The USWNT has played a perfect two games in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup! They beat rivals England 2-0 in their opening game, and scored once and kept a clean sheet against a scrappy Spain side. Tonight they need to only draw Japan to win back the Cup!
A strong, structured and lethal USWNT
Coming off their World Cup win last summer and their recent CONCACAF Championship win to send them to the Olympics this summer, USWNT wanted to continue their World dominance in this tournament. From the first kick in this tournament, it was clear the US was ready to do just that!
Against England, USA showed they were going to power their way to a win. They knew England were going to want to possess the ball and play through them. The US midfield and defense were structured well to hold off English attacks and were strong when they needed to bend but not break.
England did have the majority of possession in the match, but the USWNT was able to limit them to eight shots only three of which were on target. Transitioning from defense to attack, the USA was lethal. When they had the opportunity they took shots; they totaled 23 shots, six of which were on target, and two that were goals!
Christen Press scored a true golazo in the 53rd minute, curling a powerful shot past the England keeper. Two minutes later Carli Lloyd was put in on goal and she scored the US’s second goal. The game continued and the USWNT stayed strong and structured to keep a clean sheet against the SheBeleives Cup holders from 2019!
Ertz has been the most important player in the squad
In the game against England, Julie Ertz made her 100th cap for the USWNT. If this milestone doesn’t show how valuable she is, her play in the first two matches has done that and then some!
Ertz has been the catalyst in turning defense into attack. At the center of a midfield three, she has been tasked with being a destroyer in front of the back four, which she has done to perfection! She has also been instrumental in starting attacks. Having the ability to move the ball upfield, Ertz has been able to become a distributor finding her fellow midfielders or the three attackers moving forward to create dangerous situations.
If that was not enough, she is also dominant on set pieces. As was seen in the match against Spain, If you give Ertz time to attack a cross or a corner, she will make you pay! She scored the only goal against Spain in a game where Spain really took it to the US. Ertz’s role and ability to be so well rounded was the difference in the second match of this tournament and will likely make her the most valuable player for this team for years to come.
USA vs Japan determines the title
The USA takes on Japan tonight for a chance to win the SheBeleives Cup! All they’ll need to do is play to a draw, but It would not be surprising to see the USWNT go for the jugular and blow out Japan.
Japan is a good team, but it seems like they have fallen from where they were years ago. The USA-Japan matchup will always carry weight as they have battled it out for over a decade to be called the best in the world. Now, Japan looks like a shell of their past selves. Losing in the round of 16 in this past summers World Cup, and losing both games in this SheBelieves Cup to Spain and England.
If the USWNT is on, and they will be with the news that came out yesterday from the US Soccer federation on equal pay, then they will win the game and the tournament.
The best team in the world
Speaking of that news from the US Soccer Federation saying that the women do not deserve equal pay because they don’t do as much as men to warrant equal pay, that is absolutely absurd.
This is the best team in the world, period! If this federation wants to keep profiting from their success, then the least they can do is pay them equally to the men’s team who is not nearly as successful. The two sides seem to be on a collision course for a court trial in May to settle this issue!
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Mandatory Credit: Morgan Tencza-MT Photography
Philadelphia Union Editor of Soccer Content
A passion for the beautiful game drives me.