Published: March 19, 2010
Ten observations from the U.S. U17 Women’s National Team semifinal game against Canada at the CONCACAF U17 Championships. This one was a heartbreaker, with the U.S. losing to Canada 5-3 in penalties and missing out on a chance to go to the U17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.
- The U.S. came out strong and focused, dominating possession for much of the game. Forward Taylor Smith created some chances, one off of a great step-over as she broke into the open field in the 17th minute. But Canada’s bend-but-don’t-break defensive mentality seemed to frustrate the Americans, and their passing on offense was sloppier than we’re accustomed to seeing. They just couldn’t make that last pass in the final third of the field.
Taylor SmithMidfielder Morgan Brian had some nifty moves to keep possession of the ball in the midfield. She used good body positioning to win the ball and distribute the ball to open teammates on the attack.
- Canada’s players were strong and athletic, and consistently beat the Americans to 50/50 balls. U.S.A. was better possessing the ball, though, and it was a shame they weren’t able to finish more of their opportunities.
- Goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin had several nice saves in the first half, but she also let a few balls bounce around dangerously in the box, and hesitated to come off her line. She appeared to learn from her mistakes, though, and was much better and more decisive in the second half.
- It was nice to see the U.S. use their speed advantage on the wings to swing in some crosses in the second half. In the 65th minute, Jaelene Hinkle sent in a curling beauty from the left side, but Morgan Brian failed to connect on a header.
- Lindsey Horan showed some flashes of the form that netted her four goals earlier in the tournament against Haiti, but she struggled to put her mark on this game. That could be because Canada blanketed her with three defenders every time she touched the ball, but regardless, this was not her best game. Taylor Smith provided the biggest offensive threat for the U.S., and even she could not find the goal.
- Kaysie Clark looked dynamic and extremely fast attacking from the midfield.
- Canada appeared content to let this game slide into extra time. They started playing kick-ball around the 80th minute just to clear the ball out of their own half.
- The Americans’ body language toward the end of this game was abysmal. They were clearly frustrated by their inability to break down the Canadian defense in the final third of the field, despite creating numerous opportunities to score.
- This game had a fitting ending. The U.S. had a chance to earn a berth in the U17 Women’s World Cup within their grasp. They needed to close it out in penalty kicks, but they were unable to finish the job and score when they needed to. Just as they had all day.