After Ireland proved to be a tough matchup for the USA, the teams met again on Tuesday night in St. Louis. It would be a game that lacked punch, let’s say. The Americans had a difficult time creating chances and Ireland did plenty to make things difficult defensively and push forward to create something of their own. In the end, a goal from Alana Cook would be the difference for the USA in a 1-0 win.
The USA lined up in their usual 4-3-3 with quite a few changes from the first match between the teams. Of note, Becky Sauerbrunn got her 200th cap in her hometown. With Mal Swanson out after being injured over the weekend, Alyssa Thompson got a shot at forward as her replacement.
Ireland made just three changes and once again set up in a three center back formation that, as in the last game, made things difficult for the forwards of the USA and clogged up the midfield.
GIFS OF... a pretty good goal but not much excitement
The first half of the second game looked a lot like the first half of the preceding match with Ireland staying organized but putting pressure on the Americans and taking their turns in possession to create trouble for the USA backline.
Still, it looked eerily familiar to the game in Austin with the USA looking like their were either off by a beat, lacking cohesiveness, and having a difficult time in the attacking third. The team did create a good chance and Sauerbrunn nearly found a goal in the 3rd minute.
The USA captain would come off near the 30 minute mark to get an ovation from her hometown crowd and manage her minutes on short rest with Tierna Davidson replacing her.
Despite the differences in personnel and time to make adjustments, the USWNT looked as if they hadn’t made any chances in their approach to the match. Ireland was hanging with the Americans despite a gap in talent in a trend that has emerged under Vlatko Andonovski.
A bad give away in their defensive third by Ireland gave Sophia Smith a big chance, but her shot was badly hit over the bar. The USA found a breakthrough in the 44th minute when Alanna Cook chipped Courtney Brosnan.
Birthday goals >>>>>>> pic.twitter.com/dAyEyG2CnZ— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) April 12, 2023
The goal gave the USA a 1-0 lead and that’s how the teams would head to the locker-rooms for the half.
There would be four changes to start the second 45 with Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara, Sophia Smith, and Andi Sullivan coming off for Ashley Hatch, Casey Krueger, Trinity Rodman, and Julie Ertz. They’d be followed in the 60th by Lindsey Horan who came off after going down with an apparent injury for Kristie Mewis.
As the team gears up for the World Cup, the second half certainly looked like Vlatko was trying to get a look at some players that are typically on the periphery of the team. The lack of cohesion and chances was again a feature of the half and there wasn’t much to be excited about as the final whistle blew.