U-17 USWNT: The USA Struggles Early, But Gets Past Trinidad and Tobago 5:0 (CONCACAF WU-17)

In their second match of the 2012 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship, the United States Under-17 Women’s National Team struggled to secure the match against a tenacious Trinidad and Tobago side. The USA ended up winning 5:0, but only managed one goal in the first sixty-four minutes.

At times, the USA’s defense was challenged, with ‘keeper Jane Campbell having to make a critical save in the 64th minute to maintain the USA’s slim 1:0 lead. After her save led to a T&T corner kick, Campbell delivered a rocket of a goal kick that found Andi Sullivan behind T&T’s defense. Sullivan dribbled into the box and coolly delivered a shot past T&T’s keeper to double the USA’s advantage.

Two minutes later, Emily Bruder, who scored the USA’s first goal, fed the ball to Sarah Robinson, who scored her first goal of the tournament, which raised the USA lead to 3:0.

Three goals to nil looked to be the final scoreline until second-half substitute Joanna Boyles slotted a pass to Summer Green who slipped a shot just right of the ‘keeper. And, a 4:0 score looked to be the final score until at the half-way stripe, Green delivered a pass across to Boyles, who dribbled thirty yards and unleashed a twenty-five yard shot that dipped just below the crossbar and just beyond T&T’s goalkeeper’s hand.

Highlights (CONCACAF):

Highlights (US Soccer):

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Starting Line-Up and Formation: Despite what US Soccer has reported (two is not “several”), the USA only rested two starters from the first match and one of those line-up changes was likely for tactical reasons. The two changes were Morgan Stanton starting in place of Lauren Kaskie and Andi Sullivan in place of Midge Purce. Purce, who scored a hat trick versus the Bahamas, was  most likely rested. Stanton’s inclusion was probably due to her being more effective in the first match, than Kaskie, who was subbed off at half-time for Stanton. The starting eleven:

Cambell (GK)
Basinger (RB) — Bauer (CB) — Freeman (CB) — G.Miranda
Andrews (HM)
Stanton (AM) — Robinson (AM)
Sullivan (RF) — Green (CF) — Bruder (LF)


Fig. 1: The USA’s Starting Line-Up

Although Stanton appeared to have technically started on the right side, she played mostly on the left in the opening minutes, so the placement of Robinson and Stanton is up for debate.

On the Bench: The seven substitutes were Darian Jenkins, Morgan Reid, Joanna Boyles, Midge Purce, Lauren Kaskie, Toni Payne, and goalkeeper Cassie Miller.

Which meant that forward Amber Munerlyn and centerback Lizzy Raben were not rostered for this match. This was the second straight match that Munerlyn was left out of the match roster.

Substitutes: Montoya waited until midway through the second half to make his first change: In the 66th minute, Darian Jenkins entered and replaced Andi Sullivan, who had just scored the USA’s second goal. The next substitution was Morgan Reid for Brittany Basinger (73′), and the final change was Joanna Boyles in for Morgan Stanton (79′). Each of the substitutions were like for like. In the midfield, Boyles played mostly on the left.

The final formation, graphically:

Fig 2: The USA’s Final Formation
(Substitutes are in red)

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The USA had 25 shot efforts, although a few of those efforts were immediately blocked, which would partially explain why US Soccer’s stats for the match only has 20 shots. Officially, 11 shots were on goal.

Fig. 3: Map of Shots and Goals Scored
(Numbers refer to the order in which scored)

Only about half of the USA’s shot efforts were inside T&T’s penalty box, with Maddie Bauer having two of the best chances, which were both in T&T’s six-yard box. The first was a header off a corner kick play, which went a few feet wide right. The second also came from a corner kick via a cross from Gabbi Miranda, who was above the top left corner of T&T’s box. Miranda’s cross was too high for a couple USA players and ended up bouncing past two T&T defenders to Bauer, who only had the goalkeeper in front of her. Bauer’s right-footed effort to the near post was saved by the ‘keeper for another corner kick. If Bauer had used her left foot to send the ball far post, she more than likely would have scored.

1. Emily Bruder (20′, Summer Green): On the right flank, Sullivan tries to send a diagonal pass up to Bruder, but the ball deflects off a T&T defender right to Green, who sends a pass to Bruder. Bruder tries to get past the T&T defense, but turns above the penalty box and tries to break free of her defender before unleashing a left-footed shot to the far post, upper corner. — 1:0 USA.

2. Andi Sullivan (65′, Jane Campbell): Campbell delivers a goal kick from the left corner straight up the field, which ends up bouncing five yards beyond the halfway stripe, flying over one T&T defender and bouncing past another. Sullivan runs after the ball, gets onto it, and dribbles into the box where she sends a left-footed shot to the right of the keeper and into the back of the net. — 2:0 USA.

3. Sarah Robinson (67′, Emily Bruder): After a T&T goal kick, Andrew heads the ball back up the field, but it goes to a T&T player, who Green dispossesses. The ball deflects to Bruder who heads up field, with Robinson on her right. Bruder threads a pass up to Robinson, who heads into the box and sends a left-footed shot just right of the ‘keeper. The T&T goalkeeper gets a hand on the ball, but is unable to make a save. — 3:0 USA.

4. Summer Green (86′, Joanna Boyles): From a poor T&T throw-in, the ball gets to the feet of Andrews, who passes back to Freeman. Robinson. Miranda. Miranda sends a ground pass up to Boyles who slots the ball up to an unmarked Green, who is left of center. Green gets a touch on the ball who lets it bounce in front of her as she runs. Then, Green sends a left-footed shot to the far post. — 4:0 USA.

5. Joanna Boyles (90+3′, Summer Green): T&T’s Anique Walker, with the ball, tries to get around Miranda, but Miranda is able to tap the ball away to Freeman, who sends a short pass up back to Miranda. She passes up to Andrews, who sends the ball up to the halfway stripe, center circle, where Green is waiting. Green sends a pass laterally to Boyles, who dribbles unfettered up the field about thirty yards before unleashing a twenty-five yard shot which dips just below the crossbar and just beyond the hands of T&T’s ‘keeper.

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Jane Campbell (#1, goalkeeper): Campbell had a key save and a key assist. (How often can one say that about a ‘keeper?) She was tested a few times, but passed each test with flying colors.

Maddie Bauer (#5, centerback): Bauer had two great chances to score for the USA in the first half. The first was a header from a cross right after a USA corner kick, which should have been a better effort (she hit the ball to the near post, rather than back in the direction of cross). The second shot also came during a corner kick play, after a cross from outside the box went beyond the reach of other USA players. Bauer got off an effort on goal, but it was weak and saved by the ‘keeper for another corner kick.

Bauer’s biggest defensive play came when she dispossessed T&T’s Anique Walker just above the USA’s penalty arc. Unfortunately Bauers backwards clearance (which may have been aimed at Basinger, who had turned back up field), went ahead of another T&T attacker who latched onto the ball and had a shot on goal, which was saved by Campbell for a USA corner. (Also, Walker may have been offside, but the video is inconclusive. She may have been kept onside by either Freeman and/or Miranda.)

Mandy Freeman (#16, centerback): The one major blight on Freeman’s performance was a hockey-style hip check when she got in the path of T&T’s Anique Walker, which gave up a dangerous free kick attempt 25 or 30 yards out from the USA’s goal.

Brittany Basinger (#3, right fullback): T&T’s defense limited Basinger’s ability to go deep into the right corner, but she was still able to contribute to the attack from her higher positions.

Gabbi Miranda (#6, left fullback): It seemed that half of the fouls called against the USA were called on Miranda, who was challenged defensively several times deep on the left flank. Of her fouls called, a few seemed soft, if there was any infraction committed. However, Miranda did have a studs-showing tackle late in the match (83′). Miranda does appear to have a tendency to clear the ball out of bounds rather than try to work her way out of trouble.

Morgan Andrews (#10, holding midfielder): Andrew’s long, accurate passes and her mobility in the midfield were assets this match, but her long-range shooting lacked accuracy.

Sarah Robinson (#17, attacking midfielder): Robinson’s performance was better this match, even without her goal, as her passing seemed more accurate. Also, she was called for a foul, where the replay shows that she got the ball cleanly, but it could have been for a dangerous play, which tends to be called more frequently now as player safety is a higher priority than in the past.

Morgan Stanton (#11, attacking midfielder): Stanton had the USA’s first good chance at goal, a shot from outside the penalty box which was just a few feet high. Outside of that, she was rather quiet, which seems to be her role of being a receiver and a distributor of the ball, rather than being an offensive threat.

Andi Sullivan (#7, forward): Sullivan played well on the flanks, receiving and passsing the ball. More importantly, she coolly scored a fast break goal that doubled the USA lead to 2:0 after forty-five minutes with just a slim 1:0 lead.

Summer Green (#8, forward): Green was active in the first half, dribbling and passing. Her best individual effort came in the 23rd minute, when she dribbled down the right flank, nutmegging one player, continuing onto the ball, and dribbling into the box. But, was unable to get a shot off due to a run-in with a T&T defender.

Emily Bruder (#9, forward): Bruder had a game-winning goal and the assist, but was visibly frustrated at times, mainly in the first half. Her shots were better in this match, although her best opportunity, a shot after streaking into the box, was weakly hit right at the goalkeeper.

Darian Jenkins (#13, forward; substitute, 66′): Jenkins was rather ineffective in her thirty minutes or so on the pitch. When going for the goal, Jenkins touches on the ball generally failed her. Also, her longer passes was not that accurate.

Morgan Reid (#20, right fullback; substitute, 73′): Reid did not have much to do defensively, but did make a late clearance (90+2′). After the USA’s goalkeeper, Campbell, was unable to stop a cross, Reid cleared the ball out of bounds for a T&T throw-in.

Joanna Boyles (#12, attacking midfielder; substitute, 79′): Boyles made two strong contributions in her fifteen minutes of playing time. Within four minutes, she had an assist, and Boyles added a goal in the waning seconds of the match. Defensively, Boyles had little to do, but her offensive performance provides a strong argument for her to get more playing time and perhaps even a start.

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The Back Line Needs Improvement: The USA’s back line did not break completely down, but it was stressed. In the play that led to T&T’s best chance on goal, which would have equalized the match, a T&T player was unmarked behind part of the line. A more organized back four would probably have been able to get everyone above that attacker, rendering her offside. (The player may have been a touch offside, but the argument still holds weight as it may have been a close call one way or the other.)

This Was a Good Test for the USA: The storyline of the match may not have followed the USA’s preferred script, but they still prevailed, and with a clean sheet. Knowing that the team can protect a 1:0 lead and eventually put away a match will help the USA’s confidence in later matches, and hopefully in the Under-17 Women’s World Cup. Also, T&T was relatively well-organized, very physical, and very aggressive, which provided a solid challenge for the USA.

The USA Never Stopped Trying to Score: Even when it was comfortably up 3:0, the USA was not content with the scoreline. They continued to attack, getting two additional goals in the final ten minutes of play (83′, 90+3′). Such a mindset will serve the team well, whether trying to protect a lead, or trying improve their goal differential during a U-17 WWC group match.

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Trinidad & Tobago Got An Unlucky Draw: T&T is arguably the best team outside of the big three, USA, Canada, and Mexico. Unfortunately, they were grouped with two of those teams, the USA and Mexico. On paper, T&T are better than Jamaica, who they beat 1:0 in Caribbean qualifying, and Panama, who they beat 3:0 in a pre-tournament tune-up friendly. Subjectively, T&T is more athletic than those two teams, more technical, more disciplined, and probably better coached. T&T played high-pressure soccer whether they had the ball or not, with attacking midfielder Anique Walker usually challenging the USA’s backline when they had the ball.

Refereeing: The USA had more than a few fouls called against it that seemed soft. But, with the quality of the video feed, it was hard to see the infringing the conduct for the call. The center referee for the match was Alicia Villatoro of Guatemala, who has only been an international referee since last year (2011), according to FIFA’s website.

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US Soccer Match Report
US Soccer MatchTracker
CONCACAF.com Write-Up
T&T Write-Up
US Soccer Quote Sheet
CONCACAF.com Short post-match interview with Albertin Montoya

US Soccer Post-Match Interviews:

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