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USWNT suffers 3-1 friendly defeat to France


The U.S. Women’s National Team rolled to a stellar 2018 but unfortunately did not taste victory in their opening match to the new year.

Jill Ellis’ side fell 3-1 on Saturday to World Cup hosts France in Le Havre, snapping a 28-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.

Kadidiatou Diani broke the deadlock in the ninth minute for France, chipping Alyssa Naeher with a clever finish.

After scoring the opening goal in the match, Diani doubled France’s lead with a superb individual effort in the 56th minute.

Marie-Antoinette Kakoto added an insurance goal in the 78th minute, beating the USWNT backline and Naeher before rolling into an empty net.

Mallory Pugh gave the USWNT a consolation goal in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, collecting a pass from Carli Lloyd before finding the bottom-right corner.

Naeher made six saves in the defeat for the USWNT which saw several regulars miss out. Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Casey Short, and Julie Ertz all missed out due to minor injuries while Kelley O’Hara is still on her way back from ankle surgery.

Up next for Ellis’ squad is a trip to Spain on Jan. 22nd for their first ever meeting with between the two sides.


  1. Everyone just take a deep breath. This was a typical January Camp match – the lineup was filled with new young players, and experimentation in formation and tactics by Coach Ellis. AS IT SHOULD BE. Is it true that the veteran group is getting older, and the USWNT may be relying on the same core group of players for too many years? Absolutely. But that’s not what happened this weekend. First match of the year, during January camp, is the perfect time to give all the “prospects” a shot against a tough opponent. We’ll be fine. (I hope).

  2. The injuries certainly reveal a frightening (but not surprising) lack of depth…but let’s not forget that the French are in-season and the USWNT is not…which does make the injuries all the more a concern.

  3. I agree, the injuries are a warning sign. Time and age are unrelenting; eventually players either lose a step, or start having minor injuries that they cannot recover from quickly. Lloyd, Sauerbrun, Rapinoe, Heath, and O’Hara are 30 or over; Morgan is 29. It is very likely that some of these players will miss at least parts of the upcoming WC with similar “minor” injuries.

  4. Without Heath, Rapinoe, Ertz, Lavelle, & O’Hara on the field, playing the next best team in the world on their field was a little too much. Playing Emily Fox at Left Back was a BIG mistake, as she had everyone holding their breath every time the French would bring the ball down the field. It wasn’t until Tierna Davidson relieved her that we started to relax. Also, Morgan Brian was her usual ineffective self. There is a Cardinal Rule that you never slide tackle in the Penalty Area unless it is a sure thing, or else if you miss, you can either give away a PK or an unobstructed shot to the opponent. On the first French Goal, after Fox had allowed the French Right Wing to steal the ball away from her and cross it, Brian went into the slide, coming up empty, with the result being a clear shot from 8 yards out. The rest of her efforts were not much more productive.

    Christen Press would show signs of brilliance, but could never close the deal. Mallory Pugh had another dreadful match, struggling to hang on to the ball, and falling down more than once with no contact. She finally returned to form and scored the USA goal with a nifty shot.
    Mu recollection is that her best efforts were at left wing, and not right. With Megan Rapinoe out of the line-up, tonight would have been a good opportunity to put her back on the left. You then could have moved Christen Press over to the right side. But that didn’t happen, and the USA struggled to make anything happen until the 2nd half.

    I still believe that if the USA wants to establish a back line like they had in 2015, they will have to bring up Hailie Mace on to the roster. She would be the fastest player on the team and could stay with any forward any opponent could put on the field. As the #2 Overall Draft Pick in the 2019 NWSL Draft, she obviously has impressed more people than just me.

    I believe that if the US can hold off the opposition until they score first, they can take control
    of the match. With the fire power the USA first team has, it would be hard to shut them out.
    Thus, the only thing they will have to accomplish will be to keep the opponents at bay, and the offense will do the rest.

    Losing to the French today was not the only concern our USA women have. Unfortunately, the way the brackets were drawn up and teams drawn, the USA and France will IN ALL PROBABILITY meet in the Quarter-Finals of the knockout round. Based on projections, The USA will meet China in the first knockout round, while France will only have to play a 3rd place team from one of the other Groups. Thus, there is not much chance that teams other than the USA or France will meet in that Quarter-Final.

    One final note: The Blog indicates that many of the USA Top guns were held out because of minor injuries. It seems this is a reoccurring story. I keep wondering how can training camp only be open a week, yet so many people come up with injuries. There may be a conditioning issue here with the USWNT. I think that maybe having a dynamic stretching program for the USWNT could be the answer. We are too close to the W/C to start having half the team injured all the time.


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