Breaking down the 3-0 USWNT win over Chile in Carson
The USWNT opened its first of two friendlies with a convincing 3-0 win over Chile in what was the first meeting between the two teams. The game was mired by poor officiating but the United States prevailed behind goals from Tierna Davidson, Christen Press, and a Chilean own goal.
BY John Halloran PostedIN THE FIRST of two scheduled friendlies, the United States women’s national team defeated Chile 3-0 on Friday night in Carson, California. After getting out to an early two-goal lead in the first half via two set piece tallies, the Americans added a finish from Christen Press in the second stanza to seal the victory.
August 31, 2018
August 31, 2018
Here are ASN’s thoughts on the match.
OVERCOMING SOME MINOR ADVERSITY
By any standard, Friday’s match against Chile was a low-stakes contest. The South American side has already qualified for next summer’s World Cup and the U.S. has little, if any, tweaking to do ahead of their own qualifying tournament next month.
Still, events in the match forced the U.S. to overcome some less-than-ideal officiating. Late in the first half, Tobin Heath earned a penalty, but shortly after Christen Press converted from the spot, the official awarded a free kick to Chile—ostensibly for encroachment—and, incorrectly, disallowed the goal. Seconds later, the official blew the halftime whistle, leaving everyone somewhat bewildered at what had just happened.
Then, moments into the second half, with the U.S. still looking to put the game to bed, Carli Lloyd ended up on the wrong end of two more controversial decisions.
On the first, after receiving a pass into space from Julie Ertz, Lloyd beat a defender and smashed a shot from just outside the 18. The ball hit the underside of the crossbar and appeared to cross the line, but was not recognized as a goal.
Then, only a minute later, Lloyd scored on a corner kick, only to once again have the center official step in. This time, some incidental contact in the box was deemed unacceptable, and the goal was disallowed.
Fortunately, in the 60th minute, the U.S. removed all doubt. Mallory Pugh sprung down the right side of the Chilean defense, served a low ball across the face of the net, and an onrushing Christen Press—captaining the squad on the evening in recognition of her recently earned 100th cap—put the chance into the roof of the net to ensure the result.
ANOTHER BRIGHT EFFORT FROM LAVELLE
After a long series of injuries through 2017 and 2018, Rose Lavelle reminded fans last month of what they were missing with a bright performance in the U.S.’ final match in the Tournament of Nations. Against Brazil, Lavelle ran the show and, on Friday night against Chile, once again controlled the midfield.
Lavelle’s minutes are still limited—she only played the first half against Chile—but her quality on the ball is both unmistakable and undeniable. And while her final passes could have been cleaner, her ability to turn defenders in traffic and burst through lines adds a dynamic presence to the U.S. midfield.
The decisions ahead for head coach Jill Ellis aren’t going to be easy as the Americans are ridiculously stacked at the position. Even with two-time World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd pushed into the forward pool and Allie Long currently out injured, Ellis still has to choose from Lindsey Horan, Sam Mewis, Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz, McCall Zerboni, and Lavelle to pick a midfield trio.
Horan seems a lock based on current form and, if Ellis ultimately goes with Lavelle as the other No. 8, that would mean the Americans have Mewis and Brian—both world-class center midfielders in their own right—available off the bench.
It’s an embarrassment of riches for the U.S. coach, and a brutally hard decision to make.
The U.S. plays Chile again on Tuesday night (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
John D. Halloran is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter.