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USA vs. Portugal: USWNT Advances Despite Subpar Performance

USWNT narrowly avoids first-round exit with scoreless draw against Portugal. Coach Andonovski's decisions and lack of execution plagued the team.

In Tuesday's match, the USWNT faced their worst performance yet, narrowly avoiding a humiliating and historic first-round exit. The team struggled to execute, with some of their biggest stars failing to deliver. Coach Vlatko Andonovski has faced criticism for his personnel and tactical decisions, and rightfully so. The U.S. had numerous opportunities to take advantage of their advantages but consistently fell short. Their touches were too heavy, passes were either too long or too short, and their speed of thought was lacking. This was evident in their matches against the Netherlands and Portugal, where they failed to capitalize on transition moments with precision. Even when they were able to create shots, they were off target or too weak to trouble the opposing goalkeeper.

The turning point in the match came when the U.S. came out on the front foot at Eden Park but failed to make an impact. Despite their individual talent, they did not play like a cohesive team. Their scoring opportunities were limited to half-chances, with missed flicks and easily saved shots. On the other hand, Portugal grew in confidence as the U.S. made one unforced error after another. Although Portugal failed to convert their chances, they served as a warning to the U.S. that it was going to be a challenging match.

One key statistic that highlights the U.S.'s struggles is their low possession rate of only 44% throughout the game. While they didn't necessarily need to win this match to advance, their lack of possession reflects their overall performance.

Looking ahead, if the U.S. faces Sweden in the round of 16, it will be a tough match. Sweden only needs a point against Argentina to claim Group G, and based on the U.S.'s performance so far, there is little reason for optimism. Despite being the top-ranked team, the U.S. will need a complete turnaround to survive that match.

On the other hand, Portugal deserves credit for their performance in the tournament. Although they did not advance to the knockout stage, they can be proud of their victories against Vietnam and their respectable 1-0 defeat against the Netherlands. They also managed to hold the two-time defending World Cup champions to a scoreless draw. This experience will undoubtedly make them stronger in future tournaments.

In conclusion, the USWNT's performance in Tuesday's match was disappointing, with their inability to execute and capitalize on opportunities. They will need to drastically improve if they hope to succeed in the round of 16. Meanwhile, Portugal can be proud of their achievements and will undoubtedly come back stronger in future tournaments.

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