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Rapinoe, Press lead the way as USWNT opens WWC with victory over Australia


Photo by Bruce Fedyck/USA TODAY Sports


It may not have been their best performance in recent memory, but the U.S. Women’s National Team did enough to emerge victorious from their first game of the Women’s World Cup.

Led by a pair of goals from Megan Rapinoe that sandwiched a game-winning finish from Christen Press, the U.S. topped Australia, 3-1, Monday night in the opening game of the USWNT’s World Cup run in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

After seeing the two sides deadlocked for through halftime and into the second half, Press’ eventual game-winner game in the 64th minute as the U.S. dashed up the field with a quick sequence of passing.

Starting with a Hope Solo goal kick, the ball was collected at midfield by Megan Rapinoe, who flicked it into space for Sydney Leroux. The forward dashed towards the left side of the box before centering a pass to an open Press, who smashed a shot first time to give the U.S. a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Press’ finish gave the U.S. the lead, but the three points were sealed by Rapinoe in the 78th minute, as the Australian back line gave the USWNT midfielder too much space to work. Rapinoe proceeded to fire a shot to the far post to all but seal the U.S. victory in a game where they were far from dominant for long stretches.

After a difficult opening few minutes, it was Rapinoe that pushed the USWNT into the lead with her first finish of the night in the 12th minute. Very much against the run of play, Rapinoe turned towards goal and rifled a shot. The shot banked off a defender and past a helpless Melissa Barbieri, giving the U.S. the 1-0 lead.

That lead lasted just 15 minutes before the Aussies found their equalizer from Lisa De Vanna on a wide open finish on the back post.

De Vanna’s finish came on a brilliant series of buildup play from the Australians as the ball was played into Michelle Heyman near the penalty spot. The Australia forward slid a pass to the right side of the box to an unmarked De Vanna, who smashed a finish past Hope Solo to level the scoreline.

The scoreline would have been much worse at halftime if not for Solo’s heroics early in the game, as the controversial USWNT goalkeeper provided highlight reel saves in the fifth and 13th minutes, with the former being pushed up and into the crossbar with a diving effort.

Solo’s heroics and the finishes from Rapinoe and Press proved to be just enough, helping the U.S win their first game in Group D.

With three points in the bag, the USWNT returns to action on Friday to take on former coach Pia Sundhage and Sweden, who drew Nigeria in their opening match Wednesday evening.


  1. This team will not make it to the final, mark my words. Although they may not have all the talent the U.S. has, Germany and France have far better teams.

  2. Two thoughts: 1) The lack of a true #6 is really going to hamper this team, especially when they take on better opposition.
    2) The announcers…. my God, the announcers. Why do they insist on commentating the games like no one understands the game of soccer? “If she fouls her in the box… it’s a penalty!” That is akin to watching the NBA Finals and Jeff van Gundy says, “If he would have fouled him… it would have been two free throws!” Ugh.

    • Agree on both points. The US central midfield was getting completely bypassed by Australia at times. Regarding the the announcers. I hate to pick on the gal commentator, but was she the best Fox could get? JP is an OG who I’m fine with, and I do think TonyD offers some insightful (if blunt) thoughts.

    • I will take the flip side of that on the announcers, as I am not sure which side I am on. Hate it being dumbed down usually, but this is a Womans’ World Cup and woman tend to me more compassionate than me, at least.

      There are probably a lot that are watching that don’t completely understand the rules.
      My wife was watching ( I don’t know how it is possible, being married to me, but she doesn’t know all the rules ). The many that do understand maybe don’t mind the rules being explained.

      JP is good.

    • Announcers were horrendous. Not as bad as the English language guys on the Univision MLS games, who are so bad I watch those games in Spanish, but really just not good enough. Fox has a long way to go to match ESPN’s quality of coverage in recent years.

    • Just to further on the announcers point — Take a shot everytime they mention the word “speed”. “What does Australia offer? Speed.” They mentioned this word about 20 times last night. None of the 4 goals scored last night had anything to do with speed, and I’d guesstimate that 99% of the goals that will be scored in this World Cup will have to do with speed. Passing, movement off the ball and perhaps even luck are what most goals come from.

      Tony D. also mentioned that Australia is a “good heading team”. I’ve never heard a commentator say something like that. Or, that they should leave Abby Wambach in the game, because she is the best defensive header of the ball, despite the fact that she is a forward.

      • “99% of the goals that will be scored in this World Cup will have NOTHING to do with speed.”

        Sorry, typo.

      • I’m surprised you haven’t known this, apparently. Many times you will see teams bring in forwards to defend on corner kicks when the forward is good in the air. I remember Sunderland doing it with Jozy frequently. In fact I think that sometimes they would bring him in late more for that defensive purpose than for offensive or hold up play when they were leading or tied. Likewise, on corners teams bring up center backs to try to score on headers. Did you know that Bocanegra one year was Fulham’s second leading scorer? He had 5 goals, probably all because of corners.

  3. I dislike being negative, but it seems like the game plan was to get Wambach her record tying goal, no matter who else was open. Too many long balls forward out of the back. Rapinoe, as good as she was, ignored other options in the first half in order to pass the ball to Wambach. I sincerely hope that the USWNT does better going forward. I am not a Wambach hater, but I hated today’s game plan. Playing like that is going to produce some long days against France and Germany. We need the midfield to be more involved. Just my opinion.

    • Many will call me crazy, but I think Rapinoe had a horrible match… HORRIBLE!!!

      The goals she scored however, saved the team from a piss poor performance, especially in the first half.

      She single (footedly) took both Lloyd and Holiday out of the match, IMHO, forcing Lloyd to become a deep line holding midfielder, because Rapinoe held on to the ball too long while on the attack. Her play also tool Holiday out of the match. She kept loosing the ball in un-opportune spots that led to counters, which lead to defensive issues.

      He saving grace was the goals, especially the 2nd; again she held on to the ball too long, limiting the offensive options, of which she had two, then NONE. If she hadn’t score … she should have been pilloried for her efforts.

      If anyone saw the match Swiss v. Japan, the Swiss #10 had a Rapinoe game, same … holding on to the ball, dribbling into defenses, an GIVING THE BALL AWAY in the ATTACK, when her chance came to give the Swiss a result … she MISSED; Megan didn’t and that was her only saving grace, IMHO.

      They can’t win the World Cup with this team playing like they played v. Australia, especially in the mid-field. Let’s hope they build through the tournament, and improve their play half by half.

      • she did make a lot of uncharacteristic errors in the first half, but was also the only player showing any real ambition. she did nothing less than take over the game in the 2nd. she’s the best all-around female soccer player in the world right now, imo.

  4. I’m glad Hope had it together when the rest of the team didn’t. They need to improve though if they are to win the tournament.

  5. To recap, the US started out slowly and poorly and went into the half tied 1-1. They came out in the second half playing better and about two thirds of the way through the game began playing up to their potential and dominated the game. They won 3-1 and really dominated in the second half. They are now leading the group and if they win one of their next two games are assured of going through and a draw and a win will mean winning the group. Yet, to read the posts here from others, you would think they are in dire straits, don’t know how to play and the coach doesn’t know how to coach. A lot of US fans look at a doughnut and only see the hole.

    • Agreed. This was actually one of the more dominating performances by the women in some time. And solo does what she always does. This when wambach and Lloyd have off games and Morgan is on the field for 10 minutes. Heck, even rapino was off the first half. Things looking good to me.

  6. The player in possession had no close support and we relied on ugly long balls to a player that is old and rusty. That was our game plan?

    • Excellent point. At the end of the day, we do not bust our asses off the ball to give the player with the ball options. In the next match watch for this; it will drive you nuts. Try it. Occasionally pause the match and look at the “staticness”. Then get a rusty fork and jam it in your eyes. It will feel better.

      Sadly, for all of our fitness, movement off the ball and providing options should be the easy for this group to do.


  7. Dude, please stop. I’m not a Hope Solo fan at all but I’m pretty sure what you are taking about has nothing to do with soccer and is frankly uncalled for. Can someone ban this guy please. Judge her for being a D bag but please leave that out of it.

  8. Without Sope Holo “pulling down the curtains on the goal” tonight, we would have had a much, much different game folks.

  9. Gameplan was terrible……kick it long to Wambach and hope for the best. I agree that Wambach’s best role with this team is super-sub. Would love to see Leroux + Press + Rodriguez/Morgan up top. I would bet this team would be more composed and patient in their build-up if Abby wasn’t constantly calling for long balls…..

    • Wambach slows the game down. Whitehill pointed out one instance where Klingenberg was open and calling for the ball on a quick restart…instead the U.S. took their time and set up the free kick. Wonder what/who prompted that?

      Wambach also had two golden chances to put headers on frame and Wondo’d both of them. You’re on this team for ostensibly one reason, don’t blow it when it’s laid at your feet.

      The Press on the wing experiment needs to end. Talk about completely miscasting one of your top 5 talents. She did nothing other than take her goal beautifully, ya know, since being in front of goal is where she’s most comfortable. Start Heath on the wing, move Press up top and relegate Wambach to super sub.

      Maybe starting a more technical lineup will allow the USWNT to get out of the front-foot early, instead of having to rely on out-fitnessing teams in the final 20 minutes.

      • On the free kick where Klingenburg was calling for the ball, as I saw it, the Aussies were smart enough to have two p;layers standing right in front of the ball while the US player was placing it down. I think Coach Ellis’ preference is to bring Wambach in as a late sub, but she is hampered by Morgan’s injury. Once Morgan is match fit, I think we will see her in Wambach’s place. That’s the way Ellis was doing it before Morgan’s injury. As for their game plan, the US was pretty bad the first half and had trouble stringing together more than a couple of passes. Midway through the second half they got into a rhythm and were moving the ball crisply and accurately and played a possession game. Sometimes the coach has a game plan and the players don’t or can’t follow it. Of course, if Wambach had converted those two good chances, then playing long ball would have been seen as a bit of genius. In the end, it all comes down to if the players perform as well as they can.

      • But this is the crux of the lineup issue. Morgan hasn’t been a factor for the USWNT (or the Thorns) for almost a year due to various injuries (nobody seems to want to talk about this). During that time, Press played quite a bit and has shown her wares up top. Play her alongside Leroux and see what happens, and have AW as the super sub.

        It makes no sense to play a dynamo forward like Press in a position where she very obviously is uncomfortable and simply can’t provide the type of play needed….especially when you have Heath, or O’Reilly, who can thrive in that spot.

        Boggles the mind.

    • +1 I see what you did there haha. Hope’s saves kept us in the game, with Pinoe being excellent overall. The team settled in the game once the Aussies let up, but I honestly thought the US played better once they stopped playing the long ball and played shorter passes in the second half.


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