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2023 Women’s World Cup - USA 1-1 Netherlands: The Stars and Stripes grind out a hard fought draw

That was cagy and tricky and the USA have work to do to find their stride

USA v Vietnam: Group E - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023

Following a decent win against Vietnam, the USA faced a rematch from the 2019 World Cup final with the Netherlands. The first match showed that this team is not the same as the one from four years ago that crushed a World Cup minnow before a string of dominant performances leading to the lifting of the trophy.

That sentiment carried through in the second match of the group as the Netherlands seemed well suited to matchup with the Stars and Stripes. In the end the Dutch jumped ahead to an early lead and absorbed a lot of pressure from the USA while also staying on the front foot for much of the game. The Americans eventually equalized but this team will need to either find a way to be more effective in possession, better in front of goal or both.

The USA set up in its typical 4-3-3 with Julie Ertz once again starting at center back.

The Netherlands announced their lineup in English possibly as some sort of psyop and took the field in a 3-5-2 of sorts.

GIFS OF A HARD FOUGHT DRAW

In the first 15 minutes the teams began settling into the game but neither side created much danger or created problems for their opponents.

Then the Dutch charged forward, Crystal Dunn fell down and the backline never regained its shape giving Jill Roord a chance to take advantage of the chaos. The midfielder received a pass at the top of the box and sent a shot that found its way through traffic, past Alyssa Naeher and into the goal.

The stage was now set for the USA to find out if the problems it has had in possession to not only create but also finish chances would be a weakness that would be decisive.

After the goal, the USA didn’t have much of an answer for the Oranje who either held effective possession or was successful at keeping the American attack at bay. 10 minutes before the half a flurry of set pieces led to some chances for the USA but efforts by Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan weren’t on target.

The USA failed to make any adjustments and the Low Countries continued to dominate possession to the tune of 61% with the Stars and Stripes having a meager 71% passing in the half.

Sensing the need for change, Vlatko brought in Rose Lavelle for Savannah DeMelo hoping she would do literally anything to make the team more effective in the second half. The USA didn’t change much in terms of passing or possession but kept the Dutch from doing anything with their time on the ball.

Finally, an age old USWNT trademark goal came in the 62nd minute when Lindsey Horan charged through the box on a corner and headed a shot home.

Five minutes later it looked like the Stars and Stripes had a potential game winner when Alex Morgan fired home a shot, but she was ruled offside and the score stayed at 1-1.

The goal re-energized the Stars and Stripes. It did not exactly show up on the scoresheet, but they were finally looking dangerous in the attacking 1/3.

In the 82nd minute, Sofia Smith played Trinity Rodman through on goal and the forward sent a shot that was pushed just wide by keeper Daphne van Domselaar. The USA kept pressuring the Oranje goal as Smith nearly scored the go ahead goal on a corner.