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USWNT rout Australia in Sundhage’s farewell game


photo by Michael Janosz/

Pia Sundhage could not have asked for a better performance from the U.S. women's national team in her farewell match.

Sundhage ended her five-year tenure as head coach of the United States by guiding her team to a 6-2 victory over Australia in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,589 fans at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on Wednesday night. Alex Morgan led the way for the U.S., scoring two goals and assisting on two others to help erase a 2-1 deficit.

Heather O'Reilly, Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx and Sidney Leroux also found the back of the net while Hope Solo went the distance in goal.

The win saw Sundhage finish her time as U.S. coach with a 91-6-10 record that included two Olympic gold medal finishes and a runners-up medal at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

What do you think of the U.S women's national team's 6-2 win over Australia? How do you look back on Sundhage's time as USWNT head coach? Think it will be difficult replacing her?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Wambach is still very good but is getting long in the tooth (not surprisingly). The discussion shouldn’t be Rapinoe vs. Heath but Rapinoe AND Heath AND ???. Rapinoe and Heath are very different, but both valuable. Heath is a classic #10. A technical creator who provides gret ball after great ball. Rapinoe can create too, but she’s a dynamic slasher with an eye for goal – better suited for the wing. What we really need is a quality left winger so Heath can stay inside where she belongs.

    O’Reilly is a “typical American”. Great effort – attacks the end-line like a maniac, good speed but very limited technically. If you want to play “American” hoof-and-chase, she’s fine. If you want to possess the ball and play on the ground through midfield – she’s not a fit. Frankly, if I’m going to play that way, give me Leroux – she faster anyway.

  2. I admit it, Pia really grew on me and her record speaks for itself. The TEAM is sooooooo much better than when she took over, night and day in its evolution from the beginning to the end of her term

    Cheney is a huge key, no one talks about her. She’s the tough holding mid with skills who can move the ball through the midfield and link and also get forward. She allows the other players to be better whether that’s Lloyd, Rapinoe, Heath or any of them in there, my opinion, because she breaks the pressure and releases those others into space…not always successful but she does it well and other teams foul the crap out of her trying to slow her down because she’s so good in middle

    Abby will never get the respect for her skills because of her dominant size in the area and her aerial supremacy, but her skills are good. How’d you like her hold and release for Heath (I think) into the right corner to unlock her cross for Morgan’s headed goal? Nice :)))

    Thank you Pia!!! and good luck at the Euros, but never against us!!!

  3. Thanks to everyone (in particular Elaina) for their comments. Shane there may well be benefit in a tactical change from the coach– Ron, your point is taken on Heath’s upside, but if I am playing to win in a major tournament, I want to see actual performance, not just upside.

    Elaina, I hope you are right about Leroux (though it also looks like we have a lot of other talent at the U-20 and U-23 level that might be a factor the in the next World Cup.) And duly noted that Wambach’s mere presence doubtless frees up space for others on set pieces.

    Also duly noted about position switches (I remember when O’Hara was terrorizing opponents at Stanford from the forward position). That’s why I cut her some slack when she makes some mistakes on the backline– she still has an attacking mentality from there that can be very valuable in the long-term.

    I’m not trying to naively just value people on whether they are scoring goals, but as I understand it Rapinoe and Heath are playing similar positions on the wing but there is simply no comparing their productivity either at scoring goals or setting them up. Again, I wonder whether many more knowledgeable soccer fans are so in love with Heath’s amazing raw skills that they are not noticing what seems to me to be her relative ineffectiveness on the field in terms of putting the ball in the net or helping others to do so. And I don’t see her as a superstar when it comes to dispossessing others either. Perhaps with more experience she will grow into the role. For my money I’d rather have O’Reilly on the wing– I know she’s not “technical” but she can score goals and, for example her speedily running down Wambach’s poorly weighted ball and delivering a perfect cross to Morgan’s head vs. Canada is not a play that Heath could have made (frankly nobody else but Morgan or Leroux on the U.S. team would even have had the speed to get to that ball)

  4. I agree with you Jeremy that Alex Morgan is far more talented at Wambach at this point. She is great in the air which we saw against Canada and last night and she is clinical in front of goal. She is far fastest then Wambach at this point but she did not really start until after she proved herself at the Wolrd cup. A lot of coaches start players before they are truly ready and this often times ruins them because they overeach to get the goals that they are expected to and when they dont they become discouraged. That is a burden for a young player and that is why she often subbed in Sydney Leroux who i feel will eventually replace Wambach. Wambach is a leader and most of all a threat to other teams and other teams often put alot of bodies on her to prevent her from scoring goals which leaves players likeShannon boxx who scored with a header last night, open on a corner kick. I believe that by the time of the next world cup we will see a different lineup and i predict sydney leroux and morgan will be the starters and wambach will be a substitute. Those two forwards with there speed will be extrememly dangerous anhopefully successful.
    In regards to tobin heath, you have to realize that midfielders do not often score many goals. For example Carli llyod has been on the team close to ten years and scored those two amazing goals in the gold medal match but she has only scored about 41 goals. The job of the midfielders is to be good at passing and maintaining possession and finding the wholes in the defense in order to set up their teammates which are usually the forwards. Tobin heath is an outside midfielder versus carli llyod who is a center midfielder. Being a center midfielder gives you more attacking ability and Pia has said that is where she thinks Tobin belongs. What makes Tobin a player to watch in the future is her abilty on the ball and how she gets past defenders. she is also very smart in the way she threads balls through into empty spaces for shots on goal. She is different from Rapinoe who beautiful bends shots from corners into goal but I see a bright future for her. I also think its important to note that many of the players on the national team didnt originally play the positions they currently play. For example Hope solo used to be a forward and Kelly oHara who normally plays left back on the defensive line was a forward at Standford. Im sure they all want to score goals and get the rush of happiness they used to when they did score goals but they have had to settle into these positions and do the job of those positions in order to remain on the national team. I am a huge fan of the women national team and I have studied many of them to emphasize points to the U-19 team I coach. Hopefully this clears some stuff up for you.

  5. Rapinoe is a decent wide midfielder who can get decent crosses in but she is nowhere near as skilled or creative on the ball as Heath. Heath needs to jell more with her frontrunners, that is true, but Heath has far more upside that Rapinoe.

  6. It’s the same reason why the USMNT will sell out Gillette Stadium, but the Revs have embarrassingly low attendance. Americans tend to support the national teams, which is great, but league soccer just doesn’t carry the same prestige or intrigue, evidently.

  7. I think Wambach is better than you give her credit for, especially when it comes to creating with her passing. For me the problem was Sundhage. In the Olympics the team focused way too much on long balls to Abby despite the fact that we really do have the best players that are more than capable of playing the through the midfield against the best teams in the world.

    If felt the US’s tactics in the Olympics were very disappointing, didnt see the friendlies.

    Anyway I’m glad Sundhage is gone; it is time for someone new. She did a good job while here but it was going stale IMO

  8. Congrats Coach and best wishes. Thanks for all the trophies!

    SBI, how does her 91-6-10 record compare with other USMNT and USWNT coaches? It’s gotta be top tier.

  9. Help educate my ignorance, soccer mavens. I’m a casual player who knows a little bit about soccer strategy, but has no real expertise. I watched all six of our Olympic games and three victory tour games.

    It struck me that Wambach, whatever her great leadership qualities, is well past her prime. She is painfully slow (a poor fit with the rest of our roster) and cannot create at all for other players (I do not believe she has had a single assist in those nine games) Of her five Olympic goals one came on a PK (that she did not create) and of the other four, maybe one or two of them were anything more than “Gimmes”. A lot of our corner strategy was predicated on getting the ball on her head, but this was rarely successful in actually scoring. Meanwhile Morgan was terrorizing opponents defenses, creating corner after corner and shot after shot, despite getting almost no help from her partner up front. I could see Wambach helping out well on defense at times, and as a situational substitute who could go hard for 30 minutes and get her head on the ball, I get the value, but I didn’t see much that indicate to me that she is a great full-time starter at this point.

    Similarly, I don’t get the obsession with Tobin Heath– yes, she has great creativity on the ball, but it is rarely used toward actually scoring or setting up goals (as evidenced by her low total of six goals in 52 caps) Of the three Assists she had in the World Cup, only one was really a “quality” assist where she created a play with her skill. She often makes dazzling plays but with no ultimate strategic aim. Contrast this to Rapinoe who has similar creativity, but is constantly using it in service of brilliant moves forward that lead to goal-scoring opportunities.

    Am I missing something or did Sundhage have a semi-irrational attachment to Wambach and Heath?

  10. I realize it was a national team game, but with the large attendance the past 2 games (and this game was in the middle of the week) I can’t see why a women’s league can’t have success here.


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