USWNT Falls to Brazil 3-2 In Shocking Defeat


The USWNT  has looked far from the top ranked team in the world this past year. The quick start the US got off to today against Brazil looked like a turning point. However, 5-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta tore the US defense apart to give Brazil the win.

Carli Lloyd put the Americans ahead in the 6th minute before Megan Rapinoe doubled the lead in the 10th. Marta cut the lead in half after a nice through ball sent her in behind the defense in the 19th minute.

Marta tore apart the US back four with an amazing individual effort in the 55th minute. 11 minutes later, Marta scored her third to bury the United States.

No doubt that this was a poor effort from the US, but it should be put in perspective. Alex Morgan still hasn’t made her return from ankle injury. Players are still learning their roles in the 4-3-3 formation. The team was also facing Marta at her absolute best, which could make any defense crumble.

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There are dozens of excuses that can be made. The problem is that 2014 has been a year of excuses. Starting with the embarrassment at the Algarve Cup up to Brazil’s comeback today, it’s clear this team has its issues.

The formation has been criticized for a number of reasons. It’s important to understand that the 4-3-3 is only a name. It doesn’t spell out the roles of each individual player. What roles these players are playing and how well they can play them is what matters. Why Lauren Holiday is playing as a holding mid and Abby Wambach is playing as an attacking mid is beyond me. Jill Ellis seems to be playing a number of players out of position and its not working.

At the end of the day, this can be fixed. Alex Morgan will eventually return. Others will fill into the role that they are best suited for in this team. The upcoming training camps in 2015 will help Ellis figure out a system that works in time for the World Cup.

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The back line (after Lori Chalupny was taken off) could be the back line that starts the opening game in the World Cup. They were ripped to pieces by Marta today. This is the biggest concern. Attacking problems can be fixed, but the defensive problems may be more troublesome. The defense hasn’t looked too concerning, but they also haven’t faced many teams that can give them problems.

The poor play from the back four may just have been an off night or lack of playing time together in the last couple weeks. Whatever the problem was for the defense against Brazil, it needs to be evaluated in the upcoming days.

The World Cup is six months away. These type of performances don’t do much for confidence, but it may just be the turning point the US Women’s National Team needed to snap out of their 2014 funk. If it’s not the turning point, then the likelihood of the US winning the World Cup is almost none.