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May 18, 2011

WNT vs. Japan: Recap, Ratings, and Stats

This was my first WNT game to watch since 1999 and it was good to see that the team decided to stay clothed after a goal. Oh and that they dominated in the game too.

The women set the tone early with physical and fast play to negate any attack Japan attempted. This opened up for several counters in the WNT's numerical favor. They maintained possession in the attacking third and had more than their fair share of opportunities as the fourth ranked team in the world was simply overpowered by USA's size and speed. Goalkeeper Hope Solo had little action and the times she did she handled appropriately. Up top, the women targeted Abby Wambach the most but it was Amy Rodriguez (28') and Heather O’Reilly (69') that put USA on the board.

The women have one more tune up game against Mexico before the start of the World Cup in late June. The team looks to be running on all cylinders despite suffering recent injuries.

Player Ratings

Megan Rapinoe - (12...10/2) - Great service on set pieces despite announcer and WNT alumni Julie Foudy's wishes of higher balls. The occasional low, hard pass (when on target) was handled well by her teammates and still provided chances in the box. Rapinoe ran up and down the field for 83 minutes and was in nearly every attacking play.

Heather O’Reilly - (10...8.5/1.5) - Key in both scoring plays. She had a great move that set up the pass to Rodriguez on the first goal and found the corner of the net for the second. Willing to be creative but not force unnecessary plays.

Carli Lloyd - (9.5...7.5/2) - Lloyd was on the same page with substitute Alex Morgan and kept the attack alive after Rodriguez was replaced by Morgan. Great vision to set up some dangerous chances.

Shannon Boxx - (8.5...5/3.5) - Briana Scurry said Boxx was without a doubt the player of the game but I'd have to disagree. Boxx provided great offensive support but defense and fitness were both lacking. She only played 60 minutes and her biggest praise of the night would be in reference to the second assist on the first goal. Boxx did a great job of switching the point of attack then (as well as several other times throughout the night) but O'Reilly deserves more credit for making the goal happen.

Rachel Buehler - (8...6.5/1.5) - The captain did a great job at the back and had no trouble with the Japanese attackers.

Abby Wamback - (8...5.5/2.5) - Like stated before, the offense tried and tried to get her a goal but she couldn't put one in the back of the net, and only because of her own doing. Tonight she fell somewhere between unlucky and poor finishing. Although there should be nothing to fret about as her previous performance against Japan was extraordinary. She'll be fine come June.

Becky Sauerbrunn - (7.5...4.5/3) - I'm a little worried of this CB with her aggressiveness. Tonight she won several tackles but other times if the WNT was playing a faster team, she would have made the wrong step to a challenge and provide an unbalanced three man defense.

Ali Krieger - (6.5...5.5/1) - The right back saw the least amount of action of the defense but performed in excellent demeanor.

Amy Rodriguez - (6...4.5/2) - Took the credit on the first goal with great positioning and patience but was MIA for too long in the game. Only played 60 minutes but she could have been used a lot more.

Alex Morgan - (6...4/2) - Possibly the WNT version of Juan Agudelo. Her speed and smart runs gave her the same (if not more) amount of chances to score as Rodriguez did in only half the time. Electrifying and gave life to the offense around the time where most teams settle down.

Stephanie Cox - (5.5...3/2.5) - Positioning is worrisome as she seemed too high at times when on defense. Got away with it tonight but several balls were dropped in over her towards the corner.

Amy LePeilbet - (5.5...5/0.5) - Played with confidence with the ball at her feet. Less offensive minded than Cox but as Foudy pointed out she is more of a center back as opposed to her playing out on the right side.

Hope Solo - (4...4/0) - Flawless play with the limited action she saw. Nice to get a shutout, either way.

Lori Lindsey - (1.5...1/.5) - Hates animal cruelty.

Lauren Cheney - (0.5...0.5/0) - Has several socks.

Tobin Heath - (0.5...0.5/0) - Great hygiene.

Game Stats

Subjective Points Graphs

First Half

USA - 45.33
Japan - 18.17 

Second Half

USA - 83.00
Japan - 19.50 

Full Game

USA - 128.33
Japan - 37.67

Momentum Graphs

 First Half Dominance
USA - 43
Japan - 5
None - 62

GG Rating - 40/100

 Second Half Dominance
USA - 69
Japan - 2
None - 34

GG Rating - 73/100

Full Game Dominance
USA - 56
Japan - 4
None - 40

GG Rating - 57/100


***Example Category***
Team - Chances...Threat Rate/100 
Team - Chances...Threat Rate/100

First Half
 USA - 31...18.7
Japan - 18...12.2

USA - 34...22.1
Japan - 25...14.0

USA - 8...33.7
Japan - 4...25.0

Second Half
 USA - 54...20.7
Japan - 19...13.2

USA - 50...21.8
Japan - 20...14.5

USA - 10...55.0
Japan - 6...20.0

USA - 85...19.9
Japan - 37...12.7

USA - 84...21.9
Japan - 45...14.2

USA - 18...45.6
Japan - 10...22.0


The WNT more than dominated the fourth best team in the world even without their leading scored at her best. The revenge game against Mexico will be interesting to watch and their expectations at the World Cup are nothing less than first, even though they're in Germany.

Side Notes
Perhaps the pending rapture sparked two comments of "biblical proportions" from the studio commentators...  

Foudy relentlessly critiqued the Japanese side with comments like, "We'd say the [Asian teams] can't hang with us mentally and physically. Pound them in the second half."...

Pia Sundhage upped her record with the WNT to 63-4-5...

Ian Drake is one of the worst announcers ever...



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