U.S. Women's National Team
Yanks Drop Five on Russia to Secure Second Victory
April 09, 2017
THE UNITED STATES women’s national team defeated Russia on Sunday in Houston, capitalizing on four first-half goals and cruising to an eventual 5-1 victory.
Carli Lloyd, Rose Lavelle, and Crystal Dunn (2) all tallied to propel the Americans to the win, the second time the Yanks beat Russia inside of four days. Coming off the team’s poor performance in March’s SheBelieves Cup, the wins should provide a nice confidence boost for the U.S. squad.
In both victories against the Russians, head coach Jill Ellis lined the side up in a 4-4-2, with Allie Long and Sam Mewis sitting deep while Mallory Pugh and Lavelle patrolled the wings. Lavelle’s tally on Sunday represented her first for the senior national team, a fitting end to an April camp in which the youngster increased her stock more than any other player.
Mewis also put in a strong midfield performance in Houston while earning her fifth start in five games in 2017 for the Americans. Repeatedly in the first half, Mewis proved to be the locksmith for the Yanks, finding her teammates out wide, switching the point of attack, and finding gaps in behind the Russian defense.
Pugh, after an uninspiring performance on Thursday night, looked stronger on Sunday. She provided the assist on Lavelle’s goal with a gorgeous cross-field pass and then did the same in the second half to Crystal Dunn—who herself scored four times against the Russians over this two-game set.
Dunn makes it 5-1. pic.twitter.com/a47Qc5X5pV— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) April 9, 2017
In the back, Casey Short earned her second start in two games in the center of the U.S. defense. It’s an unusual position for the left back, who has started eight of the last nine games for the Americans since breaking into the team last October.
Short gave up a penalty on a dubious foul in the first half but looked good in her new role. However, it’s doubtful that Short will remain in the middle once Julie Ertz—who missed this camp due to her wedding and honeymoon—returns to the team in June.
Heading forward, the U.S. players will return to their club sides with most kicking off the National Women’s Soccer League season next weekend. They will reconvene in June for a pair of matches in Europe against Sweden and Norway.
Of particular interest during the next camp will be how Ellis lines up her side. The return to a more traditional four back looked good against the 25th-ranked Russians, but the Swedes will provide a much stiffer test. Shockingly, the Americans are 0-1-3 against Pia Sundhage’s side over the past three years.
The match against Sweden is on June 8 (1:30pm ET, ESPN).
John D. Halloran is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter.