New York Times/Reuters
Any offensive questions that the US Women’s National Soccer Team had coming into the World Cup were quickly answered against Thailand. Goal after goal entered the net, totaling 13 and setting a FIFA Women’s World Cup record. The USWNT followed up their record-setting performance against Thailand with a 3-0 win against Chile, although the match never felt that close. In the first three halves of World Cup play, the US scored 16 goals. Alex Morgan leads the team with five goals, all against Thailand, while Carli Lloyd has three. With the pair of wins, the United States will move on to the knockout stage, remaining perfect in advancing out of the group stage in World Cup play.
What stands out is how dominating the team has looked during their first two games. Sure, neither I or anyone else who pays any attention to soccer expected these games to be close, but the US has looked even more dominating than I expected. The Chile scoreline doesn’t even justify the purely one-sided nature of the match, as the US could have easily put up 7-8 goals. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Tobin Heath all did not play against Chile, and Carli Lloyd casually stepped in and scored two first-half goals. The offensive attack has been quick and relentless and the overall team structure and formation on the pitch and has allowed for tons of possession.
I am hoping the match against Sweden will give the US a test before the knockout stage begins. With all the time spent on the offensive attack, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has hardly been tested in this World Cup. It would be good for Naeher to see a couple of quality chances in an ultimately meaningless game (Sweden has advanced to the knockout round as well).
With how dominating the US has looked in the first two games, I would expect yet another deep run in the tournament, if not another World Cup title. My only concern is how the team will adjust to much tougher opponents, which makes the upcoming matchup against Sweden a good test. Only time (and games) will tell how far the talent and depth on the roster can carry the US.