Ahead of a trip to New Zealand to open group play in the 2023 World Cup on July 21st, the USWNT said goodbye with a game against Wales in San Jose. The run up to the tournament has been bumpy with injuries and concerns about if rising talent would be up to the job of three-peating as World Cup champions. The team would have a chance to gel against an opponent who came in second in their World Cup qualifying group to France but failed to overcome Switzerland in the UEFA playoff to book a trip to the tournament.
The USA lined up in their customary 4-3-3 in a roster that is missing some names that will be sorely missed in New Zealand and Australia. With all the players missing the team might say “adfyd a ddwg wybodaeth, a gwybodaeth ddoethineb.”
For their part Wales set up in a 4-2-3-1 and saw that the USA didn’t put up a lineup graphic and raised it by not including numbers in their tweet.
GIFS OF... uh, there might be a bit of work to do
Through the first 20 minutes, the USA had 80% possession and managed two shots with one on target. Through the next 25 minutes the USA had just under 80% possession and managed six shots with none on target. That was the first half. There were some promising moments mostly on set pieces, but Wales managed to limit opportunities for the Red, White, and Blue dots in front of goal.
At the half Trinity Rodman came on for Alex Morgan and the USA kept up possession but the shots and chances on target weren’t any more plentiful. More subs followed in the 64th as Emily Fox, Alyssa Thompson, and Ashley Sanchez departed for Sofia Huerta, Lynn Williams, and Savannah DeMelo.
Near the 70th minute Andi Sullivan had a thumping header that was saved off of the line by a Welsh defender on a corner.
close for the USWNT— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 9, 2023
Watch USA vs. Wales on TNT pic.twitter.com/mNIyEJRXmf
The deadlock would finally be ended in the 76th minute as the USA finally found some space after winning the ball in midfield. Sophia Smith carried the ball upfield and drew the Wales defense in to open space for Trinity Rodman. The forward made no mistake with her shot and put the USA up 1-0.
Trinity Rodman: BREAKTHROUGH— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 9, 2023
Watch USA vs. Wales on TNT pic.twitter.com/kRTAMxcphK
There would be a bunch more subs as Sullivan and Alana Cook came off for Kristie Mewis and Emily Sonnett in the 79th minute.
The USA kept pressing for another score and it came when a flurry of shots were defended by Wales until Trinity Rodman dispossessed Wales at the top of the 18. She fired it in from way downtown to give herself a brace and make the game 2-0.
In the end, the USA controlled the ball and eventually found two late goals. Of course, it would be nice to see that possession come to a score before it’s 75/90ths over but winning speaks for itself.
Rodman’s brace was the highlight obviously, especially the second which she conjured largely on her own. Team goals are always nice, but when teams put 10 players behind the ball, the USWNT will need those individual moments of brilliance.