New England Soccer Today

Let’s Get it Started

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Four years after their crushing defeat to Japan in the 2011 World Cup Final, the United States returns to the biggest stage on Monday to face a team they’ve thoroughly dominated over the years: Australia.

The U.S. women have beaten Australia in 22 of 24 matches all-time, drawing the remaining two. The last time they met back in October 2013 the US won handily 4-0.

But even though Australia has never gotten the best of the U.S., they enter Monday’s match with plenty of confidence after throttling Vietnam 11-0 a few weeks ago. Although Vietnam isn’t nearly as talented as the U.S., rest assured, the result can’t help but have a positive effect on Australia’s collective psyche entering a match against a formidable foe.

The biggest key for the U.S. will be to score early. Getting that first goal in a tournament should relax the team, and put the breaks on any hopes of an Australian upset. As we watched Germany trounce the Ivory Coast on Sunday, you could see the heads of the Ivory Coast players instantly dip after the Germans put them in a deficit only three minutes after the opening whistle.

Giving any team hope is always dangerous. To that end, the U.S. must be relentless against Australia, and they cannot waste any time in doing so. They have to step on the gas right from the start, and avoid any temptation of looking in the rear view mirror.

But doing so won’t be as easy as it looks on paper. Australia’s defense has only allowed 10 goals in their last 10 games. They aren’t always capable of outscoring their opponents, but limiting the opposition to a goal per game is certainly proof enough that Monday’s match won’t be a walk in the park for the U.S.

The best player for Australia is Lisa De Vanna, who briefly played for the Boston Breakers last year. De Vanna is a forward with plenty of ability and skill, as evidenced by the four goals she’s scored in eight career World Cup matches. She’s a threat in the air, and hit her shots with pace and precision. Interestingly, Monday’s match will mark De Vanna’s 100th cap for Australia, a major accomplishment for any international player.

Looking past Australia would be a huge mistake for the U.S. Much of the attention has been placed on Friday’s match against fifth-ranked Sweden. Past results don’t guarantee future success, so it will be up to coach Jill Ellis to ensure her team is mentally locked in for the task at hand. If the U.S. doesn’t take care of business early, then Monday’s game will prove to be unnecessarily tense for fans and players alike.

To do so, the U.S. should stay vigilant and make sure to keep the ball wide. Crossing has been their primary method of scoring in the past. Let’s hope turf doesn’t affect the tactics they choose against Australia. If the U.S. plays to its ability, they should be able to put away a couple of goals early, get rolling, and stake the victory, which should give them confidence heading into a tough game number two.

Prediction: U.S. wins 3-0.

Leave a Reply