In a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final, the USWNT battled the Netherlands to a 1-1 tie.
The perseverance to salvage a point was promising and necessary, especially in a World Cup that is proving to be competitive. The slow start to the game? Less promising.
The US had a handful of near-deadly chances but the attacking efforts looked disjointed at times and the strikers lacked the finishing poise we all know they’re capable of exhibiting.
Despite having few shot attempts, a clinical Dutch offense carved apart the USWNT midfield and its defense in the 17th minute, sending the US into the locker room trailing and flailing. All they could do was reset and try again.
A second-half substitution that infused Rose Lavelle’s much-needed crafty play-making into an otherwise lackluster team performance created an initial spark.
USWNT took control after their goal
Then the Dutch learned that to make Lindsey Horan mad is to unleash a beast.
Following a crunching tackle that Horan made abundantly clear she didn’t particularly appreciate, she headed home an “in your face” goal that shifted momentum and gave the US the edge for the remainder of the game.
So they salvaged a point and showed they can fight. A relief indeed. But what player of a defending champion team wants to walk off the field merely feeling relieved?
Confidence and jubilation … those are emotions more suited to a world #1, a ranking that will likely slip through their fingers if this type of performance were to be repeated.
Spain, Germany, and France all obliterated their opponents, albeit less challenging ones than the Netherlands. But the USWNT didn’t exactly dominate Vietnam to the extent they should have last week either.
The USWNT has minimal time to turn their World Cup around. The rest of the world is hungry, and the USWNT is their meal of choice.