June 19, 2024

Women’s World Cup Scouting Report: USWNT

The task before the USWNT is simple: win the World Cup — again, again — to become the first nation to win three straight World Cup trophies.

[ MORE: 2023 Women’s World Cup schedule, how to watch live ]

Twice now, the women’s national team has won back-to-back World Cups — Germany (2003 and 2007) and the USA (2015 and 2019). Only the men’s side, Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962) have successfully defended their crowns once each.

Below we focus on the USWNT as the Yanks aim to make history that could never be replicated.

Tactics and formation

Without a doubt, the biggest news regarding the USWNT’s roster was the announcement that captain and goalkeeper Becky Sauerbrunn would not be fit in time for the 2023 World Cup, leaving a 216-cap hole in the heart of Vlatko Andonovski’s defense. The last time the USWNT played without Sauerbrunn in the SheBelieves Cup final lineup was against Japan, back in February, when Alana Cook and Naomi Girma shared the central defense. The Yanks kept a clean sheet on 15 shots (only two on target) and won 1-0.

The coach

Andonovski has been in the position since 2019, when he replaced Jill Ellis, who led the Yanks to back-to-back World Cups. Big shoes to fill, to say the least.

“We want to do something that has never been done before. We believe in the quality of the team and the support we have, and we think we have what it takes to do it.”

Vlatko Andonovski, USWNT head coach

Star player(s).

The USWNT is not short on star attacking talent, present and future. Alex Morgan continues to score goals (121 internationals) at the age of 34 and has over 200 caps in a storied career – a milestone that will be surpassed by 38-year-old Megan Rapinoe, who is also on the roster, when she turns up. Two players over 400 caps (and 184 goals). On the flip side, Trinity Rodman (age 21), Sophia Smith (22) and Alyssa Thompson (18) have 14 goals and 49 assists between them, but the trio looks set to lead the USWNT for the next decade (eventually). To make the team selection even more interesting, Lynn Williams, the other on the roster, has seven goals in 13 games and has been in great form in the NWSL this season.

Two other top stars, Mallory Swanson and Catarino Macario, will also miss the tournament due to long-term knee injuries.

“I think this team is the best team we’ve ever had … I think we’ve got the talent, we’ve got the quality, we’ve got the right coach, the right players, the right camaraderie, the right attitude.”

Alex Morgan, USWNT forward

Prospects for the 2023 World Cup

Few, if any, clubs and national teams around the world carry the same weight of expectation any time they take the field, let alone every time, as the USMNT does. They are expected to win it. The IS hope that is, they do something that has never been done before, and failure to do so would mean just that: failure. Heavy is the one who wears two crowns in search of a third.

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