USWNT Looks for More Cohesion on Defense in Group Finale

By: Max O'Neill
Posted: July 26, 2021

After a convincing win over New Zealand, the USWNT will next take the pitch looking to book a spot in the knockout stages against Sam Kerr and Australia. The Americans and the Matildas sit with identical records, but the US holds the tiebreaker with a better goal differential.  A win or tie tomorrow will secure second place in the group and a trip to the knockout stages.  The teams will kick off from Kashima Stadium at 5:00 P.M. local time, 4:00 A.M. eastern. 

The last time these two teams played was in a friendly in April of 2019 when the US won 5-3 thanks to a big performance from Alex Morgan who opened the scoring with her 100th international goal in Denver. The last USA-Australia matchup in an  international tournament was the opening game of the 2015 World Cup,  which the USWNT won 3-1 thanks to a two-goal performance from Megan Rapinoe. Overall, the Americans hold a 26-1-3 record over their foes from down under, but the last three games have been far more even, splitting the trio 1-1-1.

For the second consecutive game the Americans will be facing a familiar face on the sidelines as Tony Gustavsson left the American camp in September of 2020 to take the head coaching job with the Aussies. Gustavsson was an assistant under Pia Sundhage in 2012 and then an assistant under Jill Ellis from 2015-2019, during which time he helped the team hoist the World Cup trophy in 2015 and 2019. The Americans will also be familiar with Aussie midfielder Chloe Logarzo, who plays her soccer for Kansas City in the NWSL. 

Key Player: 

Abby Dahlkemper: The backline has been an issue for the USWNT thus far in this tournament, having given up four goals in two games.  While it’s not all on Dahlkemper, she is the easiest to pick on at the moment, after her terrible turnover that resulted in the goal by New Zealand in the team’s last game. If the US is going to hold off the Australians they need a more composed and poised performance from their captain. 
Prediction: US wins 2-1, with goals by Carli Lloyd and Catarina Macario. 

For more soccer coverage from Venus Sports, click here, or check out Max’s writer page.

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