USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski’s toughest decisions on Olympic football list
Vlatko Andonovsky will make some incredibly difficult calls for the U.S. Women’s National Team to train at the Olympics and then make some extremely difficult players who won’t travel to Tokyo.
They beat Nigeria 2-0 on Wednesday night in the final of a three-game exhibition series to help prepare the team – and separate the top contenders from the less fortunate – Andonovsky has nothing left to do. List of players in the first major international tournament to be managed with the USA
His deep talent in the pool of USWNT players is close to being impossible to work on, and is compounded by injuries that have prevented him from participating in the last two regular team games.
Andonovsky told Sporting News this week that it will be difficult to make cuts even if he is allowed to take on 23 players, as is the case at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but in that case, it would mainly alleviate the disappointment of both. they almost got three players. With the Olympics, the invention is necessary to ensure that the team covers any injury or card suspension scenarios that may develop.
The lineup Andonovsky introduced in the Nigerian game suggested he understood his 11 best players better – or 12, given the almost equal time it took to play midfielder Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan in the midfield. But he can only add six other players, including defensive midfielder Julie Ertz and veteran striker Tobin Heath, who has been on the right side of the U.S. attack through two World Cup titles.
“I will say that the confidence level to go to the Olympics is higher than before,” said Andonovsky, who is without a goal before the team defeated Portugal, Jamaica and Nigeria. “I feel really good about where we are, and where the players are. When it comes to making final decisions, I feel really good. I think we have a very good knowledge of the players. I’ve accumulated a lot of player knowledge and data over the last year and a half. When the time comes to decide, I think we will make the right decisions for this team. “
These are Andonovsky’s toughest decisions:
Defender: Who is a great defender?
The starting quartets of central defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper and outsiders Crystal Dunn and Kelley O’Hara, meanwhile, started the World Cup final and are still airtight.
Tierna Davidson is a top scorer in the middle positions and a left-back. So Midge Purce (who has progressed mostly in recent NWSL seasons) and Emily Sonnett (who can run back, central defense and Nigeria in the middle of the defensive field) while Ertz continues to recover.
Midfielder: How Many Mewises in Japan?
A year ago, Kristie Mewis had to return to the national team photo with an extraordinary performance at the NWSL Challenge Cup. She is 30 years old, but she has little time left to form a team for a major tournament, something her little sister Samantha did in 2019 as a World Cup title holder.
Kristie Mewis (below) was the most active attacker in the US in the first 20 minutes against Nigeria, but none of her hobbies led to a goal.
Edge is the most vital player on the U.S. roster; while he is healthy, and if that is expected, he will be in the team. Lavelle’s opposition to Nigeria proved how important it is for the ingenuity and cohesion of the attack. Sam Mewis did badly on Wednesday but remains a major attacking player. Lindsey Horan played mostly offside in all three games, as Ertz wasn’t covered, and she showed at least some promise in the role. His value as an attacking player is not in doubt.
This leaves room for Kristie Mewis or the promising young Catarina Macario, who is new to professional football and USWNT because she believes she will be the star of the future with both of them.
Forward: Can they wait in Heath?
Perhaps the most skilled player on the list, Heath played eight games for Manchester United in the Women’s Super League season and scored four goals. So is Tobin Heath still. But he has not played since April due to a knee injury and in 2021 has not appeared at all for the USWNT.
In his absence, Christen Press (below) took over the initial job. He scored the 61st international goal and became the No. 9 scorer for the national team with a strike in the first half against Nigeria. And Lynn Williams, who doubled the lead and got the win in extra time, finished faster, forcing Andonovski to make his toughest decision.
He will keep Morgan and Lloyd in the center forward, with Megan Rapinoe and Press on either side. But can he lose what Williams delivered? In eight games this year, Williams has scored two goals. He may be the fastest player on the team.
“I’ve talked a lot with Vlatko about the process about him, because it’s an announcement of his first list,” team captain Sauerbrunn told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just a matter of telling us how we’ve done it in the past and what the players really appreciate, honestly.”
Honest truth: this is not easy for anyone, even if it will be the hardest for those who are left behind.