New England Soccer Today

U.S. Set For Tough Game 2

Photo credit: Denise McCooey

Photo credit: Denise McCooey

The US Women’s national soccer team faces a tough test in their second Group G match of the 2016 Rio Olympics Saturday at 4pm ET. They will be taking on France, who are on quite a hot streak, having won each of their last seven matches without conceding a goal. The USA is facing a team that will almost assuredly be in the knockout stages.

The US need to win this game, like they need to win every game, if they are to win Group G. A draw doesn’t do much for the US. France is sitting on top of the table currently because they scored two more goals than the USA in their opener, beating Colombia 4-0, while the U.S. defeated New Zealand 2-0. So with a draw, France moves closer to taking that 1st spot.

The last time these teams played was back in March. It was a friendly that France played well in only to fall to defeat late. Alex Morgan was given a thru ball with only a few seconds left in the match and she slotted it past the keeper in the 91st minute to give the USA the 1-0 win.

The wing backs for France will be forcing the US in to test their longer range shots. The usual method for the US is to cross, because they have historically always had excellent heading forwards (Wambach, Morgan). But if they attempt this against France they won’t find much luck. Laura Georges is a seasoned defender in the back and she’s the taller center back. She’ll be clearing almost every cross that comes to her.

France’s scoring is likely to come from Marie Delie. She’s scored 63 goals in 90 matches for France. She has jumped to 2nd most goals scored on France’s all time list. But she’s complemented by Eugenie Le Sommer who is 4th on the all time list for France with 55 goals.   Both women will be a difficult test for the US backline.

The US will need to play a much more conservative defense. Last match Julie Johnston was aggressive and making tackles in the open field. She’ll need to step back some and let the players come to her. Against New Zealand with not much of an attacking threat, this was a smart way to play. Against France, this would lead to more shots.

The offense will look similar but Morgan Brian may send the ball to both sides more. In the last match most of the play came up the left side with Tobin Heath. Heath is playing great soccer right now, but the US needs to attack down the other side of the field more.

Prediction for the match: USA will have a slight edge in possession but it won’t matter. 0-0 draw and both teams are very cautious.

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