U-20 WWC: Ghana vs USA

A/N: I would much rather be writing about the New Zealand-Korea DPR game and listening to my sister babble about Disney movies than griping about the US game, but…

Compared to the U-20s in this game, the US U-17 team that didn’t make it out of qualifiers are much less of a disappointment. Ahead of the game against Ghana, Jillian Ellis said that they hadn’t seen Ghana’s U-20 WNT play, but she had seen U-17s, so the US knew to expect… athleticism. Which seems really obvious. Essentially, the US went into this game unprepared, nervous, and out of sync.

The backline, while not perfect, was competent. Bianca Henninger and her defenders held the fort well, aside from the early goal, which pretty sweet, despite being against the US. The backline managed to get involved in the attack as much as anyone else, and Toni Pressley laid out some nice tackles.

The big issue for the US in this match was the forwards, who apparently couldn’t connect for anything. Bywaters was just as off as she was during the qualifiers, and just as overused. Brooks was useless in the midfield. Leroux, Nairn, and DiMartino weren’t on the same page, and the frustration was obvious. The eyerolling from Leroux, the physicality from Nairn, the constant adjusting of the kit from DiMartino. Despite illness, injury, and inexperience among the Ghanaians, the supposedly superior US side couldn’t put the ball in the net until the 70th minute.

I don’t care for the way Ellis arranged the starting lineup and subs. I think the right players went in, but the wrong players came out, and Bywaters was left to flounder for too long. Verloo probably wasn’t in long enough  to prove that she could make a difference, but she did get involved right away. Hayes probably should have started, and Noyola should have come in for Brooks, not Nairn. These two subs had more to do with the US goal than Leroux did. Which is nothing against Leroux, but more with regards to the value of these two players. Without them, this game would have ended in a Ghanaian win and a huge upset for the American side.

There had better be lineup changes in the next game. I have no sympathy for a US U-20 team that aims for a record worse than 2006’s.

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