Women’s World Cup: Three Keys For USWNT Retaining The Title

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is less than a month away. The United States Women’s National Team is looking to defend and retain their title. The USWNT is looking to be the second team in Women’s World Cup history to win back-to-back titles. They’re seeking to add a fourth star to the jersey.

Earlier this month, the squad was announced. Veterans include Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Ertz, and Megan Rapinoe, all of which were part of the victorious four years ago. Young and rising stars include Sam Mewis, Mallory Pugh, Lindsey Horan, and Rose Lavelle.

With over half a dozen players with over 100 caps, the USWNT is entering this tournament as a well-experienced team. This tournament may see the USWNT close the chapter on one golden generation and start a new chapter on a new one. With legendary players Hope Solo and Abby Wambach in retirement, this may be Lloyd’s final World Cup run. Lloyd is determined to help her country win a title one more time.

Three Keys To Retaining The Title: 

Score goals: Scoring goals is always a top priority for winning games. Four years ago, the USA scored the second most goals in the tournament. However, what’s important is not scoring the most goals in the tournament. Rather it’s scoring enough to win a game and move on to the next challenge. Whether it means winning by one goal or ten, the biggest key to victory is scoring goals.

To have a scoring lead is to be at least one step ahead of their opponent. That’s what the USA has to do; stay in front and don’t get behind.

Deny opportunities: Four years ago, the USA kept three clean sheets in the knockout stage of the tournament. The USA would deny opportunites to their opponents, while they would take advantage of theirs.

In the knockout stage four years ago, they allowed a total of seven shots-on-target. That means their opponents had very little chances of scoring. Furthermore, they only allowed two goals, which was in the final against Japan.

To their advantage, the USA had Solo guarding the goal post. Solo was perfectly capable of denying opposing attacks by making fantastic saves. This time, the USA is without Solo, but regardless, they’ll need the same strategy; solid defending and goaltending.

The one thing that the USA needs to very careful with is committing fouls. Four years ago, in the semifinal match against Germany, the Germans were awarded a penatly. However, the USA caught a break as Germany failed to capitalize. Fouls can be major game changers so the USA needs to avoid commit avoiding fouls at all costs.

Overall, the USA needs to be aware of what’s going. Both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. In other words, they need to be aware of their opponent’s tactics and strategies. At the same time, they can’t let their opponents know theirs.

Take and keep control: In order to keep preventing opportunities to their adversaries, the USA needs to maintain control. Stay on control of ball possession and maintain a good percentage of pass accuracy.

If the American attack can successfully penetrate through an opposing defense continually, they’ll be able to exhaust the defense which allows them to be in control. As long as the American attack is controlling the ball, making passes, creating penetration, and scoring goals, the game will be under their full control.

The United States’ Group Stage opponents are Thailand, Chile, and Sweden. While Thailand and Chile shouldn’t be any trouble for the USA, Sweden, however, may be the US’s first challenge of the tournament.

Sweden pulled off an upset in the 2016 Olympics by eliminating the USA from the tournament. The USA has longed for the opportunity to exact revenge. It’s safe to say that the USA vs Sweden has been a match in the making.

The USA play their first game on June 11th against Thailand.

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