6613_morganleroux_isi_uswntbs090112294 Brad Smith/isiphotos.com

Goals From Morgan and Leroux Spur USWNT

The United States tallied three goals against Canada, none of which were scored by someone with the last name Wambach. Maura Gladys on the significance of the important afternoon.
BY Maura Gladys Posted
June 06, 2013
10:00 AM
The last time the United States played Canada, there was heavy reliance on Abby Wambach. That wasn't the case on Sunday when the Americans defeated their northern neighbors 3-0 in Toronto. And that's a good thing. While Wambach is still the core of the U.S. attack the squad is transforming into a more nuanced team with talented players who can provide different skills.

In “The Rematch,” Alex Morgan scored two goals and Sydney Leroux netted a late one, affirming the pair's growing talent as lethal scorers.

The latter woman first. Leroux's goal iced the game for the United States. After scoring, she flashed her American badge at the fans and shushed the crowd that had been booing her at every opportunity. After the game, Leroux said she was the victim of racial abuse via social media and then issued a statement clarifying her tweet. The incident sparked a dialogue regarding race, nationalism, and soccer, and has extended the America vs. Canada rivalry further.

It also threw Sydney Leroux into the spotlight for reasons other than her outstanding off-the-bench play, which is a shame because what she's doing in that spot is impressive. She's taken over the role from Morgan, who filled it during the 2011 campaign.

Now Morgan owns a starting spot and Leroux add that late-game boost. Morgan brought speed. Leroux brings fire. And goals. Sixteen of Leroux’s 17 international goals have come off the bench, an impressive stat for someone that only sees the back end of games.

Leroux also changes the way the U.S. lines up. When she subs on for anyone other than Wambach or Morgan, the team shifts to a 4-3-3, allowing Wambach and the midfield to pick apart the back line while Morgan and Leroux to burn them with their speed.

A scary American side just keeps improving.

Quick hits
  • Alex Morgan continues to grow into a world-class striker. She continually demonstrates new folds in her game. She is evolving quicker than defenses can keep up, and that is reflected in her goal tally. Her first goal against Canada hit the only part of the net that McLeod didn’t have covered. The she did it again. Morgan is well on her way to becoming a cold-blooded assassin of a forward.

  • Crystal Dunn has surprised as a scrappy, effective defender. The Hermann trophy winner pushed up when needed but tracked back and made smart tackles, using all of her five-foot-one frame to stifle Canada’s attack. By the time she left in the 63rd minute, she even had several rips in her jersey. Dunn and Whitney Engen are two defenders who add tremendous depth to what was once a leaky, shallow back four.

  • Canada largely underwhelmed at home, but one of the bright spots was the strong play of Kadeisha Buchanan. The central defender is only 17 but has already put together a string of strong performances, culminating in Sunday’s match. Buchanan had a perfectly-timed, smothering slide tackle against Alex Morgan that took away a likely goal in the 52nd minute. She registered another gritty block three minutes later. The girl is tough, gritty and will be around for a while.

    Maura Gladys, a featured ASN columnist, works in production for KICKTV. She also runs the goalkeeping blog All You Need Is Glove.

  • Post a comment