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Tom Sermanni Changes USWNT Formation With Minimal Results

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Photo Courtesy of US Women’s Official Twitter / @ussoccer_wnt

In the first of a set of friendlies with China, the USWNT took home a 2-0 victory. Some will say it was a much needed win after a disastrous Algarve Cup, but the experimentation phase of development under Tom Sermanni continued. He stated that 2014 was about results, and he got one today, but changing the formation fits more into the experimentation mold. That was supposed to be 2013. Regardless, if the team cannot finish then all of this experimentation looks meaningless.

Sermanni went to a 4-3-3 for the first time in his career as the USWNT coach. It featured Christen Press and Sydney Leroux up top with Heather O’Reilly. It was O’Reilly’s 201st match with the national team so being back on home soil the milestone was commemorated. Youngsters Morgan Brian and Whitney Engen got the start but were fairly ineffective during the match. The match was dictated early by Lauren Holiday, the first goal scorer.

The problem was the finishing. The USWNT had double digit shots prior to the 35th minute and no goals to show for it. They dominated the first half. Hope Solo did not see a shot in the first 45 minutes of the match. Leroux pressured the China back line but was unable to find a pass in the final third. China scrambled well to block shots or make the right tackle. Holiday’s goal was actually unassisted after it bounced around the box and off China’s defense right to her.

While Leroux and Holiday were good while on the field, Meghan Klingenberg had her best game with the USWNT. She started the match at left back and was able to find space for an outlet pass or to press the ball up the field. Granted China did not press the back line much as they continued to try to find their game after an enormous rebuild in the squad. They did have a better sustained attack in the second that was deflated after Megan Rapinoe capped the scoring on a free kick that just managed to make it through the box and into the far side. That was definitely not planned by Rapinoe.

Even with the shut out, this match felt disjointed, especially as the USWNT got near the opposing goal. One could argue that both goals were a product of luck and not skill. Sermanni can continue to experiment, but training for the rematch on Thursday should focus on the final third. The last month of play for the USWNT has not been pointed and it is time for Sermanni to direct the compass to 2015 World Cup preparation.

Douglas Smith is a writer for Stoppage Time Soccer. Follow him on Twitter @DFresh39  add him to your network on Google.

3 Responses to Tom Sermanni Changes USWNT Formation With Minimal Results

  1. And he just got fired.

  2. Pingback: US Soccer Fires Tom Sermanni, Is Excessive Experimentation to Blame?

  3. Pingback: USWNT Players' Power Must Come with Responsibility, Accountability

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