Starting XI: Angelina Anderson, Talia Dellaperuta, Michela Agresti, Natalia Staude, Makenna Morris, Sophia Jones, Mia Fishel, Hannah Bebar, Trinity Rodman, Isabella D’Aquila, Jordan Canniff
U17 US women’s national team head coach Mark Carr rotated his roster a bit for the third game of Group C play in the U17 Women’s World Cup. Out were key forwards Sunshine Fontes and Payton Linnehan, as well as Trinity Byars, Maya Doms, and Smith Hunter. Carr instead chose to play a front line of Cannif - D’Aquila - Rodman, with Bebar and Fishel feeding them.
It seemed like it might work for the first 30 minutes or so of the game, an early goal from Germany notwithstanding. Yes, Germany scored a goal in the 4’ as Agresti’s clumsly tackle gave away a free kick just outside the box. Germany’s Fudalla scored with a nicely curved ball over the wall, but the US still looked like they were in it, and in fact started generating handfuls of chances in front of goal as they pressed Germany back and looked to slip in their forwards. The US got behind the Germany defense several times and had a golden chance in the 8’ when D’Aquila’s cross found a wide-open Rodman on the right, but Rodman’s point-blank shot was saved.
The US kept up their aggressive tempo - much more aggressive compared to their last game against North Korea - and created another beautiful chance in the 14’ when Bebar dropped a really nice ball between defenders, but D’Aquila’s shot came up against a nice footsave from German GK Willebrandt, who had herself quite a day in net.
Still, the US pressed on, and a free kick in the 18’ saw a very nice ball from Fishel pick up a slashing run from Canniff, but Canniff’s shot hit off the post. Canniff was working hard trying to run onto balls or push into scoring position but she was not on target.
Germany struck again in the 32’ when the aggressive American press left them vulnerable to a ball in behind. Germany played it in and Martinez scored to make it 2-0, which seemed to take a bit of wind out of the US’ sails. The US kept trying to drop balls into the box to find a finisher, but there were no finishes to be found. They almost pulled it back within one in the first minute of stoppage as D’Aquila was able to pounce on an errant corner kick, but her poke-in was waved off and the US had to hustle to get back into defensive shape. The half ended at 2-0.
There were no subs to start the second half. Fishel had another chance in the 49’, getting picked out in the box with her back to goal. She had a nice turn and strike under a lot of pressure but the ball floated wide of the post.
Dellaperuta picked up her first yellow card of the match in the 52’; her aggressive style, not just in pushing high to try and pin Germany back, but her challenges on players whenever she had to drop to recover, ended up biting her in the back in the end. The US also made their first sub in the 54’, with Sunshine Fontes coming in for D’Aquila.
The US weren’t quite as aggressive as in the first half although they were still trying to apply a lot of pressure to Germany. That pressure didn’t equate to possession, just harrying Germany off the ball, managing a few passes, and then having to pressure Germany again as they retook control. Dellaperuta gave up a penalty in the 64’ when her jockeying took a player down inside the box, although Anderson made a solid save on a mediocre penalty take. Unfortunately, Germany immediately got back in the game and scored in the 65’ when they once again slipped the ball into space behind the defense and Martinez beat the defenders and scored to make it 3-0.
The US tried to respond with a sub in the 66’ as Maya Doms came on for Fishel. Doms also tried to help press them high, sometimes coming forward to put numbers in the box, but between the lack of connection, some bad one-on-ones, and the lack of finishing, there was no threat to Germany. Payton Linnehan also came on in the 68’ to replace Canniff, pushing Rodman to the left side of the field. The shots also kept coming, but they met two enemies of strikers of everywhere in the crossbar and the post.
Then another mishap in the 82’ with Dellaperuta getting caught giving a massive jersey tug. She received her second yellow and was sent off, leaving the US with 10 for the last 10 minutes or so. Jones dropped back more and Staude shifted right so that the US could continue to play with four in the back, and to their credit the US continued trying to push forward. But Germany was too good at exploiting the space behind the defense and now with a makeshift back line, they once again exploited space and scored a fourth in the 89’. In the end, the United States combined for 26 shots with five shots on goal, while Germany had 13 shots and seven on goal. The United States had eight corners while Germany had one and possession was 56-44 in favor of the US.
With this loss to Germany, the US was knocked out of the U17 Women’s World Cup. Mark Carr should be headed home to answer questions about his tactics, the player fatigue he cited in rotating his lineup so much for the third game, the team’s inability to calmly build possession or adjust their tactics mid-game, the lack of finishing, and a generally listless performance that couldn’t be saved by this late-round burst of energy. He should. If he actually will be made to answer questions about this performance and deal with the fallout is anyone’s guess.