The United States Women’s National Team have completed the group stage at the Concacaf W Championship and have secured a place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, and next up is a date with Costa Rica tomorrow night in the semifinals. The USWNT have not played particularly well despite going undefeated in the group stage without conceding a goal, but now they focus on getting to the final, where they will get a chance to go for the automatic spot in the 2024 Olympics.
Standing in their way is Costa Rica, who played pretty well in the group stage, qualifying 2nd in Group B. The loss to Canada on Monday was their only blemish in group play. They have been defensively sound, and they have a couple of players that can change a game for Las Ticas. The USWNT will need to begin to play the type of soccer that they’re capable of playing in order to pass this test and move onto the final.
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
FORWARDS (6): Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC)
What To Watch For
Vlatko needs to pick his starters. It’s high time for USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski to decide what his best lineup is and go with it. The time for experimenting with lineups is over, and you go with the players you trust in the formation that best gives them a chance to succeed.
The midfield needs to be creative. The USWNT were missing some creativity in the first half, and it showed in how stagnant the attack felt. After making subs in the 2nd half, the creativity level increased tremendously, particularly on the flanks. The USWNT needs to have that creative midfield lineup out there from the stop, and it would help if Emily Fox is able to clear COVID protocols and be healthy enough to return to the lineup.
Play sharp. This match is super important, and the USWNT cannot give Costa Rica any chances to take advantage. The team has not played sharp throughout this tournament, and that sharp, mistake free soccer needs to return tomorrow night.
There is still some struggle as Costa Rica does their best to keep themselves in it. Two late goals give the USWNT a 2-0 victory and a trip to the final.