What Went Wrong?

Discussion in 'USA Women: News and Analysis' started by Awe-Inspiring, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. Awe-Inspiring

    Awe-Inspiring New Member

    Jan 18, 2000
    This thread is intended to be an in-depth look at where the USA came up short in WWC '03 and what can be done to improve for '04.

    Please avoid bashing personalities -- particularly the coach. If you want to assert that Heinrichs should be fired, there are other threads to do it. Feel free to suggest what should have been done differently (including coaching decisions) (i.e., "Pearce should have started" or "the attack should not always run down the right flank followed by a header" is fine; "we need a new coach" is for a different thread).

    The "Fire Heinrichs" calls can go on elsewhere (I'm not joining them; I'll do a separate thread later to defend her, and I will gladly take on all comers there).

    To me, the three most glaring flaws in the USA team construction and play were: injuries, lack of finishing against good teams and lack of controlled midfield passing.

    Hucles' injury hurt and came after the roster was named. O'Reilly's came before and cost speed up front.

    MacMillan is a questionable call. Reports say she was recovered, and her versatility, proven game performance and hard shot, plus her contribution to chemistry, made her right to take in that situation. But something ran amiss during the Cup. Slaton also was questionable, but if Heinrichs remotely thought she could go she too was a right choice.

    Second, as Wambach displayed greatness, the team relied on her too much. Her value is in not only dominating opponents, but leaving others free to cash in (like luring four defenders on a corner versus Norway, leaving Parlow open). The others were using her too often as a target and not enough to create from -- unlike the beautiful first goal against Sweden.

    Third, there was too little midfield play that led to through passes to spring open players -- or to setups of shots from 20 to 25 meters.

    I don't get hung up about few goals off the run of play while so many came from set pieces. Set pieces gave the USA early leads in most games, changing the flow of play and ensuring that goals in the run of play would be harder to come.

    Finally, several players simply failed to play up to what fans had a right to expect. Both Wagner and Milbrett looked lost on the pitch. Heinrichs gave them both chances and neither could produce. By the end of the tournament, we had no bench.

    Biggest need for the future -- a new midfield. Pearce, Sobrero, Reddick and Slaton can anchor a back line. Boxx can handle defensive mid. Wambach and O'Reilly will score up front.

    Who are the up and coming midfielders?

    Remember, soccer today is a midfielder's game. Virtually all of the highest greats in the men's game today are midfielders. Meinart was devastating for Germany. Norway had no midfield against the USA. Where is the USA's future midfield?
  2. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax
    simple... they played panicky football in the second half instead of working the passing game that is their staple
  3. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax
    up and coming midfielders:

    lindsay tarpley
    lori chalupny
    devvyn hawkins
    alyssa ramsey
    and despite what we saw... aly wagner

    i also like bivens as a winger, she showed a little overmars-esque stuff v norway
  4. CAFAN

    CAFAN Member

    May 30, 2003
    Tough to win a game without scoring goals:

    #1 Failure to penetrate the box area in numbers during the run of play. Air or ground, but especially with the ball on the ground.

    #2 Failure to score on set plays. Lots of corners but no results. Can't let that many opportunities go unrewarded.

    #3 Finishing really didn't seem to be the problem. Not really a lot of opportunities to finish. Speed and directness of the attack were lacking. For example, the USA often got the ball wide into the German corner with speed but what happened after that was slow. You're not likely to get the German defenders out of position that way but there wasn't enough speed of attack on the crosses. More just stand there and jump for the header. Much easier to defend. There were also too few attacks from the front of the box. USA didn't press the German defenders into making mistakes where it counts the most.

    Except for the last few minutes, the USA defenders did a good job. The mid's did plenty well enough defending and possessing the ball but not enough of the right things offensively.

    Milrett and Wagner didn't have the best tournaments but I thought they played better in this game. Milbrett in particular had the right approach.

    Finally, it's probably as much a matter of how/when the USA introduces new talent into the program as who. If the 'eternals' want to play through to the Oly's, what should April do?
  5. sspeed

    sspeed New Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    I absolutely dissagree with this point. When Wagner went in the last game she completely changed the pace and flow. Millie had a similar effect. Germany dominated possesion the first half and the best the US could do was counterpunch. Wagner put at least four legitimate through balls to the forwards that could have should have been goals. The game was controlled by the US after she checked in. Against Nigeria she had a tough time, but to dismiss her as ineffective throughout the tournament is ludicrous. The real problem as I see it is that to develop timing with the forwards it requires field time. While she got this time and showed well leading up to the Cup, April panicked in the weeks prior and went to the old guard, thus removing a position for Aly. Without Wagner, we had to rely on the power game, and look where it got us. I suggest if you have the ability, rewatch the games. You might be surprised.
  6. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax
    Re: Re: What Went Wrong?

    the US had nearly 60% of the ball in the 1st half
  7. Charge!

    Charge! Member

    May 7, 2001
    BSG 75
    :eek: x infinity.

    Bivens was absolutely abused against the Germans; no wonder she was taken out of there; Mitts could and would have done better, yet she was stuck in Bristol, CT. She was healthy and available, but the decision was made to select a roster where the coaching staff knew 20% was injured significantly in one way or another. The lack of depth, the lack of goals in the run of play, the lack of creativity; all conspired to have the US playing on Saturday instead of Sunday morning.

  8. DavidJames

    DavidJames Member+

    May 11, 2003
    "The real problem as I see it is that to develop timing with the forwards it requires field time. While she got this time and showed well leading up to the Cup, April panicked in the weeks prior and went to the old guard, thus removing a position for Aly. Without Wagner, we had to rely on the power game, and look where it got us."

    I asked the question, what happened to Wagner in the Olympics thread. I thought Wagner contributed a lot to the team, but then...gone...

    I think her lack of playing time just before the cup and then during certainly didn't help her ability to contribute.
  9. kenosha

    kenosha New Member

    Sep 19, 2001
    West Vancouver, BC
    Totally disagree that the midfield did fine. I think the midfield was pathetic until Wagner came into the game, and then only improved marginally. If you get to watch the tape, count how many passes Lilly and Foudy made that actually went to a USA player. Worse yet, how often did this happen when there was no pressure on them. Its infuriating. Second, when Germany turned the ball over, watch how slowly the midfield went forward with the ball. In contrast, Germany was going forward quickly every time the USA midfield gave the ball away, which was frequently. Midfield possession has been the soft spot on this team throughout its history when a person named Michelle Akers was not playing center mid. The only reason they got away with it with her was that she overpowered the opponents midfield and won back a lot of those passes to no one.
    I will enjoy watching the USWNT when I don't have to watch the gifted Kristine Lilly make 9-10 passes to no one a game. Julie Foudy, same issue. Give us midfielders that value the ball.
  10. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax

    1-bivens played at right back against germany and she hardly was abused - nevertheless i was referring to the norway game where she played in the midfield and looked far more comfortable - she was taking on defenders left and right... literally because she started the match at RM and played the second half at LM

    2-she was taken out for an attacker because we were down a goal

    3-christie pearce is better than both of them put together
  11. Turk from Pigs Eye

    Turk from Pigs Eye New Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    Pigs Eye (St. Paul),
    Nothing went wrong. They just ran into a hot goalie.

    Who said the USA has to win every game? There are very competent soccer minds and bodies outside the USA. Maybe it's better for the women's game that we don't win all the time.
  12. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax
    1-ummmm... nah - they played a very uncharacteristic game, completely ignoring passes/runs up the gut and settling for wide wide wide cross cross cross... and poor crosses at that - also had some miserable corner serves, which had been brilliant up until then

    2-i agree completely

    3-no comment
  13. cantona24

    cantona24 New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Tarpley is the real deal.

    Wagner...too slow with her decision making.

    Milbrett=washed up.

    Foudy=a disappointing WWC.

    Get the new breed in quickly...not necessarily all the young players, but they need experience if US stands any chance at all in 2007 without the legends.
  14. jack921

    jack921 New Member

    Jul 10, 2000
    You're disagreeing that they ran into a hot goalie? Germany's keeper didn't a tremendous job controlling her area.
  15. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax
    no - i am disagreeing that JUST ran into a hot goalie
  16. sspeed

    sspeed New Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Foudy has done very little since the last World Cup Milbret has had a tough year, but can recover
    Tarpley has done nothing at all with the full Nats yet so waaaaay to early to make such a silly statement.
    Wagner too slow with decisions? Ever heard of a little tournament called the Algarve Cup? She played a ton there and exhibited what she can do. You just lost any credibility in your previous comments.
  17. sspeed

    sspeed New Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Re: Re: Re: What Went Wrong?

    How did you derive that percentage???? Did you count dead time on set plays?
  18. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax
    Re: Re: Re: Re: What Went Wrong?

    well... with about 2 or 3 minutes left in the first half ZDF (german tv station) showed a graphic that the US had 58% of the possession
  19. Tom T

    Tom T New Member

    Feb 25, 2003
    Soccer Wasteland
    In no particular order:
    1. "On any given Sunday";
    Great teams have bad games sometimes - sometimes induced by great opponents, sometimes by lesser opponents, sometimes by themselves,sometimes by no one.

    2. It was more than lack of finishing. The US was completely out of their game. There was little or no build-up, control, flow. Mostly bop and go - and the timing wasn't there 90% of the time.

    3. An Akers type player who can dominate the midfield was missing.

    4. Perhaps the WUSA, although it helped in many ways, may have also cut into the preparation/focus??????
    Heck, the rave of the tournament - Wambach - wasn't even in the picture until when, July?
    Did what ended -up as the "core" team ever play together very much?
    I closely followed and attended many games leading-up to the 99 WWC. It seems to me that there were many more games in which the core team played every game - together.
    "We" were still searching, looking, whatever, until about a month ago.

    5. But, most of all, I'm sticking with a previous post:
    Looked to me like a team that was out of gas.....lots of travel......impatient, etc (consolidation of 1-4)

    I've witnessed many games and don't recall seeing them ever play like that.

    Maybe I'm stuck in my own paradigm, but their style of play just isn't the same.
  20. Sachin

    Sachin New Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    La Norte
    DC United
    Not to toot my own horn too much, but I called this more than a year ago:


    Damn, I'm good.
  21. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Sporting Kansas City
  22. Sachin

    Sachin New Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    La Norte
    DC United
    I prefer to say, influced by rather than cribbed from. I drew many of my own conclusions a year ago. I posted a similar thread before the crash.

  23. Awe-Inspiring

    Awe-Inspiring New Member

    Jan 18, 2000
    You may be good, but you are hardly alone.

    H*ll, every time I see some asinine comment about how the USA used to be dominant until Heinrichs came on board and I point out how every previous major tournament win by the USA has been by the slimmest of margins (refuting the notion that Heinrichs inherited the dominant team in the world), I've noted it.

    Plus, most of us have noted that several teams have improved since '99 -- perhaps spurred on by the sport's success in '99.

    Nobody who remotely follows the USA team could have expected an easy road this Cup.

    H*ll, there were posters on these boards who did not think the USA would get past group play.

    You're good, Sachin, but don't hog the pedestal all to yourself. ;)
  24. sexysadie

    sexysadie Red Card

    Sep 29, 2003
    somewhere on earth
    a team is like a machine, when you take one component out of the machine it will breakdown, we took Christie Pierce out of the team, we did not have someone to attack down the flank so, Mia Hamm had to work on the right flank leaving the middle box only one player, Wambach against 4 big bodied Germans, I think Mia should stay in the box the whole time against the team like Germany
  25. sexysadie

    sexysadie Red Card

    Sep 29, 2003
    somewhere on earth
    and also the key of Germans success was they successfully stopped the flow of Christine Lilly attacks from the left, a lot of great attacks and dangerous crosses came from Lilly in the previous matches and i think also we talked too much about how good our set pieces were, this was supposed to be our SECRET WEAPON so, i believe the Germans was practicing about how to stop our set pieces and they succeed

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