… from the 11 new faces who have been called up for the first time in October.
We already mentioned we unfortunately have to leave the college players out because we dont know enough. Thats not nice but we would also appreciate others rather saying nothing than talking about things without too much knowing about.
Out of the college players Jane Campbell and Ashley Hatch dont, but Andi Sullivan does return.
Of the NWSL players that is pretty much what we saw during the season and thus is probably not a bad sign? But first let us state again that the matches against Switzerland have not helped a lot regarding any aspects of the capabilities of the US players. The Swiss have been just not demanding enough.
The coaching staff probably got a much better impression during training sessions and it was also a likely follow up of these training sessions who got their caps and who didnt (and who returns now). Hopefully that is also a positive sign for Casey Short who could not use her chance very well to shine against the Swiss. Scoring is always using your chance and we saw again the raw talents of Lynn Williams athleticism. Andi Sullivan played very solid given the huge gap from college to NT in regards to distraction level and environment she had to face. Would be also nice she would risk a little bit more this time. Abby Dahlkemper and Kealia Ohai werent on the pitch long enough but you could already see the drive of Ohai towards the goal. Casey Short hopefully also takes her chances better this time having got the previous experience. She – like all newcomers in all teams – has her time to use and show her strengths even if she is playing a position where this isnt so easy. Nobody will ask you later. Do what you are good at. Run. Fight. And repeat doing what you are good at. Dont go for 90 minutes. Focus on being spent after 60. Look how long you then are able to hold on. Then say you are finished. If in doubt with the coach, say you have picked up an injury. But telling your coach you are done after you have done your running often does more good than harm.
But lets also resume that the differences in the level between most of the players are not that big (mostly) that it couldnt be made up by a good training in the next half year going into next season. So a lot depends how these players use their call ups to make an additional step forward.
However for the moment Arin Gilliland, Merritt Mathias, Shea Groom and Danielle Colaprico have to focus on that.
Lynn Williams, Kealia Ohai, Casey Short and Abby Dahlkemper return.
Additionally also like expected Kristen Edmonds got a call up and Jaelene Hinkle also returned (besides the obviously expected returns). We would have liked to see even more new call ups because thats the time to give all the ladies a motivational boost to show them they arent far away and prepare well for next season to keep their chances intact. Helps the players and the league. Certainly also would help the players and the league (though I dont know about the legal aspects) to just give everyone a cap who has been called up. Sounds better for everyone when a league game can be advertised with 9 (Ex?-)USWNT players playing than 5. Making also the job easier for the clubs to find new sponsors.
However you can of course also call players and tell them they are under observation without calling them up into the roster.
A little bit surprising that Emily Sonnett is missing who was pretty much regularly with the team for quite some time now. Always a little bit strange when you are (nearly) the only one. The coaching staff will know the reasons. Regarding her NWSL matches it was also not easy to tell but although she didnt yet quite look like on level with Sauerbrunn or Johnston but she probably looked amongst the next best.
Played a major role for Orlando Pride and her level of play probably was a little bit closer to Alex Morgan than for example Danielle Colapricos to Christin Press? But that comparison is very vague. Still for Edmonds might also the same be valid like for the most of the other new faces after the Olympics. A very good player, very unlucky that there are so many extraordinary players around. But maybe a little bit closer to the extraordinary than some of the others.
But the margins are fine. Looking good for the Pride was also partially due to the fact that she was the goto player in offensive midfield. A status however she got by her good performances. But she wont be a goto player in the WNT. However compared to say Alli Long or Linsay Horan in a offensive midfield role she might also possess the football brain to get the mix right between being a solid supporter at times and stepping in with goto-player actions when possible. But first lets see whether she gets minutes by showing her talents in the training sessions.
We had already talked about her here. As a resume she is the special interest player for providing high crosses with a good precision and vision. Probably not the best in passing and combining through a tight midfield but also with good pace to prevent being overrun by speedy wingers. Her young age also a plus.
That brings us to do something you shouldnt do too much elsewhere. Looking at the age of the ladies. We are neither fans of being young means being a good footballer nor being old means being a good footballer. If one is already good enough with 16. Very fine. If one is still good enough with 40. Also very fine. But we have to deal with the probability that a player with 16 is improving over the next three years as a player above 30 isnt. That is a probability and not a certainty. But a high probability certainly. But then again. Some are with 33 as good as with 30. Some are with 20 not so much better than aged 17.
So Ali Krieger is 32, Meghan Rapinoe is 31, Kristen Edmonds is 29, with Alli Long, Meghan Klingenberg and Kelly O’Hara also well above 30 in three years. You shouldnt have age amongst the k.o.-criteria. But you shouldnt deny it either.
There have been loads of discussions around Rapinoes knee since a year. First it was the knee of the nation when she tore her knee (or ACL). And short after that when she took a knee. We have a very dedicated opinion whether we agree or not and it is probably not difficult to guess from what we write. However we are even more dedicated to letting a site about football be a site about football and separate that from discussions on political issues elsewhere. Being one of the first to comment on the ridiculous field in New York though was about football and we would have liked to see even more solidarity amongst the players to prevent the league on which they rely from suffering from such damaging images.
We also have to mention the level of Romania is well below the Swiss. Romania just unluckily (on away goals after two draws to Portugal) missed out on qualifying for the 16-team European Championships next year. The team probably will remind you that there are still players in there who are non-professionals. But congrats on achieving that level.