Maybe United States Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis knows exactly what she’s doing. After all, entering the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup the American squad’s top threat, Alex Morgan, wasn’t 100 percent and their all-time scoring leader, Abby Wambach, is past her prime. Our ladies have the deepest team, perhaps, but that depth is built on an aging foundation. Maybe coach Ellis knows this team isn’t built to overwhelm anybody with their attack game. If the Americans are to win the title, it will be with their defense. Following a 1-0 victory over China in the quarterfinals, it’s that defense that has extended the American’s scoreless streak in this World Cup to 423 minutes since an early goal in their first game. It the longest scoreless streak in Women’s World Cup play by any American team and the third longest streak in Women’s World Cup play by any team. I will say that on this night, the USA looked a lot sharper offensively than in recent games. They’re just not finishing opportunities. This game was not as close as 1-0 might suggest. The performance was impressive, especially devoid of the services of the suspended Megan Rapinoe. Carli Lloyd stepped up to score the game winner for our ladies. But we will need everybody to step up and play their game in the next match against world #1 Germany. As an aside, I continue to wonder who set up this draw…FIFA…where #1 Germany faces #3 France in the quarterfinals and then #2 USA in the semifinals. So #1, #2 and #3 in the world are on the same side of the knockout stage draw while #4 Japan, #6 England, #8 Canada and #10 Australia on the other side. That’s like having #1 Novak Djokovic and #2 Roger Federer on the same side of the draw at Wimbledon, preventing a #1 vs #2 potential final…then throw in #3 Andy Murray as a quarterfinal opponent on the same side of the draw so that at best the final could be #1 vs #4. Okay, FIFA. Whatever.
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