The U.S. women are coming off a pair of matches in Europe where they split the results, falling to France, 3-0, Feb. 8 while coming back against England five days later for a 1-0 win.
USA Lineup: Hope Solo, Lori Chalupny, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Ali Krieger, Christen Press, Lauren Holiday, Morgan Brian, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach
10′ – Both the U.S. and Norway have had a good chance in the opening minutes but neither side has been able to capitalize on the other’s mistake. For Norway, it was a miscue by Hope Solo, who makes her first appearance for the U.S. women since December. Ali Krieger was there to clear the ball away.
Carli Lloyd had a half chance off of a giveaway just outside the box but her low shot was deflected out for a corner.
Lineup notes: Christie Rampone is still not 100% and Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg are also nursing knocks. Julie Johnston’s start is a huge opportunity for Ellis to get a look at her.
20′ – Lots of play in the middle third of the field for both sides (though much more possession for the U.S.) but very little by way of dangerous attacking chances.
Norway has looked dangerous when getting on the counterattack and are going after the long ball.
33′ – After a (relatively) quiet opening half hour, the U.S. surges into the attack with a Holiday corner driven on goal and a follow-up shot from Press slamming off the post. Two golden chances for the U.S. to take the lead, but it’s (still) scoreless.
We’ve seen far more attacking out of the outside backs today than we have in the past two matches. Could the U.S. have found the starting outside backs?
41′ – The U.S. is looking for Lloyd and Wambach on the corner kicks and set plays and Norway knows it (as will most opponents). Neither of them has been able to connect on a set piece so it may be worth trying someone different as a
43′ – GOAL – NORWAY- Norway breaks down the right side and puts a cross into the U.S. box that Ada Hegerberg finishes past Solo. She got a hand on it but wasn’t able to keep it out.
HALFTIME: USA – 0, NORWAY – 1
After dominating play early on, the U.S. women concede the opening goal just minutes before the halftime break. Aside from the Holiday corner/Press shot off the post, the U.S. women really have not created anything incredibly dangerous. Some half-chances gone awry, but they will need to continue creating and start finishing to bring it back.
Tony DiCicco hit on this point at halftime in the studio: The U.S. does not play with a holding midfielder. While Morgan Brian has slid into that role of late, it isn’t the role she’s used to playing. Julie Johnston would usually be a go-to option for Ellis but hasn’t seemed to be able to get on the field for consistent minutes. She’s slotting in for Christie Rampone and Whitney Engen today so she isn’t an option as a d-mid. Shannon Boxx was on this roster but hasn’t suited up for the U.S. in two years.
Should the U.S. go back to playing with a true defensive holding midfielder?
55′ – Lots going on to open this half – Morgan with a golden chance that she shoots straight at the keeper, a big save from Solo on the other end and then a beauty of a goal from Carli Lloyd with a laser left-footed shot. 1-1 with a half hour to play.
63′ – GOAL – USA – Christen Press draws a penalty kick after smashing a shot off a Norwegian defender’s arm and Lloyd puts her PK just under the bar. USA 2, Norway 1, 65′
76′ – Krieger went down and held her knee a few moments ago but has stayed on the field. Scary moments for U.S. fans on that one.
79′ – Leroux and Heath on for Press and Morgan. We may, at some point, see Press-Leroux-Morgan up top. At some point. I’m incredibly curious as to why we’re seeing no Heather O’Reilly. It seems that she may either be having her role redefined or has a nagging injury or has fallen out of favor.
88′ – Norway hasn’t really been pressing much, even through the latter stages of the match.
FINAL: USA 2, Norway 1. The U.S. takes this one behind a pair of goals from Carli Lloyd. Good showing for the U.S. and definitely better than France and England, though to be fair, Norway didn’t look like as strong a team as either of those opponents.