USWNT draw 0-0 against Australia

KASHIMA, Japan – In three games at Tokyo Olympic Football Tournament , the United States scored some nice goals and poacher goals and, s...


KASHIMA, Japan – In three games at Tokyo Olympic Football Tournament, the United States scored some nice goals and poacher goals and, sort of, five offside goals.

On Tuesday, the Americans didn’t score a goal, and it turned out that was exactly what they needed. A 0-0 draw with Australia on a wet and foggy night saw the United States – a favorite for medals whose generational dominance was questioned last week – to the round of 16 of the tournament and a quarter-final against the Netherlands on Friday in Yokohama.

The Americans’ fixture against the Netherlands was confirmed as the team were due to return to their hotel in Tokyo after having managed a methodical and professional draw with Australia. The Netherlands were the team with the most goals in the tournament: the Dutch beat China, 8-2, on Tuesday to bring their three-game goal tally to 21.

Tuesday’s result was not a vintage performance in the United States, nor maybe even a popular performance in the locker room. Three days after his side erupted offensively in a 6-1 win over New Zealand, US coach Vlatko Andonovski took over against Australia.

The United States deployed a tactical defensive plan from the first minute and never wavered, organizing what was in effect a fortified wall of defenders and midfielders and challenging Australia to try to play the balls through. above his star striker, Sam Kerr. When Australia did, the United States had little trouble retrieving the ball, neutralizing the danger and controlling the flow of the game.

While effective as a plan – Kerr, Australia’s most dangerous player, didn’t have a shot on goal – it was a strategy designed to elicit attacks and then push them back, not to mount them on the other end : a plan for a draw, which Andonovski knew he would clinch second place in the group, but not necessarily a plan for a victory.

The American players – savvy and experienced pros from front to back – just got out there and executed it.

“It was a tactical move by Vlatko for us to take a little more conservative defensive behavior, and really allow them to get impatient, play long and give it back to us,” said forward Alex Morgan, who recognized the wisdom of the strategy even as she seemed to smile when Andonovsky was asked about it during his post-match press conference.

“Disciplined, professional – what we had to do,” said defender Becky Sauerbrunn’s tactics.

And if the goal was to frustrate Australia, or at the very least brutally arm it, it worked.

“We didn’t want to be branded,” Andonovski said in a neutral tone. “It was one of the plans.”

Chances were: Morgan failed to convert an end-to-end breakaway in the eighth minute, and Australia’s Mary Fowler – a kick-off substitute for an injured Caitlin Foord – hit the crossbar with a head 10 minutes later.

Morgan even put the ball into the net with a header in the 31st minute, but it was ruled offside – America’s fifth ruled offside in two games – after a lengthy video review.

As the odds dried up in the second half, a sense of resignation replaced any glimmer of drama.

“Eventually I felt like both teams kind of sat down,” Morgan said, “and it turned into a professional game and moved on.”

For a team from the United States that was humiliated in a first loss against Sweden, then gathered and a little confidence with six goals (and four offside that didn’t count) in a win over New Zealand on Saturday, a tie – however frustrating – against a physical and potentially dangerous Aussie team looked like a good job .

In the end, Andonovsky turned around and congratulated his assistants as if he had won. The players did not celebrate. There will be, they hope, other nights for this. For their coach, that would be great. Tuesday it was just a matter of getting a result and moving on.

“Coming into this game, we came with a mentality that the first goal was to win the game, and the second goal was to achieve a good professional performance,” said Andonovski. “Obviously we didn’t do the first one, but we did the second, which was very important because it ultimately put us in the same place. “

The Matilda, as the Australian team are called, had to wait: they finished third in the group and had to wait three hours later to find out their opponent in the quarter-finals: the British team GB.

Team GB won their first-round group in a 1-1 tie against Canada on Tuesday, a goal in the 85th minute from Scotland’s Caroline Weir.

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Newsrust - US Top News: USWNT draw 0-0 against Australia
USWNT draw 0-0 against Australia
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