The USWNT won the SheBelieves Cup on penalties

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The USWNT needed penalty kicks and another ridiculous shootout performance from goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, but Emily Fox slotted the winning penalty kick to defeat Canada for the SheBelieves Cup trophy on Tuesday night.
Despite misses from Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett during the shootout, Naeher once again played hero as she made three saves during the shootout and, as is her new standard, converted her own shot.
Sophia Smith provided both of the USWNT’s goals during the second half, after Canada went up late in the first.
Earlier in the night, Brazil and Japan also went to penalties to decide the third-place team.
Naeher redemption Even at her heights during the 2019 World Cup cycle, few would mistake Alyssa Naeher for being a sweeper-keeper.
Even without the “Naeher won’t beat Ashley Lawrence in a footrace” factor, Naeher decided to close the angle far too late into Canada’s counter.
Naeher took control of the moment by making a save of her own, then immediately stepping up to take the U.S.’s third shot, then turning around and making two more saves.
In Columbus, where the in-stadium announcer had to re-do the substitution announcement when Albert came on for Shaw, Albert was booed both times, and yet again after the game when her name was read during the trophy ceremony.

NEUTRAL

Emily Fox scored the game-winning penalty kick to help the USWNT defeat Canada and win the SheBelieves Cup on Tuesday night. The team also required penalty kicks and another absurd shootout performance from goalie Alyssa Naeher. Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett missed shots during the shootout, but Naeher once again came through with three saves and, in keeping with her new standard, converted her own shot. For the USWNT, it’s the seventh SheBelieves Cup trophy.

After Canada scored late in the first half, Sophia Smith scored both of the USWNT’s goals in the second half. In the latter stages of the game, Adriana Leon, who had been brought down by Crystal Dunn in the box, would equalize for Canada when Leon converted the penalty kick to make it 2-2. With her head, Canadian center back Kadeisha Buchanen almost scored the game-winning goal, but the U. s. was denied on the game’s last, noteworthy opportunity by the crossbar.

Japan and Brazil had also used penalties earlier in the evening to determine who would finish in third place. Japan failed to convert any of its attempts in the shootout, and Brazil was awarded that honor in the end.

We were able to witness a genuine soccer match between the U.S. and Colombia thanks to the favorable weather and lack of heavy downpour. S. and Canada appears at the moment — although we managed to find ourselves in the same situation where penalties are required to determine a winner, while numerous U. S. Fans continuously voiced their disapproval of Korbin Albert during the evening. These are the lessons learned from this particular matchup.

No mercy for Naeher.

Few would mistake Alyssa Naeher for a sweeper-keeper, even at her peak during the 2019 World Cup cycle. With a cool-headed approach that has prevented games from getting out of control, the Chicago Red Stars goalie is a fantastic shot-blocker on her best days. She is also a competent defensive coordinator. But, she is more of a conventional stay-near-the-net shot-stopper and is not the kind to rush onto a ball before an attacker sets up their shot.

That fact was made clear by Canada’s opening goal, and it has become increasingly clear with every year that goes by.

Naeher made the decision to close the angle into Canada’s counter far too late, even without the added pressure that he wouldn’t defeat Ashley Lawrence in a footrace. The difference between a last-ditch clearance and the actual outcome—an attempted clearance off of Lawrence’s shin straight to Deanne Rose—is probably that one split second of hesitation, which works against a goalkeeper who has to time that challenge. Additionally, Rose’s hesitation gave Adriana Leon an easy pass for an empty-net goal, giving the USWNT less time to reorganize its defensive alignment.

Naturally, the outcome of the match – an additional competition in which Naeher saves a minimum of one penalty in a shootout – confirms her legitimacy during the crucial moment. When it comes to managing spotty duties during a crucial event, she continues to be among the greatest in the world, if not the standard-bearer. Her perseverance benefited the U.S. S. recover after Rodman’s first penalty of the shootout was saved. Naeher took charge of the situation by saving herself and then stepping up to take the U. s. ‘s third attempt, pivoting and stopping two more shots. The dominance was total.

That being said, and this should go without saying, a team is only sent to penalties if it is not victorious in the ninety or twelve minutes that precede it. Winning big in a shootout is a required reward for a team that gives up goals like the one that started the game tonight.

Naeher’s decision-making in these kinds of situations could make or break the USWNT’s pursuit of a gold medal if the team is committed to playing a possession-based game that invites opponents to threaten to counter.

The USA. S. fans are still mainly dissatisfied with Albert.

Although they could be clearly heard even on Tuesday night’s television broadcast, Korbin Albert was booed both times she entered the field as a substitute. Both times Albert replaced Shaw in Columbus, the in-stadium announcer had to repeat the substitution announcement, and she was jeered once more when her name was called during the trophy ceremony following the game.

Apart from the fact that the team did appear worse after Albert entered the game—who wouldn’t with Shaw replacing the starting center? 10. It’s evident that some fans are not satisfied with Albert’s apology or the USWNT leadership’s subsequent claims that, although they denounce anti-LGBTQ behavior, they are addressing the matter behind closed doors.

Give it to Smith twice over.

Sophia Smith’s return to her goal-scoring ways is crucial for the USWNT, but both of her goals demonstrate the kind of success this team can achieve when they move the ball purposefully and execute their one-touch or first touch passes.

When you consider the attacking talent (and depth of that talent) on this team, the direct approach is actually offering more options. We’ve seen how playing a more direct approach has worked this year during the Gold Cup against Colombia. Although Shaw was moved back to the No. 1 spot and Swanson was brought on, Smith will be credited for both of Tuesday’s goals. 10 that allowed the forward line to interact more successfully; as we already mentioned, Shaw contributed to the build-up for both goals.

In particular, her choice to just lay it off for Smith on the equalizer was the epitome of what happens when you take the easy, fast route and have faith in the player on the other side of the call.

It seems like the double pivot is back.

Sam Coffey and Emily Sonnett positioned in a double pivot, the United States went with a more defensive setup with Canada. However, Jaedyn Shaw must be moved out of the midfield, which is what happened when Shaw moved to the left wing, if you play Coffey and Sonnett together there and keep Lindsey Horan in the midfield as well. The 19-year-old Shaw seemed a little off balance at first, and it would have been fascinating to watch her get off to the No. ten consecutive games, rather than requesting that she change positions. Shaw will undoubtedly make that type of switch more skillfully with time, but in this game, it left the U.S. s. seeking a means of breaking through Canada’s barriers.

The US. S. changed their approach a little in the second half, putting Shaw back in the No. 10 by using Coffey in place of Mal Swanson. Shaw’s proximity to Smith allowed Smith to enter the half space and drop into the pocket, rather than staying wide and needing to outmuscle a defender. This helped set up the second half’s equalizing goal. Shaw’s well-weighted pass to Rodman for the second goal also contributed to its creation.

After examining both setups during the two halves, it is difficult to support the more stifling double-pivot, though that might have been impacted by players switching positions in-between games and Naomi Girma’s injury. It was also hampered by Dunn’s perplexing usage, as she spent long stretches of time by herself sitting in space on the touchline without ever touching the ball.

Naturally, there isn’t a law stating that the U. s. has to stick with one formation all the time; in a friendly against Canada, why not try a more defensive setup and see if you can score from it? The team’s willingness to make changes in the second half paid off in the end, and that’s really what counts.

Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF is the top photo.

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