In the soccer equivalent of watching an aging heavyweight champion win a split decision over an outclassed journeyman, the U.S. women beat England 1-0 thanks to a Lauren Holiday cross, an Alex Morgan goal, and an errant flag.
The general themes were:
- Why is Jill Ellis persisting in the experiment of Lauren Holiday and Morgan Brian as the central midfield? It didn’t work against France. The only reason it may have worked here was because the Lionesses attacked like shy kittens.
- Can everyone please stop talking about Hope Solo? Maybe the Hope Solo of the 2008, 2011 and 2012 finals would’ve knocked the one dangerous England shot out of play. Not the Hope Solo who plays in the NWSL.
- No, seriously, stop talking about Hope Solo.
- In Becky Sauerbrunn and Ali Krieger we trust. Everything else, we check.
- Alex Morgan apparently needs to shake off some rust to go from being the best attacker on the field to the best attacker on the planet.
- Why is Jill Ellis waiting until the last few minutes to make any subs? Who uses just 11-14 players at a World Cup, especially one with a lot of travel and artificial turf?
- Why is England waiting until the last few minutes to put on its best attacking players?
Here’s how it played out on Twitter:
(Maybe they knew England was going to be uncharacteristically passive today?)
(Somewhere, message boards exploded …)
(People liked the DiCicco-Whitehill point/counterpoint. As did I.)
(Commentators — I forget which ones specifically — faulted Holiday and Brian for being flat. So that tandem didn’t work at all against an attacking French team, and it was caught out by a non-aggressive English team. But it’s great against Martinique.)
(Yay! We … lost by fewer goals!)