A bit of a different piece today as I shift my focus to the wonderful world of women’s football, more specifically – the United States Women’s National Team, or USWNT for short.
I’ve always been an admirer of the USWNT because they represent hope and opportunity for millions of young aspiring female footballers around, not just the United States, but the world. The fact that they don the colours of America matters little to those that hold them in highest admiration; admiration from across the globe that has transcended every possible geographic and national boundary.
While the USWNT is an inspiration of many, they are an absolute nightmare for those that face them on the field. Just ask Jamaica. Or Mexico. Or Panama. Or Trinidad & Tobago.
2019 Women’s World Cup Qualifying Run
My heavens. USWNT blew every single team they faced in qualifying out the waters and into another stratosphere. Have a look at the scores for yourself:
- USWNT v Mexico (6 – 0)
- Panama v USWNT (0-5)
- Trinidad & Tobago v USWNT (0-7)
- USWNT v Jamaica (6-0)
24 goals scored and no goals conceded in four games. That’s an average of eight goals per match. Ten different goal scorers; four of them with braces and in all matches, they’ve scored before the clock even strikes the 10th minute mark.
The entire USWNT must be on some of them ‘roids.
Jill Ellis’ ladies have now secured a berth for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, where they will look to Trump (see what I did there) for the second consecutive time since being crowned victors in the 2015 edition.
The true test of USWNT’s strength obviously doesn’t lie in CONCACAF, but on the world stage next summer in France, against the other big
guns girls like Japan, Germany, Australia and Sweden.
The US Soccer Federation should just hand in a request for USWNT to play in UEFA competitions, if I’m honest.
Alex Morgan – Terror on Thirteenth Street
USWNT just doesn’t seem complete without Alex Morgan, arguably the most well-known name of the lot. Maybe because she’s been on the front cover of Sports Illustrated. Maybe because she scores for fun. Whatever floats your boat.
Morgan has bagged herself six goals in the four qualifying matches and rest assured, she will be adding to her tally. It won’t be long before she hits that 100th career goal milestone, just five more goals to go.
A powerful forward with a clinical eye for goal, Morgan is growing more and more into her role as captain of her side, with her commanding presence and assured displays in the frontline. She is fleet-footed and has a knack for getting into smart goalscoring positions. Doesn’t hurt that the service she gets from the middle of the park is pretty darn good too.
When Morgan gets the ball, just get out of her way because she’s going to score anyway. She stands a good chance for World Cup MVP, you think?
Tobin Heath – The Assassin
Tobin Heath might seem like she lives in the shadow of her compatriot, Alex Morgan. Trust me, she doesn’t.
Heath is a silent killer in the ranks of USWNT. She takes out defenders and fullbacks before you can even blink. She cuts into space so gracefully, you’d be mesmerised. She operates as one that tries not to draw too much attention to herself. She’s an assassin, in other words.
Over the course of the USWNT’s qualifying phase, Heath was such a constant threat to the opponents they played, harrying and tussling for the ball to create chances, not for herself, but for her team. Nice to see that she grabbed four goals in qualifying too.
A selfless team player and a scorer of some wonderfully hit goals, Heath will continue to be an important cog in her side for many years to come.
Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe – Queens Supreme
Ah, watching Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe dictate the play in the heart of midfield is just a thing of beauty.
Lloyd is this bulldozer of a clutch player, I swear. Her tenacity and fighting spirit are so apparent every single time she steps onto the pitch. Lloyd’s versatility is also incredibly useful, which means she understands the game better than most do. Her tackling and accuracy is quite sublime too.
She started out as a defensive midfielder before taking on a more offensive midfield role, behind the forwards. At times, Lloyd has also been deployed as a forward. I bet she could play between the sticks and nail that role as well.
C’mon, Lloyd wasn’t named best player of the 2015 World Cup for nothing. Nike even made a pair of limited edition boots to celebrate her. I’d love to be #sponsored too.
Her fellow teammate, Megan Rapinoe, is the little magician. With nimble feet and quick wits, Rapinoe has earned herself a name for being one of the best passers of the ball in women’s football.
Her distribution and crossing are so accurate, thus stretching the opposition in ways they never thought they’d be stretched. Every pass that leaves her feet will find either the head, feet or chest of her mates. And, the way she strokes the ball is like a mother gently caressing a newborn – gentle yet assured.
Rapinoe isn’t as “buff” or muscular as Lloyd, nor is she big in size but the way she shields the ball and protects it, you’d think she was 7 feet tall and 8 stone.
Lloyd and Rapinoe don’t have many years left with the USWNT but while they do, they reign as queens supreme of midfield central.
You can’t name me a better midfield duo in women’s football. You just can’t.
Mallory Pugh – The Future is Here
Pugh has already starred in a Nike commercial, accomplishing more than I ever will in my lifetime (we’re the same age, not that you care).
Stay tuned because this firecracker might just be Morgan’s heir apparent and the USWNT’s next bona fide superstar.