Mexico v USWNT

Matches versus Mexico may have seemed like a rivalry in name only to those who weren’t following along during the 2011 World Cup qualifying season, in which the United States fell to Mexico in the CONCACAF semifinals before Alex Morgan eventually advanced the team in a playoff series against Italy.

Since that 2010 match, the U.S. women’s national team had not lost at home against any CONCACAF opponent and had not lost against Mexico since 2000. That narrative was thrown out the window on Monday night.

While it didn’t quite reach the low of that 0-0 draw against Portugal in the World Cup group stage last summer, the USWNT’s final Gold Cup group stage match was (hopefully) a helpful reminder that the team hasn’t yet found their new, cohesive identity. The team was outplayed in a 2-0 loss in front of a boisterous crowd in Carson, California.

Mexico did a fantastic job on Monday night in all the important areas, and they should be commended wholeheartedly. Conversely, the USWNT fell short in a lot of those domains.

As demonstrated by the defeats to France in friendlies at the beginning of 2015 and 2019, both of which were followed by World Cup victories, this setback can be advantageous when handled properly. But for this American team, that has been the lesson learned for some time. The players and coaching staff have to either step up or stay silent at some point.

From these games, what was the American leadership hoping to achieve? It was Monday night, with plenty of raw talent on the pitch and the squad trailing 1-0 to Mexico at halftime, that was the perfect opportunity to allow the young players on the team to use their problem-solving skills. Give them a test. Destroy them if necessary! After the break, Morgan, a 217-cap player, turned 34, took over. That provides no current information about this team to Emma Hayes, the new head coach, or interim head coach Twila Kilgore.

The USWNT no longer carries the same mystique, and the rest of the globe is only becoming more advanced. The team’s reputation and mentality served as both a weapon and a shield for the players, providing them with insight into both themselves and the other teams they faced. They have lost something more symbolic, as well as a weapon without it.

As absurd as it may sound, given that the United States is still ranked No. 2 in the world by FIFA, the play may be to lean toward an antiquated underdog mindset. The USWNT’s lack of happiness since those odd Olympics in Tokyo has been well covered, but less attention has been paid to the possibility that fury might be used to replace happiness.

There is a generational transition occurring, so younger players who are desperate for attention and accomplishments should seize any emotional edge they can.

But they have to enter the field first.

Recall that the USWNT is holding its first camp of the year at the Gold Cup and that for a significant portion of the team that plays in the NWSL domestically, it is still preseason.

In addition to the significant personnel rotation throughout the group stage, that provides at least a helpful background for the cohesiveness problems that beset the USWNT on Monday.

By admin