2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: Five reasons why Team USA will not defend the title
The United States are the favorite to win the tournament, but this team is not perfect
The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France began last week, and the United States women's national team, the defending champions, is widely considered the overwhelming favorite. It returns 12 players from that 2015 title-winning team, including the trio of Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. Here's a complete look at the 23-player squad. But does this team have enough to take home the trophy this time around? Here are five reasons the United States may fall short this time around. For a look at five reasons why they will repeat, .
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1. They are lacking experience in goal
Alyssa Naeher built herself a very solid resume. She has 45 appearances for the USWNT and has recorded a clean sheet in 24 of those matches. She has also been named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, but what she doesn't have is any World Cup experience. She was the backup to Hope Solo in 2015, but did not get on the field during the tournament. There are high expectations for Naeher after Solo winning the best goalkeeper of the tournament in 2011 and 2015.
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2. The level of competition is getting tougher
The Americans picked up seven wins in 10 games this calendar year, with the lone loss coming against France in Le Havre. They may be best team on paper coming into the tournament, but that does not mean there is a lot of competition. Germany, England, Japan and France, the hosts, all play a very high-quality level of soccer and can be a huge challenge for the U.S. There is a chance that the U.S. can meet Germany as early as the round of 16. If the United States win Group F and Germany comes in second place in Group B, that would be the matchup.
3. The midfield is too young
The United States will likely start the trio of Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis or Lindsey Horan in the midfield. Ertz has experience from the 2015 tournament, but this will be the first World Cup for Lavelle, Mewis and Horan. Lavelle has the third least caps on the team for field players, only appearing for the Red, White and Blue 27 times.
4. Too much depth can cause substitutions problems
The United States have so many weapons on the attacking end. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath will likely be the starters, with Carli Lloyd, Mallory Pugh and Christen Press available on the bench. All of these players are capable of changing the trajectory of the game when they are on the field, but odds are all six of these players will not be playing in every match. Coach Jill Scott will have to make the right decisions on who to substitute in based on the matchups and feel of the game.
5. They're not used to facing adversity
This team is playing phenomenal soccer right now. In its last four friendlies, the U.S. have outscored its opponents 17-0. The U.S. have been so dominant, it is tough to say if this team has what it takes when chaos hits on the biggest stage in the world. They should easily advance to the knockout stage, but it remains to be seen if they run into any issues in win-or-go-home scenarios.
You can stream the entire Women's World Cup via fuboTV (Try for free).
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Carli Lloyd takes over at the top for the U.S.
The United States women's national team is the No. 1 ranked team in the world by FIFA
Who will be crowned champions this summer in France?
The FIFA Women's World Cup in France began on Friday, June 7 in Paris