarve Cup
For the first time in their history, the USWNT surrendered five goals in a loss to Denmark in the Algarve Cup. The USWNT will now finish ninth or 11th in the tournament after back-to-back losses for the first time since 2001. They were susceptible to the counter attack all game long and had no answer for physical play in their own end. Despite letting new players get playing experience and experimenting with the lineup, the way the USWNT lost is concerning moving forward.
There is a refrain heard a lot around the USWNT now. Head coach Tom Sermanni said 2014 is about results. However, only getting one point in Algarve Cup group play is not going to be worth talking about in 2015 World Cup preparations. Sermanni made six changes to the starting lineup from the previous match, but nothing was working.
The back line issues were glaring as the Danes were able to continually get behind captain Christie Rampone and company. They were disorganized and seemed too casual in the first half as the USWNT went into the break down 3-0. Nadia Nadim scored twice in the first half in a span of three minutes with one being a header that she bullied Rampone to win.
The USWNT did rally in the second half, scoring three goals and pressing for the equalizer. Sermanni went to three attackers up front, but the rest of the team just lobbed balls forward hoping Abby Wambach could head them up to a teammate. That was the story of the last ten minutes of the match until Denmark countered again to finish off their 5-3 victory. For some reason Kelley O’Hara kept tracking back on the break while the other two USWNT players in defense had stopped up to create an offside trap. O’Hara played Karoline Nielsen onside and Nielsen finished one-on-one with Hope Solo.
Yes it is only two losses and some consider this tournament more of a collection of friendlies, but this was a bad showing. The depth is now called into question, and Sermanni’s methods become hard to understand. He learned a lot about his team but does not have many of upcoming matches to correct any issues. The loss is shocking, and Sermanni needs to focus on those results.