Saturday night, in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,522, the United States Women’s National Team drew 1:1 with Germany at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. Abby Wambach scored the USA’s only goal in the 2nd minute when the Americans capitalized on a turnover deep in Germany’s half. Twelve minutes later, Anja Mittag equalized for Germany on a counterattack.
Neither squad had a standout performance. The USA’s primary deficiency in the match was the inability to connect passes, especially up to its forwards, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, who both, except for the early goal, had fairly quiet nights. Germany was much better with their passing, although there was some significant spells during the match where neither side could keep possession for more than a pass or two.
The USA’s lone goal could have came out of Germany’s playbook as it involved a high pressure defensive effort and a lightning counterattack. After Germany’s right outside back Bianca Schmidt tracked down an optimistic cross from Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath pressured Schmidt and won back the ball. Heath dribbled away from Germany’s goal and passed to Lauren Cheney. Cheney slotted a one-touch pass to Alex Morgan who took a quick dribble and angled in either a shot or cross to the far post, which was easily knocked into the back of the net by Abby Wambach.
Germany’s equalizer was a textbook German counterattack couple with individual brilliance. A German defender dispossessed Alex Morgan as she tried to receive a pass from Megan Rapinoe. A second defender was right there and able to get a touch on the loose ball, back to the first defender, who made a short pass to Simone Laudehr. Then, Laudehr instantly sped up field with the ball. Laudehr passed to a stationary Dzenifer Marozsan who fed the ball back to her. Then, USA centerback Rachel Buehler slid in to tackle the ball away from Laudehr, but missed. At the same time, Laudehr chipped a low ball up ahead to Anja Mittag. The lone striker latched onto the ball and sprint dribbled toward the left side of goal with only a helpless Kelley O’Hara near her. A couple steps into the box, Mittag chipped a shot over Hope Solo and into the upper part of the goal, far post. Defensively, for the USA, the final breakdown that led to the goal was Buehler choosing to try to dispossess Laudehr — and missing — instead tracking of the nearest attacker, which was Mittag. But, the earlier breakdown was a failing by some of the USA’s attackers to make the transition back to defense quickly enough, which when a team is playing Germany should be priority number one.
The United States and Germany will play again in Connecticut on Tuesday, October 23rd. That match will be televised live on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
U.S. Soccer Highlights:
U.S. Soccer reaction video (YouTube)
U.S. Soccer match report
U.S. Soccer quote sheet
DFB box score (in German)
DFB write-up (in German)
DFB quote sheet (in German)
DFB highlights (geo-blocked in USA)
DFB reaction video (in German)
Additionally, during the match FOX Soccer confirmed that it would be showing at least two additional matches of the USWNT’s Fan Tribute Series: a December 1st match against the Republic of Ireland and a December 12th match against China.