Another 6-0 win, another lackluster performance from the US. When people say the US was “convincing” in this win, I’m not sure what the audience was convinced of. All I am convinced of is that the 2010 U-17s could beat the 2012 U-20s and that people that look favorably on the game against Cuba didn’t actually watch the game.
But let’s build up to that. Starting XI:
18-Abby Smith, ; 4-Crystal Dunn, 17-Olivia Brannon, 5-Kassey Kallman, 2-Mollie Pathman (capt.); 15-Samantha Mewis, 6-Morgan Brian, 10-Mandy Laddish; 20-Maya Hayes, 14-Katie Stengel, 9-Chioma Ubogagu
Awesome! Remember my wish list? So the prized striker (Horan) didn’t start, but both Hayes and Ubogagu did. Brannon and Laddish both started! DiBernardo played a full half. Two of three subs affected the game, so we’ll call that smart enough for now. Two points that weren’t addressed at all: Johnston did not play and Brian played the full 90.
Here’s the thing. Swanson seems like he is legitimately willing to change personnel when things aren’t working. But there doesn’t seem to be anything he can do about improving the US players’ passing. Pretty atrocious stuff last night. It’s hard to say whether that’s a familiarity/chemistry issue or something else. Maybe the kids just don’t care–I could see that being the case. For all but ten minutes of the game, the US players looked like they were doing a chore rather than something they purportedly enjoy. There was no urgency.
Comparatively, Panama and Guatemala followed up the USA’s disappointing win with an incredibly spirited battle. The hosts emerged victorious with a 3-1, hard-fought win. Panama might have what it takes to give this unmotivated US team the inspiration to play.
Here’s what I could stand to see from the US vs Panama:
- More DiBernardo. She looked like she actually wanted to be on the field and brought new energy in both games. Couldn’t hurt to start her, given the first half performances so far.
- Less Brian. We’re seeing some bad Lloyd habits out there.
- Some desire to try new things and play better soccer. Stop squandering tournament experience.
- Um, Micaela Capelle? Didn’t we take the minimum requirement 1 Bronco/1 Pilot to Panama?
I even have a starting XI wishlist!
- Heaberlin/Smith; Brannon, Kallman, Roccaro, Pathman; Johnston, Laddish, and Mewis; DiBernardo, Horan, Ubogagu/Hayes.
This is assuming Swanson is married to keeping Kallman and Pathman in the starting lineup. (He seems to be.) But it’s also hoping that he realizes Brian needs a timeout or something, because she definitely isn’t hitting her potential on the field.