The United States women’s national team had not played a game in over two months prior to this one, and they won’t play another one of significance for another month.
Lindsey Horans Uswnt Showing vs. Portugal Could Deep Six
However, there was one crucial aspect of Thursday night’s friendly, and it was clear that coach Vlatko Andonovski wanted to make sure it was dealt with before anyone entered the locker room.
Therefore, he had a quick conversation with Lindsey Horan, an American midfielder, after the Americans’ routine 1-0 win over Portugal.
“I told her she was a monster on the field,” Andonovski remarked afterward.
Less than two years into his tenure, he has yet to lead the USWNT to a significant tournament victory. However, it may be too soon to declare Andonovski a successful national team coach despite his 18-0-1 record.
However, his eagerness to reassure Horan that she had produced in the defensive midfield role traditionally handled by Julie Ertz (the No. 6, in soccer lingo) suggested he may be a fine coach to play for at this level.
Andonovski said that Horan was outstanding at “aerial challenges, intercepting balls, dominating the game from the bottom half of the field.” That’s right, she went above and beyond when called for it. It was simply not needed frequently.
Most of the game, Portugal played a low block, holding onto the ball infrequently and rarely moving it past their own half of the field.
This is typical of the USWNT’s opponents, the vast majority of whom are at a significant talent disadvantage. However, games against teams like Sweden (the Olympic opener on July 21) enhance the significance of the No. 6’s role.
It’s Unknown if Horan will play this role Versus Sweden.
Andonovski has stated that he is certain that Ertz will recover in time for the Olympics after she damaged the MCL in her right knee during her team’s first NWSL game a month ago.
The United States women’s national team may lack depth at centre back, but they make up for it elsewhere on the field.
Since the beginning of the 2019 World Cup campaign, Tobin Heath has started on the right side of the front line. When we played Portugal, Christen Press went there. She has scored 60 goals for her country, and has been capped 145 times.
Carli Lloyd Replaced Alex Morgan up top in the 73rd Minute:
Lloyd is one of only five women in soccer history to have scored more than Morgan. At the same time, Tierna Davidson, a defender who can play either left back or centre defence, entered the game. Davidson has been lauded for her performance at the 2019 World Cup.
However, there were Indications that Horan’s Skills would be a Good fit for the Role.
Sam Mewis, a midfielder, said on a postgame Zoom call to the media, “Julie, of course, always going to have such enormous shoes to fill.” However, Lindsey has my admiration.
While playing for Paris Saint-Germain, Horan was a forward, but when she moved to the Portland Thorns, she was moved to the attacking midfield.
In spite of the fact that she is a world-class player (she was voted NWSL MVP in 2018), she has seen inconsistent playing time for the U.S. national team due to the fierce competition for starting spots.
While Mewis started all seven games and Rose Lavelle all but one, Horan started only four of the seven games at the 2019 World Cup.
Both Mewis (who scored the game-winning goal against Portugal with a pinpoint header off Press’ corner kick) and Press have given Andonovski little cause to doubt that Ellis was correct to use them so frequently in the attacking midfield positions.
Horan will have more options for starting positions if she is able to play defence. Horan can play the position like Real Madrid’s former star Xabi Alonso because of her speed, vision, and ability to make the passes that start attacking plays.
The only Open Question is just how Effectively Horan can thwart Enemy Strikes.
In the eighth minute of the match against Portugal, Horan received her first opportunity on goal and expertly swiped the ball, setting up Lavelle for a shot that resulted in a dangerous free kick opportunity for the United States.
Horan took a risk in the 25th minute, trying to pull off a similar manoeuvre, but she was unsuccessful, opening the door for an onslaught that a more talented team than Portugal might have easily exploited. 12 minutes later, Horan masterfully neutralised yet another enemy counterattack.
Never content, she always complains. “She always wants more,” Andonovski remarked. When will we be able to watch the video? was her very first question.
To paraphrase, “That’s what helps us improve.”