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SBI USWNT Woman of the Match: Julie Johnston


Photo by USA Today Sports


While the U.S. Women’s National Team attack continued to sputter until the second half of Monday’s match, the team’s defense considered to thrive under the leadership of Julie Johnston.

Playing a key role in quelling a dangerous Colombia attack, Johnston did her role in earning the USWNT a clean sheet Round of 16 victory over Colombia while also claiming SBI’s USWNT Woman of the Match honors.

In Colombia, Johnston and co. took on a team based on technique and trickery, but the defense never bit. Faced time and time again with the quick feet of Lady Andrade, Johnston was a rock at the back, never falling into Colombia’s game by over-pursuing. Allowing just two less-than-memorable shots on target, Johnston led the way for a backline that was never truly threatened by a team that could have easily posed numerous problems.

Johnston’s leadership and composure in defense were enough to beat out Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe for SBI’s honors.

What did you think of Johnston’s performance? Which player stood out to you in the USWNT’s victory over Colombia?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Yea JJ, she is a calm smart player with a open mind to cover some ground when the time is right. She is a gifted player and I hope to see her leadership continue. Its fun to see younger fit players get some playing time. AW slowness will work in favor of the strong Germans if we win the next game.

  2. My gang calls her “Predator Barbie”, because she looks kinda like the love-child of The Predator and well, Barbie….

    She’s physically just a different specimen. Not fat or even zaftig, just…thick. Strong. And bounds around sorta 3-dimensionally, like gravity on this planet just affects her less than it does the rest of us. For a “big” girl – I hate that term, again, it makes it sound like I’m calling her fat – she changes directions on a dime, and is just incredibly athletic and light on her feet. If she was just a hair faster I’d call her hands-down the best CB I’ve ever seen on the USWNT, as it is she’s close.

    Big JJ fan. She’s been the player of the tournament for me, and it isn’t close.

  3. Christie Rampone deserves the POTM honor because if she didn’t get injured Julie Johnston would be riding pine and the USA would probably be out of the tournament. Jill Ellis is just too stupid to have actually given a young player a chance to unseat a veteran without having her hand forced.

  4. JJ and Klingenberg have been great to see and I feel like our defense is going to be strong for a long time now. I’m actually very happy that Holiday has to sit. She has been the weakest link on the entire team for me.

    • Yup.

      Lloyd has probably been the second-weakest. Then again, what Lloyd wants to do is run around as a 6 and blow people up, win headers, and launch rockets from distance, and she really hasn’t been allowed to do that except in stretches. She really isn’t suited to connect the dots in attack.

      Whatever Ellis is doing with our CM’s, it isn’t working.

  5. Johnston has been tough in defense.

    Colombia sat back off the US defenders when the US was in attack and dared them to initiate the attack…and I’d say we weren’t very good at it. Johnston was ok at it at best and I expect China to do the same thing. That is, dare the US defenders to initiate the attack while focusing pressure on the midfielders with multiple defenders. It’s the main reason why you hear people asking for O’Reilly because she is suited to exploit defensive tactics like that by getting chalk on her boots and getting up and down the flank. My opinion

  6. Julie Johnston has been the best player this tournament. Holiday and Lloyd have been the worst, they have added no value. The whole back line has played very well. Team is playing better with Tobin Heath in the lineup. She is not the a black hole like Holiday and Lloyd. It says alot that the other forwards are not able to beat out Abby Wambach who is showing her age. She is a step and a half slow to every ball.

  7. JJ’s been arguably their best player this tourney, and to think she probably doesn’t get a roster sniff without injuries to Engen and Rampone says a lot about the state of the “youth movement” of the senior team. Where are the new New Kids?

  8. surprised to see that Meghan Klingenberg wasnt mentioned, did a solid defensive job and was very good going forward, sharpness of her passes and her decision making on ball werent matched.

    • Agreed. She has had a great tournament. I think she is right behind Johnston and Rapinoe in terms of best play so far.

    • Initially I was against her on the US roster, she has grown on me and shes doing well, has lots of energy the whole 90 minutes..

      Im worried tho on the RB flank… Krieger is too slow in defensive/offensive transition…. and except for one good cross into the box against Nigeria she hasnt showed anything, her passes to team mates are inconsequential and sometimes even bad.

  9. Morgan would be my pick.Johnston has been great, but Colombia really did not threaten much. When they did setup in the US end, they mostly passed it around a good 10+ yards outside of the box only to get it to the wings where a player would try one-on-one moves only to turn it over. Morgan scored the goal and she also drew the PK and the red. Rapinoe wouldn’t be a bad choice either. Interestingly enough, checked US Soccer’s site and Lloyd was WOTM. I thought she was invisible the first half. I do think she played a lot better when Brian came in, but I did not think she was WOTM.

    • it would normally go to an offense player but it was close. JJ was busy on offense when she didnt have to. She got two headers on goal and a shot that went over the bar.

      On Morgan’s goal, Johnston peeled off of a defender to get open and motioned Alex to pass the ball, it was an easy tap in but luckily Alex’s soft shot went in, you would’ve still be hearing about it had that play not produced a score.

      On Abby’s failed PK shot, JJ did the little things that makes a player exceptional, she timed Abbys run and kick perfectly and charged the 18′ box for a potential rebound. Unfortunately, there was no rebound as the ball sail into the stands. Note, no other US player charged the box as far/quick as JJ did, some didnt even charged the box at all.

      She was her usual on defense and played higher in support of the missing US midfielders, not sure if it was on her own or by design. JJ involved herself in a lot of areas and opportunities when as defenders she didnt have to.

  10. No argument here, she’s definitely made the most of the opportunity she was given, made us proud, and made us a stronger team. I haven’t checked, but our GA number should be one of the better ones in the tournament, no?

      • GA….goals against

        Not GF or GD…goals for or goal differential.

        According to the FIFA site we’re tied w/ three other teams having only allowed 1 goal. Germany has given up 2.

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