U-17 USWNT: Recap of Their Trip to Eastern Europe

At the end of July, the Under-17 Women’s National Team traveled to Croatia and Slovenia where they played three club teams and the full women’s national team of Slovenia, going 4-0-0. In the 2:1 win over Slovenia, the U-17s were without the services of three starters: goalkeeper Jane Campbell, star striker Summer Green, and energetic attacking midfielder Sarah Robinson.

U.S. Soccer’s write-up for this camp only includes a detailed box score for the Slovenia match. Scorelines and USA goal-scorers are available for the scrimmages against the club squads, although the time details for some goals was not included. Also, there is a follow-up article on TopDrawerSoccer.com, although it does not provide any really insightful information.

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ROSTER NOTES

The team was without its starting goalkeeper, Jane Campbell due to a slight injury and one of its key midfielders, Sarah Robinson. Another midfielder, Joanna Boyles, was on the announced roster, but did not travel with the team, while defender Lizzy Raben was initially not listed on the roster, but was with the team in Europe.

Players from Qualifying Who Did Not Make the Trip:

  • JANE CAMPBELL (GOALKEEPER): The team’s #1 ‘keeper picked up an unspecified “slight injury” (TopDrawerSoccer.com) and sat out this camp.
  • SARAH ROBINSON (MIDFIELDER): The only player with a 1996 birthday on the qualifying squad, Robinson was apparently allowed to skip this camp in order to compete in USYSA Nationals with her club team, MVLA Lightning, which is coached by Erin Montoya, Albert Montoya’s wife. The team lost their age group’s championship match, but Robinson was named the tournament MVP. (www.losaltosonline.com)
  • JOANNA BOYLES (MIDFIELDER): Boyles absence is a bit of a mystery, as there does not seem to be any public reason given for her not being on the roster

Added Players:

  • MORGAN STEARNS (GOALKEEPER): The likely third ‘keeper for the U-17 WWC roster, she was not part of the 20-player qualifying roster. (College: U. of Virginia, verbal 2013)
  • ARIELLE SHIP (MIDFIELDER/FORWARD): Probably the last player cut from the qualifying roster, Ship still has a decent yet outside chance of making the U-17 WWC squad. See also: professional YouTube highlight video from 2010. (College: California aka “UC Berkeley,” verbal 2013)
  • CLAIRE WAGNER (DEFENDER): A 5’9″ centerback, she had attended a couple U-17 USWNT camps prior to this one. (College: Clemson, verbal 2013)

The full roster is available in an earlier post.

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THE MATCHES

July 23rd: U-17 USWNT 8, FC Viktoria (Hungary) 0.
USA Goals: Own goal (1st half), Green (1st half), own goal (1st half), Payne (46′ or 47′), Jenkins (63′), Munerlyn (x3 in a span of 13 minutes).

July 25th: U-17 USWNT 2, Luv Graz (Austria) 1.
USA Goals: Own goal (21′), Basinger (64′).
Luv Graz Goal: unknown (62′).

July 27th: U-17 USWNT 4, ŽNK Pomurje (Slovenia) 1.
USA Goals: Bruder (20′, 38′), Kaskie (58′), Munerlyn (88′).
Pomurje Goal: unknown (77′).
Note: Not mentioned in the write-up is that goalkeeper Cassie Miller saved a PK (per twitter.com/robbieelliott3)

July 29th: U-17 USWNT 2, Slovenia WNT 1.
USA Goals: Basinger (62′), Payne (90′).
SVN Goal: Kaja Jerina (84′ FK).

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MORE ON THE SLOVENIA MATCH

About the Opponent: Slovenia is currently ranked 58th in the world, with 1397 points between #57 Haiti (1397 points) and #59 Greece (1386 points). Comparatively, the top three teams, the United States, Germany, and Japan all have 50% more ranking points than Slovenia, as each has over 2100 points. (FIFA rankings) In Women’s Euro qualifying, Slovenia is in Group #6, with England, the Netherlands, Croatia, and Serbia (UEFA.com). They are in the bottom of their group, having lost all but one match, which they drew with Croatia, who also have an equivalent losing record.

USA’s Starting Line-Up: With the absence of Jane Campbell, Cassie Miller got the start in goal, behind the usual back four of Brittany Basinger, Maddie Bauer, Mandy Freeman and Gabbi Miranda. In the midfield, team captain Morgan Andrews and usual starter Morgan Stanton were joined by Andi Sullivan, who was primarily used as a forward during qualifying. Up top, the squad was without the services of its star forward, Summer Green, who for some reason did not play in this match. The three starting forwards were Darian Jenkins, Amber Munerlyn, and Midge Purce:

Miller (GK)
Basinger (RB) — Bauer (CB) — Freeman (CB) — G.Miranda (LB)
Sullivan (AM) — Andrews (HM) — Stanton (AM)
Jenkins (FW) — Munerlyn (FW) — Purce (FW)

Substitutions and the USA’s Final Line-Up: Montoya did not make any substitutions until the 69th minute, when Toni Payne, Emily Bruder, and Arielle Ship were brought in to replace Sullivan, Jenkins, and Munerlyn. Officially, Ship, who is listed as a midfielder, although she primarily plays as a forward for her club team, replaced Munerlyn, a forward, so, assuming a like-for-like switch, it appears that Ship was used as a forward. However, Payne, who was brought on at the same time, was used as both a forward and midfielder during qualifier could have also played up top. The final USA substitutions were made in the 84th minute, when Claire Wagner and Lauren Kaskie replaced Bauer and Purce. So, the final line-up:

Miller (GK)
Basinger (RB) — Wagner (CB) — Freeman (CB) — G.Miranda (LB)
Stanton (AM) — Andrews (HM) — Kaskie (AM)
Payne (FW) — Bruder (FW) — Ship (FW)

Slovenia’s Line-Up: The host senior team appears to have gone with a fairly full strength starting eleven, as eight players have appeared in at least five, out of six possible, Women’s Euro qualifying (“WEQ”) matches so far this cycle (UEFA.com). A ninth player has four appearances. The oldest starting player is 30, while the youngest is 17.

U.S. Soccer’s write-up for this match denotes a 4-4-2 formation, although the order of the player names does not correspond with the player’s official positions as listed on UEFA.com.

STARTERS:
Lucija Mori (#1) — GK, age 24, 5 WEQ caps
Kaja Erzen (#16) — DF, age 17, 2 WEQ caps
Anisa Rola (#6) — DF, age 18, 5 WEQ caps
Manja Benak (#9) — DF, age 23, 4 WEQ caps
Anja Milenkovic (#14) — DF, age 30, 5 WEQ caps
Dominika Conc (#3) — MF, age 19, 1 WEQ cap
Urska Zganec (#17) — MF, age 21, 6 WEQ caps, 1 WEQ goal
Mateja Zver (#8) — MF, age 24, 5 WEQ caps, 1 WEQ goal
Tjasa Tibaut (#18) — MF, age 24, 5 WEQ caps, 1 WEQ goal
Fata Salkunic (#10) — FW, age 21, 5 WEQ caps
Andreja Nikl (#7) — FW, age 26, 5 WEQ caps

SUBSTITUTES USED:
Lucija Grad (#5) — FW, age 28, 6 WEQ caps
Tanja Vrabel (#15) — FW, age 21, 5 WEQ caps, 1 WEQ goal
Vanja Siljak (#11) — MF, age 17, 0 WEQ caps
Pamela Begic (#4) — MF, age 17, 3 WEQ caps
Anja Levacic  (#13) — MF, age 21, 3 WEQ caps
Kaja Jerina (#2) — DF, age 19, 2 WEQ caps

UNUSED SUBSTITUTE:
Ana Kosi (#1) — GK, age 16, 0 WEQ caps

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SOME TAKEAWAYS

The U-17 USWNT Won a Tough Match Without Summer Green. The biggest confidence boost for this team is not that they defeated a senior WNT, but that they won a challenging match without their start striker, Summer Green.

Back-up Goalkeeper Cassie Miller Is Now Battle-Tested. Miller had been used sparingly up to this camp, but she “got most of the minutes” in goal during the trip, including a full 90 against Slovenia. Her experience during this trip should come in handy if called upon in Azerbaijan.

Players Who Had Good Offensive Outings: Although, Green only scored one goal during the trip, a few other players had strong outings, including most notably Brittany Basinger. The dynamic fullback got her first international goal for the U-17s,  the opening goal versus the Slovenia WNT, as well as a game-winner versus Austrian club Luv Graz.

Another player who came up big was Amber Munerlyn who scored a hat trick against FC Viktoria in the span of thirteen minutes and got another goal against ŽNK Pomurje.

Also, Emily Bruder, who struggled during qualifying, had a brace in her start against Pomurje. In addition, Toni Payne scored two goals, including the 90th minute ‘winner against Slovenia.

Bonus Oddity — What Is It About This Team and Own Goals? At La Manga, the U-17s benefited from an own goal in two matches against U-19 squads, first against France, and then against the Netherlands. During this Eastern European trip, the team again benefited from own goals in two matches, including two by FC Viktoria in an 8:0 USA win.

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ODDS & ENDS

Final Domestic Training Camp: The U-17s’ next camp is in late August — a roster should be announced any time — at The Home Depot Center, where they will play two friendlies against China.

Under-17 Women’s World Cup TV/Streaming Not Available in the USA? On the official list of Media Rights Licensees (PDF) for this year’s tournament, there is no entry for the United States, whether English language or Spanish. According to the 2005 press release for ABC/ESPN’s contract with FIFA, it states that ABC/ESPN has the English language rights for “all FIFA events” from 2007 to 2014. But, apparently that just included events that existed in 2005, as the U-17 WWC was only first contested in 2008.