Should USWNT Supporters be Nervous Ahead of World Cup?
The short answer to this important question is an equivocating yes, but no.
In a tune up against Korean Republic, a fixture which the USA had won by a combined score of 9-1 over two legs in 2013, the United States was held and South Korea walked away with a 0-0 result.
It is important to realize that the Korean Republic holds a world ranking of #18 and have been at or around that ranking since 2010 – The US didn’t exactly play a cupcake yesterday.
It is a World Cup squad and it sits in a group with Brazil, Spain, and Costa Rica – a group that it has a decent chance of escaping should it find a result against Spain.
The USA played without Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan and appeared to be more interested in coming out of the contest with a healthier team than garnering a result.
On the negative side, this team still lacked the quality in the final third that has plagued the US under Jill Ellis in this World Cup cycle.
The last time the US was held was against Iceland in the Algarve Cup.
The US responded with a win over France in the final – the first major trophy for Jill Ellis’s tenure. The game also was revenge for a loss against France in a Friendly in Paris a month earlier.
And there is that word again – ‘Friendly’.
Yesterday’s match featured a myriad of substitutions a plain vanilla game plan of pumping long balls to a streaking Sydney Leroux and lack of touch-passing in the final third and an overall lack of desire to put their bodies on the line – save for a few players.
And that is not a shot at the players – the worst thing that could have come from yesterday was not a shock 0-0 defeat, but a loss of a player.
The latter almost happened.
The stadium was in a collective gasp as spectators looked at a fallen Sydney Leroux who stayed down in the box for several minutes before getting to her feet.
Although all that is concerning, it all goes out the window should the US get a result against Australia next week – responding in the way they did against France at the Algarve Cup.
What has to be concerning however is the health of the squad.
It would be hard to believe that Jill Ellis would select any player that could not contribute but it seems that Alex Morgan who has been dealing with knee issues for this entire cycle, won’t be available “full time” at the start of next week’s World Cup.
So again, should yesterday’s result raise eyebrows? Of course. Does it bring up questions? Indeed. But does it mean the USWNT can’t win this World Cup? Absolutely not.