Megan Rapinoe and Trinity Rodman stood together at the top of a staircase waiting to return to the field for some final cheers and fanfare before the Americans left for the Women’s World Cup Down Under.
US Soccer’s Old Guard and Young Guard are blending together. These women are still learning from each other and from each other. And USA coach Vlatko Andonovski is confident that the issues will be worked out over the next two weeks of training for the Americans to shine.
Rising star Rodman scored for the USA in the 76th minute and again in the 88th minute, and the Americans finally capitalized on their many attacking opportunities to beat Wales 2-0 on Sunday in a final Women’s World Cup set-up. .
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Several players are dealing with injuries, so Andonovski had to adjust his lineup.
«The changes were necessary and with those changes now we’re going to need maybe a couple more weeks until we get in sync,» Andonovski said. «We’re very confident where we are right now and we can see how good we’re going to look and when that happens, it’s going to look good.»
First, Rodman broke a goalless tie when he touched a pass from Sophia Smith and then shot again emphatically to give a glimpse of the American youth movement heading to the big stage in Australia and New Zealand.
Smith corralled a nice ball from Lynn Williams, who was substituted during the 64th minute, sent from the center circle and past her defender on the left side to find Rodman charging for the opening goal.
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Rodman, the much-touted 21-year-old forward, set up her own shot the next time around. She came on for Alex Morgan to start the second half called on by Andonovski to pick up the pace.
«This team does a really good job of setting a standard,» Rodman said of chants of «USA! USA!» one hour after the final whistle.
Rodman doubled his number of goals for the US to give him four in 18 games for the Americans, and even had another chance with a header in the 74th. less than two weeks from the first game of the World Cup, but the reinforcements brought some new energy.
Andonovski is mixing and matching lineups with veterans and untested new talent in the 23-woman World Cup roster with nine returnees from the 2019 World Cup champion team and 14 players making their debut on the world’s biggest stage.
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Alana Cook nearly found the net with a header on 68 minutes that Welsh striker Kayleigh Green headed wide near the post and Sofia Huerta had a good look on 73 minutes.
Alyssa Thompson missed from outside the penalty area in the 61st minute, making it a game of missed opportunities on a perfect afternoon in the Bay Area for the sold-out friendly match that had its share of physical moments and hard hitting. .
A struggling Wales team struggled on their defensive end to limit the Americans’ chances to look openly at the net, but the US had ample opportunity to work on various set pieces throughout the game. The Welsh didn’t get their first shot until the 74th minute from an attempt by Hannah Cain.
Wales defender Lily Woodham came out briefly and was examined by medical staff after a head-to-head clash with Alyssa Thompson in the 23rd minute gave Woodham an immediate inflammation of his right eye. And forward Carrie Jones was hit in the head with a shoe just before the halftime whistle.
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A day after Rapinoe announced she will retire after her fourth World Cup and end the Women’s National Soccer League season with OL Reign, the 38-year-old forward did not take the field as a precaution due to a hamstring injury. calf. last month she received huge applause when she stepped out for warmups and ran back down the tunnel after performing her pregame routine.
«One thing that people know about P is that it’s hard to tell how old he is because he fits so well with everyone on the team,» defensive leader Crystal Dunn said. “And that’s the kind of experience and leadership that we have on this team, we want to stay connected with the young people, they’re always teaching us new things, these new TikToks that are out there. We are trying to stay young. and modern and I think it’s important that as a team we are a unit».
Rapinoe will have to wait for the World Cup to make her 200th national team appearance during a 17-year career with the Americans, becoming the 14th American player to reach the mark.
Rapinoe made her debut at the 2011 World Cup in Germany and also played in 2015 in Canada and France four years ago. She and the Americans look for a third straight title when the Women’s World Cup kicks off on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.
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Instead of seeing Rapinoe, home fans in a sellout crowd of 18,000 got their first chance to see Rodman at PayPal Park, home of the MLS San Jose Earthquakes.
Midfielder Savannah DeMelo entered midway through the second half for her first career appearance for the Americans, who are 8-0-0 this year and outscore their opponents 19-1.
The United States will begin the group stage in Pool E against Vietnam on July 22 at Auckland’s Eden Park. The Americans face 2019 runner-up Netherlands in the second match on July 26 and then Portugal on August 1.