It was a battle between the first and second ranked teams in the world today as the USWNT faced Germany in Offenbach in an international friendly. The game ended in a 3-3 draw, seeing Abby Wambach scoring her 155th career goal. A rocketing volley from Megan Rapinoe and an excellent chip from Alex Morgan saw them both joining Abby upon the scoreboard.
Kim Kulig scored first for the Germans after a mix up within the American defence. Celia Okoyino da Mbabi and Anja Mittag scored within a minute of each other to lock the game at 3-3 in front of a boisterous German crowd of 16,000
Influential crowd and atmosphere
The Germans know how to party and their home crowd of 16,090 put on fantastic display. Especially during the first half, the German team really used their energetic home side to their advantage as they dominated the possession stats for the first half an hour of the game. Even as the USWNT quickly turned things around in the second half, there was no negating their fans were sticking til the death.
The Bundesliga effect
There is no denying that one of Germany’s secret to their success is their tight knit team bonds. This is a result of their fantastic women’s professional league. Their national team is highly saturated with players from both FFC Frankfurt and Vfl Wolfsburg who are two high prolific teams within Germany and out. Due to exceptional talent within these two teams, it gives the Germans the opportunity to frequently work and play together and against each other.
This gives the German team the ability to anticipate each other and grow stronger as a team, demonstrated repeatedly at times within this match.
Earth to Germany
The German national team are known for their dominance in possession but, although demonstrated this trait strongly in the first half, somewhat slipped in the second half. In previous matches against the Americans, Germany has outweighed the statistics, overpowering the Americans in both possession and shots on goal. However strong their dominance is though, they struggled to beat the Americans in their previous three games over the past six months.
In this particular match however, Germany almost fell asleep simultaneously with the referee’s signal of the beginning of the second half and woke up with the referee’s whistle for their penalty.
This spark of energy ignited their third goal of the match as the game ended in a 3-3 draw.
Germany should have done “Boxercise”
Boxercise is a popular exercise regime recently brought in by the USWNT. It is a fitness program designed to keeps players heart rates up and to develop somewhat “jaunty” personality traits. Germany’s defence especially, lacked the ability to forcibly stop the USWNT’s attack, Megan Rapinoe particularly.
If one player on the German team did show a feisty spirit, it was their goal keeper Nadine Angerer. The aggressive goal keeper was not holding back her anger towards not only her own team but also to the visitors as the goals continued to pile up.
The home crowd were backing her up before Alex Morgan seemed to quieten them down with not only her goal, but her sassy goal celebration.
No Heath, No Krieger, No O’Hara…No thank you
Despite this match being a friendly, there is no denying both teams were hungry for a win, especially after the Algarve Cup. When the starting line-up for the USWNT was announced, many eyebrows were raised questioning why Tom Sermanni would leave such influential players like Tobin Heath, Kelley O’Hara and Ali Krieger out.
Considering Ali played with and against the majority of the German side during her 5 year stint with FFC Frankfurt, many were considering her as a number one candidate, but not Tom Sermanni.
Although Tobin was eventually subbed in to the game, her absence was noted as her ball handling ability in the wide open flanks was duly missed along with Kelley O’Hara’s dominance in defence.
Absence of Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo
Other duly noted absentees were Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo. Carli Lloyd’s effectiveness in midfield would not have gone astray during periods of time within the game where the away side were lacking movement and fluidness between their defence and attack. Although Lauren Cheney was doing a brilliant job of keeping the US’s movement flowing, Carli’s hard edge and prevailing stride would have kick-started the USWNT earlier on within the game.
Nicole Barnhart has proved herself a worthy candidate as Hope Solo receives treatment for her wrist but Barnhart’s lack of experience within herself and her back four proved to be tricky and the Germans sensed this uneasy imbalance throughout the match as they confidently pursued at goal.
Especially during the incident of Germany’s first and third goals, communication seemed to be non-existent as the Germans rolled the ball into the net. Hope Solo’s overriding goal keeping personality would have taken care of these issues in place and perhaps prevented the goals.
The defence had a lot to do with the goals, but a leading goal keeper should be keeping their defence in place.
Pinoe for President
Megan Rapinoe absolutely outshone her German opponents today between her sassy nutmegs and, ultimately, the goal of the game. Along with Lauren Cheney, Megan Rapinoe captivated audiences with her brilliant style of play and her attacking dominance. Not only did she score, but also assisted in Abby Wambach’s 155th goal.
A big talking point was her goal in the 56th minute, assisted by an airborne Abby Wambach. Megan Rapinoe’s first touch volley was sent like a bullet towards goal, doubling the USA’s lead to 2-0.
Tom Sermanni loves switching the team and integrating the young stars in with the national team and this game seemed to be the perfect time to test their ability to work together against a world class team. Crystal Dunn was the star, despite a couple of unlucky touches and decisions. She was quick, feisty and gutsy against Germany, traits not a lot of player would exhibit against such a well notched team.
Despite her inauspicious positions within two of Germany’s goal, Dunn looks promising as a future leader as numerous times throughout the game she outperformed some her striking German adversaries. Kristie Mewis, however, wasn’t as successful during the game and this was the result of an off putting position Tom Sermanni put her in.
Mewis is naturally a central player but Sermanni’s left-back choosing did not suit her at all, causing for some disruption.
Now, who could not pass up Abby Wambach’s goal? Scoring her 155th career goal, this now sits Abby 3 goals behind Mia Hamm’s all time record of 158. Although the USWNT didn’t attain the desired win, the striker will definitely make amendments next game where a hat trick or more could see her make history.
- Fun fact: The USWNT has won 99 games so far where AbbyWambach has scored. A win today would have been a nice centennial anniversary present for US Soccer.
The USA now heads to The Hague to meet the Netherlands on April 9.
USA – (47′) Abby Wambach (Megan Rapinoe)
USA – (55′) Megan Rapinoe (Abby Wambach)
GER – (63′) Kim Kulig
USA – (71′) Alex Morgan (Lauren Cheney)
GER – (85′) Celia Okoyino da Mbabi (pen)
GER – (86′) Anja Mittag
USA : 18-Nicole Barnhart; 6-Crystal Dunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 14-Whitney Engen, 8-Kristie Mewis; 9-Heather O’Reilly (17-Tobin Heath, 77), 7-Shannon Boxx, 12-Lauren Cheney, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach (2-Sydney Leroux, 80)
Substitutions Not Used: 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 11-Ali Krieger, 16-Yael Averbuch, 19-Rachel Buehler, 21-Adrianna Franch, 22-Meghan Klingenberg, 23-Christen Press, 24-Ashlyn Harris, 25-Julie Johnston
Head coach: Tom Sermanni
GER: 1-Nadine Angerer (capt.); 25-Leonie Maier 3-Saskia Bartusiak, 22-Luisa Wensing, 4-Babett Peter (2-Bianca Schmidt, 57); 10-Linda Bresonik (11-Anja Mittag, 60), 8-Kim Kulig, 26-Nadine Keßler, 7-Melanie Behringer (15-Verena Faißt, 46); 13-Celia Okoyino da Mbabi, 14-Dzsenifer Marozsan (9-Alexandra Popp, 88).
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Almuth Schult, , 18-Svenja Huth, 21-Kathrin Langert, 23-Josephine Henning, 27-Jennifer Cramer, 28-Tabea Kemme
Head coach: Silvia Neid
Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots on Goal: 7/4
Corner Kicks: 5/5
USA – Shannon Boxx (caution) 50th minute
USA – Christie Rampone (caution) 84
Referee: Christina Pederson (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Katrin Rafalski (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Imke Lohmeier (GER)
Written by Siobhan Pedroza
Follow Siobhan on Twitter @briefcase_wanka
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