After a slow start in the SheBelieves Cup with the USWNT ending their first match in a draw, the Americans bounced back dominating New Zealand, 5-0.
Sure, they got a little help from New Zealand’s Meikayla Moore, who posted the worst kind of hat trick imaginable, scoring three-straight goals on her own net in the first half. But reigning Golden Boot winner Ashley Hatch added her own, and Mallory Pugh finished off the night with one more in stoppage time.
With a win over Iceland on Wednesday, the USWNT can seal a third straight SheBelieves Cup trophy. Here’s how they’ll do it:
1. Play aggressive with midfielders sitting higher up front on the attack
Test the defense and back them up to the goal, and stay in control of the ball and
the next move.
2. Push the ball into the box to generate pressure and play more direct
Send the ball inside where it’s extremely difficult to defend and, regardless of who
touches it (see the Meikayla Moore example) it’s headed to the net.
3. Keep everyone fresh by giving the young talent a try
Use the depth of the bench to the roster’s advantage and keep the defense on their toes.
4. Get creative with plays
Swinging the ball around to outside backs and wingers to make attackers available inside the box is a good start.
5. Utilize the cross to create pressure and generate looks for offensive plays
Create opportunities by moving the ball inside where attackers can get open for
shots on goal.
The USWNT has not allowed a goal on home soil since this tournament in 2020 in a 3-1 win against Japan, but Iceland, which sits No. 2 in the standings, will be a tough test. Coming off a five-goal victory, we still like USA’s chances at another impressive showing. If you think the USWNT is ready to take the No. 1 spot, an Asian Handicap bet of -2.75 might be for you.