The ns have guably the best squad in this . But they e f from a perfect unit as they m to become champions agn

defensive midfielder

The US s national e con a favorite to win months , and ts good for it. The e No1 in the rankings and have outsco their opponents 85-16 over the past 18 months. The ns agn showed their dominance in a 3-0 win over on day.

But the ref from afterwd was that the USWNT still have plenty to on if they want to win in , and US shouldnt make room in the trophy case just yet. As strong as the US e, they ent invincible. e the four issues the ns need to ad if they want to win a , and the one big thing that make up for their problems.

Concern No1: They e too vulnerable to the counterattack

If ts one to be ecited about the USWNTs in , it be their ultra-attacking roach. That, , is also something to worry about. The US attack is the s best asset, and it makes sense that Ellis wants to maimize it. But that also means that the e never just focused on their defense.

The s full-backs, Kelley OHa and , and Julie Ertz e given to push up the and attacks. When that hens, the US e only a quick counterattack away from being ed by a direct b that can get behind center-backs Sauerbrunn and Dahlkemper, who lack the speed to win a foot agnst the s top strikers.

on day were never going to threaten the ns El Tri didnt even qualify for but t were s when, if had controlled the b a bit better, they could have been in on goal. Weve seen it hen to the USWNT before. In the quter-final of the Rio in 2016, it took just three passes to bypass every out on the USWNT and s.

The USWNTs hope be that even if that hens, they can outs their opponents, but they e eposing themselves to a calculated risk.

Ts been a lot of talk that, Oh, the back line is letting in a lot of goals but seem to forget that the way our plays, we commit a lot of numbers forwd, sd on day. We rey do push numbers high not to say we cant recover, but t is risk that e taken with the way we play. Were a transition-based and we to go forwd, especiy myself.

Concern No2: The attack can be too one dimensional

If ts one pt of the attack the USWNT doesnt need to worry about, its a the flanks. Thats w the ns generate the bulk of their goals, and it makes sense after , when and e on the wings (or substitutes Christen Press and Mory Pugh), of course thats w goals come from. Add in Dunn and OHa, as already mentioned, and the wide channels e w the USWNT is busiest.

But the problem is that the USWNT relies on using the flanks so heavily that its uncle ts a sufficient Plan B if opponents can fully nullify the wingers. As we saw in the aforementioned agnst in 2016 the USWNTs worst loss in the USWNT didnt k how to s when it wasnt a the flanks. They crossed the b 38 s in that , and agn on day agnst , much of the USWNTs best came from crosses.

The USWNT has ed to have Dahlkemper lob direct, vertical bs up the as a means of getting centry. But their best bet, it seems, be that Rose be able to her in .

Its the playmakers , and shes one of the ngest s on the , but dazzled on day with her back heel flicks and crafty dribbling for the 45 minutes she played. Shes the only true No. 10 on the roster, and the USWNT needs her to have a good . She has dealt with injuries over the past ye, but is ready for that to be behind her.

I think I can some up, but I feel like Im finy coming back into the form I was when I stted playing professiony, so Im ecited about that, sd day.

Concern No3: Some key lack depth

The USWNT have perhaps the most talented pool in the . Thats ptly why so many n-born s with dual have opted to play for breaking into the USWNT ranks is incibly difficult.

But on the 23- roster that Ellis has chosen, some have very little depth. That means the USWNT e an or suspension away from a big problem. Ellis, for her pt, seems to realize that. Thats the only way to epln why h, one of the best right wingers in the , played 26 minutes as a left-back on day. The only true left-back on the roster is Dunn (who is an attacking mider for her club) and Ellis has hinted her prefer left-back backup is OHa, the stting right-back. , a center-back and the ngest on the roster, is an option. But , it es has been added to that depth cht.

We did throw a lot at them in terms of checking some boes and making sure we got a lot of cove, Ellis sd day.

Concern No4: The defense s shaky

The USWNT have played s ranked in the top 10 of the five s in 2019. In but one of those s, agnst , , and , the ns conceded multiple goals. That has to be a worry.

, the USWNTs goal differential in any calend ye or any tournament be , but thats because they play so many weak s. Agnst better competition, the USWNT defense have struggled to be as effective. In , they probably have to beat many of those top 10 s.

As Dunn points out, some of it is because of the s attacking attacking nature. But pt of it seems to be a drop-off in quality from a who cant its not Alyssa Naehers fault that Solo was a generational talent and a defensive line that is still gelling. The back line need to on organization and before riving in , which is only two weeks away.

Why this not matter: The USWNT have the best s in the

those worries a, the USWNT have guably the best squad in the . They lack the perfect like-for-like depth that would fans rest easy, but t ent any s on this .

The attacking line of Ale flanked by and is difficult to improve upon. Off the bench come Cli Lloyd, Christen Press and Mory Pugh, who would be stters on just about every in the . The USWNTs central mid is as deep as possible on a 23-woman roster. And even the back line, which has suffe some and issues, is full of individual talent, like the smt ership of Sauerbrunn. They just need to together better.

The USWNT have vulnerabilities, but if they can get the reps to build cohesion and the can put every in her best position, the USWNT have a shot of winning it and thats pretty remkable, given how re repeat e.

When we leave , Ellis sd from Jersey on day, its keeping it simple and doing what we do as best as we can. In : Ellis just needs to put s in their best and they take ce of the rest.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us



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