U–17 USWNT: CONCACAF Championship Analysis and More

This post is a compilation of leftover analysis of the United States Under-17 Women’s National Team at teh CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship, along with notes on the team’s upcoming schedule and quotes by the team’s head coach Albertin Montoya, regarding things that need to be improved.

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A recent TopDrawerSoccer.com article has some extra details regarding the U-17s’ upcoming schedule: After the current training camp, there will probably be an overseas trip in July, most likely to Europe, where the USA will play one of the other teams to qualify from UEFA. Then, in August, a final domestic training camp will be held. And, the actual U-17 WWC runs from September 22nd to October 13th.

Also, the draw, which is where the USA learns its group stage opponents,  is scheduled for July 6th.

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Last week, TopDrawerSoccer.com posted an article about the U-17s with quotes from Albertin Montoya, including:

“I’d like to get more of a one-two touch rhythm all over the field, because in the World Cup we’re not necessarily going to be able to use our athleticism to overpower teams like we were at times in CONCACAF,” he told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “So we just need to do a better job on the offensive end by combining with each other and not depending on individuals.”

And, from the same article:

“I definitely think we need to be much more patient in our attack,” he said. “And then we also need to do a lot better job of keeping the ball when we’re under pressure. Because what ended up happening against Canada [in the CONCACAF final] is we gave the ball away too easily without being pressured.

“One of the other things I want to work on is our forwards connecting with each other a little bit more and connecting with our midfielders. Because I thought at times in this tournament, our forwards just kind of did things on their own a little too much.”

Also of note: According to an earlier TopDrawerSoccer.com article, Montoya said that Summer Green was on the bubble as to whether or not she would start due to her previous cold streak.

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GOALKEEPERS: Only one goalkeeper, Jane Campbell, was used in Guatemala. She was rarely tested, but when called upon, she was solid: making every punch, grab, kick, and save. For Azerbaijan, it is doubtful that Cassie Miller or another back-up ‘keeper will see any minutes unless Campbell is unavailable due to injury or cards.

DEFENDERS: The centerback pairing of Maddie Bauer and Miranda Freeman looks to be set in stone. Both had a fairly solid tournament, although Bauer did have a soft clearance against Trinidad & Tobago which led to T&T’s most dangerous scoring chance. Both Bauer and Freeman played every minute of the tournament.

As to the starting fullbacks, Brittany Basinger covered the entire right flank, from goal line to goal line, aggressively getting into the attack whenever she could. On the left, Gabbi Miranda had a good tournament, but the converted midfielder’s defensive inexperience was exposed by attackers on several occasions. Also, when attacking, Miranda rarely challenged defenders one-on-one deep in her flank, as she was more likely to send in a cross before going too far into the attacking third. Basinger also switched to the left flank after Miranda was subbed off in two matches.

Two back-up fullbacks were used during the tournament, Lizzy Raben, who played the tense last few minutes of the final, and Morgan Reid. Both only saw less than 20 minutes of playing time. Neither made any significant mistakes during their limited on-field action.

One roster question that was not answered during the tournament is the preferred back-up centerbacks. The 5’9″ Lizzy Raben has club experience at that position and Morgan Andrews was used as a centerback prior to Montoya’s appointment as U-17 WNT coach.

All of these defenders seem likely to make the U-17 WWC roster.

MIDFIELDERS: Holding mid Morgan Andrews generally provided accurate short and long passes, but her mid-range passes tended to be hit too hard. Has the potential to score from long-range, but was unlucky to hit the wrong side of the crossbar on a few occasions.

The USA’s two most-used attacking midfielders were also its two shortest players, Sarah Robinson and Morgan Stanton, who are both listed at just 5’2″. Each showed strong technical skills on the ball. The tenacious Robinson, who was the only 1996er on the team, showed a bit of inexperience with some careless fouls.

Lauren Kaskie looked much better in her substitute appearance in the final, than in her two previous matches, which she both started and was subbed out of before the 60th minute both times. But, generally, her combination with other players and her shot decision-making needed to be better.

The other players used primarily as midfielders, Joanna Boyles and Toni Payne, both had good tournaments. Boyles had an assist and scored a long-range goal in less than fifteen minutes of playing time versus T&T. Payne, who was also used a wide forward, played in the midfield versus Panama and scored the opening goal in that match.

All of the midfielders, with the exception of Kaskie, will more than likely make the U-17 WWC roster. Kaskie’s chances are good, but less certain than the others.

FORWARDS: Center forward Summer Green had a breakout performance with 12 goals and 4 assists. Green, although not flashy, just finds a way to score. The other forwards, who were all mostly used on the flanks, mostly had decent tournaments.

Midge Purce, who has some of the best one-v-one skills on the team, had a hat trick versus the Bahamas, but failed to score in her later appearances. Purce, however, did earn the penalty kick against Mexico, which was converted by Green.

Andi Sullivan, in her limited minutes, had a quiet tournament, as she only scored one goal and had only one assist. But, her performance, for the most part, was solid.

Darian Jenkins, who did not participate in the La Manga friendlies, struggled a bit against Panama, but did finally score after tightly dribbling around two defenders.

With her game-winning goal versus Canada, Amber Munerlyn made a strong case to be kept on the roster. However, her athleticism and skills seem more suited for a quick attacking or counter-attacking team, and with Montoya’s preference fore a more possession-oriented squad, she will likely be used mainly as a substitute rather than a preferred starter.

Lastly, Emily Bruder struggled during the tournament, as some of her first touches were poor, and she tended to focus too soon on shooting, rather than keeping her passing options open.

Overall, the forward positions remain the least settled, with only Summer Green making an airtight case to be a starter. Of the seven players, including Toni Payne, who were used as a forward, Emily Bruder seems the least likely to be on the U-17 WWC roster.

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TABLE #1: Minutes Played, CONCACAF Championship

NAME               P.  BAH  TRI  MEX |  PAN  CAN |  TOTAL
Jane Campbell      GK   90   90   90 |   90   90 |    450
Cassie Miller      GK                |           |      0
Maddie Bauer       CB   90   90   90 |   90   90 |    450
Mandy Freeman      CB   90   90   90 |   90   90 |    450
Gabbi Miranda      FB   90   90   90 |   78   85 |    433
Brittany Basinger  FB   90   73   90 |   90   90 |    433
Lizzy Raben        FB                |   12    5 |     17
Morgan Reid        FB        17      |           |     17
Morgan Andrews     MF   90   90   90 |   66   90 |    426
Morgan Stanton     MF   45   79    7 |   90   90 |    311
Sarah Robinson     MF   90   90   68 |        54 |    302
Lauren Kaskie      MF   45        56 |        36 |    137
Toni Payne      MF/FW   19        22 |   90      |    131
Joanna Boyles      MF        11   34 |   24      |     69
Summer Green       FW   71   90   90 |   59   90 |    400
Emily Bruder       FW   45   90      |   90   26 |    251
Midge Purce        FW   90        90 |        64 |    244
Amber Munerlyn     FW             83 |        90 |    173
Andi Sullivan      FW   45   66      |   31      |    142
Darian Jenkins     FW        24      |   90      |    114

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TABLE #2: List of Goals Scored, CONCACAF Championship
(sorted by when scored)

OPP   #   GOAL-SCORER      ASSIST           TIME
BAH   1   Midge Purce      Gabbi Miranda     1
BAH   2   Summer Green                       6
PAN   1   Toni Payne       Summer Green      9
MEX   1   Summer Green     {penalty kick}   17
T&T   1   Emily Bruder     Summer Green     20
CAN   1   Amber Munerlyn   Summer Green     21
MEX   2   Summer Green     Gabbi Miranda    31
MEX   3   Summer Green     Sarah Robinson   36
BAH   3   Summer Green                      39
BAH   4   Summer Green     Morgan Andrews   40
BAH   5   Summer Green                      44
PAN   2   Summer Green     Morgan Stanton   44
PAN   3   Summer Green     Toni Payne       45+1
PAN   4   Morgan Andrews   {free kick}      50
PAN   5   Summer Green     Darian Jenkins   54
BAH   6   Andi Sullivan    Sarah Robinson   55
BAH   7   Summer Green     Midge Purce      60
T&T   2   Andi Sullivan    Jane Campbell    65
PAN   6   Darian Jenkins   Maddie Bauer     66
T&T   3   Sarah Robinson   Emily Bruder     67
BAH   8   Midge Purce      Toni Payne       75
BAH   9   Toni Payne       Sarah Robinson   77
PAN   7   Emily Bruder     Andi Sullivan    77
BAH  10   Midge Purce      Morgan Andrews   84
T&T   4   Summer Green     Joanna Boyles    86
T&T   5   Joanna Boyles    Summer Green     90+3

Opening Goals: All first goals were scored in the opening quarter of the match (minute 22 or earlier).

Summer Green Time: 7 of Green’s 12 goals were scored in the final third of the first half (minutes 31 to 45+). She was the only USA player to score during that time frame.

Distribution of Goals By Selected Intervals

01-22: 6
23-45+: 7
46-67: 7
68-90+: 6

Fifteen Minutes
01-15: 3
16-30: 3
31-45+: 7
46-60: 4
61-75: 4
76-90+: 5

Ten Minutes
01-10: 3
11-20: 2
21-30: 1
31-40: 4
41-50: 4
51-60: 3
61-70: 3
71-80: 3
81-90+: 3

2 thoughts on “U–17 USWNT: CONCACAF Championship Analysis and More”

  1. The best sign for this team are Coach Montoya’s comments about areas in need of improvement for this team. He clearly gets it, and he’s not equivocal — he simply states his concerns, and they are spot on. This is refreshing to hear. I know US Soccer is making permanent hires after the WWC’s this summer/fall, and if the U17s play well, then the top brass really ought to consider where to put Montoya permanently.

    I think Kaskie definitely makes this roster, because she’s a left-footed player and provides redundancy at outside left back. (She had played there during prior camps and tournaments). She has more athleticism than Miranda and I think they moved Kaskie to midfield before qualifiers, in order to give the team a better offensive punch. As you stated, Miranda provides nice service from the left flank, but is unlikely to beat defenders one v. one. And Kaskie is more likely to get inside the box and get endline and perhaps get to goal. Kaskie also looked very sharp in her 2nd half minutes v. Canada, and I would evaluate players based more on their play in that match than the other matches, because Canada are more like one of the top teams in the world. (In fact, I was a bit surprised to hear that Montoya not list Canada as one of the teams to watch out for in Azerbaijan; perhaps if asked, he would consider whether they belong aside from Japan, Germany, etc.).

    Regarding Miranda, she is a fine passer of the ball, especially under pressure, and technically sound. However, if I had to rate the back 4 in terms of defensive ability and overall athleticism (a quality that is really needed from outside backs under most coaches’ systems, including Montoya’s) she is probably the least gifted. Basinger, Freeman, Bauer all appear to be more athletic and better pure defenders in open space or if tracking back toward goal or the endline. That relative weakness, of course, is surely counter-balanced by Miranda’s sweet left-footed service. (In a way, Miranda resembles Pathman’s role on the U20s — you can’t fault or deny the left-footed service and calm passing ability under pressure, but you can see she’s the slowest of the back line, and most likely to need cover, if facing a speedy/strong striker or right wingback or right (attacking) fullback). Anyway, Miranda is safe and likely starter on this squad.

    I also think Bruder makes the squad because although she really struggled in qualifiers, she has size and strength and presumably can head the ball, and US coaches just love having at least one player who fits that description. Even if Montoya wanted to leave her off, I bet someone inside US Soccer would insist on one big, physical center forward in the roster.

    Finally, I’m curious if any reader or the editor would agree that while Andrews is impressive, especially for her age, she would appear to project out to have the same skill-set, physical size, natural ability, strong right foot, and eye for the game, as USWNT pool player Yael Averbuch. I don’t mean to criticize anyone, but I’m just wondering, if someone had to project Andrews in 4-5 years, would she not resemble Averbuch at age 22?

    1. First, thanks for the thoughtful comments.

      Second, I concur with your assessments of Kaskie and Miranda. Both should make the U-17 WWC roster, and it would be a somewhat major surprise if Miranda is not starting at left fullback come September. Kaskie’s issues in qualifying were mostly mental, and based on the Canada match, she was already showing improvement. Concerning Miranda, I’m not too worried about her defensive weaknesses, as this back line seems to work really well together.

      As to Bruder, I am less certain that her performance issues can be cured ahead of the U-17 WWC. But, if her consistency does improve at least a bit, then she should make the roster for Azerbaijan.

      Regarding the Andrews-Averbuch comparison, perhaps the biggest difference between the two is how they honed their skills as a youth: Averbuch seemed to have honed her skills on her own, with the help of informal mentors (rickymastercoach.com interview), while Andrews has had a paid skills tutor, Mo Keita, since age 10 (Nashua Telegraph news article).

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