World Cup Preview: United States

Reigning World Cup champions the United States may well be red hot favourites once again for this year’s tournament but they haven’t had things go all there own way in the run-up to this year’s competition. Including a well-publicised pay dispute to align themselves with there men’s national team which appears to have been resolved to but there has been on-field inconsistency including a very narrow 1-0 victory over a spirited Scotland team. In a pulsating second half when the Scots were rather unlucky not to get something out of the game.

Head Coach Jill Ellis would have been disappointed with there showing at the latest edition of there She Believes Cup which was eventually won by the Lionesses. The United States started off poorly against an experimental Japan, who grabbed an equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw in the game in the 91st minute. There defence which is there Achilles heal again in a thrilling 2-2 draw against England. By the time they won there final game 1-0 against Brazil the damage was already done.

It is there offensive flair that sets them apart from everyone else in the world. 2015 golden boot winner Carli Lloyd now 36 years old is still in the squad but will have to make do with coming off the bench but Lloyd is still a quality player and her experience could be vital in the latter stages of the competition.

Carli Lloyd. Photos from @USWNT

Alex Morgan who recently scored her 100th international goal and will lead the forward line and adding to that tally. It is the players that give her those chances that I believe are the key to this team, winger Tobin Heath is the star and poster girl of the United State’s roster. Heath is coming off a great start to her domestic season with Portland Thorns and already has ten international goals since the start of 2018.

Another offensive powerhouse is the brilliant evergreen Megan Rapinoe who will play on the left wing and is one of the most inspirational players in the game today. Aged 33, she is probably playing the best football of her career. If you include central midfielders Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz into the mix who will start moves off this is a very dangerous team.

Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. Photo @alexmorgan13

The US predictably sailed through qualifying in the CONCACAF competition alongside Canada and Jamaica. They will also look to breeze through Group F which sees them open up against Thailand on June 11th before games against Chile and Sweden. If they can sort out their defensive concerns particularly at the full back positions I can’t see anyone touching them and would be very surprised if they were not in Lyon for the semis and the final to defend their trophy which they won so comprehensively in Canada four years ago. 

Stuart Barker
hellosince71@gmail.com