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Morgan Reid Column: USWNT Made a Big Statement But They Still Have Plenty of Work to Do
90min
Wed, 19 Jun 2019 21:01

Morgan Reid Column: USWNT Made a Big Statement But They Still Have Plenty of Work to Do

90min
Wed, 19 Jun 2019 21:01

Orlando Pride defender & former United States Under-20 international Morgan Reid will be a columnist for 90min during the Womens World Cup in France, as Jill Ellis Stars and Stripes look to retain their World Cup crown this summer.

Morgan Reid Column: USWNT Made a Big Statement But They Still Have Plenty of Work to Do


The pressure was definitely on the girls heading into the first game.
Yes, we were playing Thailand but expectations have been sky high coming into this World Cup, so it was important to make a statement and get that target off our back.
Many people thought we should win big and luckily we were able to that - its important, though, that we keep ourselves grounded and play each and every game on its merits.
The criticism thats been aimed at the team for over-celebrating and continuing to go for it is a little unfair in my book. We would never intend to be malicious in any way, and Im sure our opponents wouldnt have wanted us to pass the ball around the backline, nor downplay celebrating a World Cup goal.
If anything, that feels like it would be more disrespectful rather than playing the game in the right way for the full 90 minutes.
Its a bit of a lose-lose situation as someone will always have something negative to say, but the girls I know play in the right spirit and would never intentionally cross any lines.
Controversy aside, getting off to a strong start will have been front and centre in the girls minds, because finding your mojo so early in a major competition can be vital - particularly given the amount of games we may end up playing.
The format of the World Cup group stages also means every goal counts, so there wouldnt have been any thoughts of taking things easy against Thailand, nor looking past them.
Weve also had my Orlando teammate Marta become the leading goalscorer in World Cup history, and I couldnt be happier for her. Shes won so many awards over the course of her career, but if you meet her in person, shes the most humble, soccer loving fanatic.

Resting players for the second game against Chile will have been part of Jills strategy, but the depth in our roster is so strong that we can afford to rotate a number of the girls without our performance levels dipping.
We made a number of changes to the starting lineup but you didnt really see a drop off in our level. We have such a diverse, talented squad and all the players deserve a shot at performing on the biggest stage.
Some of the girls who started against Thailand have supreme athleticism and pose a big aerial threat, whereas we saw a bit more experience and tactical strength against a more established Chile - and having that blend is crucial if we want to go far in this tournament.
Getting minutes on the field and gaining confidence in what youre doing is fundamental to success, but I know Jill be go back to basics ahead of the Sweden game. Picking her best side and rewarding the players who have done well is what its all about, as well as finding that balance to your side.
That likely means a recall for Alex (Morgan), whos one of the best competitors in womens soccer. A part of her would have loved to have been playing against Chile after scoring five in the first game, but shes really developed into a leader of the team over the past eight or nine years - and I know shell have been aware of the bigger picture.
Theres no doubt in my mind that shell come out firing against Sweden, and shell be a huge threat - because shell definitely have hopes of winning that golden boot.
The Swedes will be really tough opposition in the final group game, and wearing them down with our physicality will be key to getting the result we want. Well hope to see a lot of the ball, so remaining patient and waiting for openings will be important.
It will be our toughest match of the group so far, but the fact that we rested some key players against Chile should hopefully play out in our favour.
There is one big winner for me at this World Cup so far, and thats womens soccer as a whole. The interest and coverage here in the States has been widespread, and its allowing the game to reach a whole new audience - which is fantastic for our game.

Outside of our sphere, this World Cup has been so exciting. England and France have been super impressive and strong so far, and my pre-tournament pick of Australia are looking pretty threatening right now!
Sam Kerr is showing everybody just how good she is in front of goal, and she was in exceptional form against Jamaica.
Weve also had my Orlando teammate Marta become the leading goalscorer in World Cup history, and I couldnt be happier for her. Shes won so many awards over the course of her career, but if you meet her in person, shes the most humble, soccer loving fanatic.
You would never know based on her humility that is she such a legendary figure within our game, and I know that while shell have immense pride at breaking the record, shell just be focussed on Brazils next game and doing all she can to help her country move forward.
Weve also been kept entertained by VAR and an unbelievable amount of penalties. Having the technology is a huge advancement in the game, but I have seen a couple of examples of really nit-picky decisions.
Nigeria were hard done by against France I felt, because it was such a small infraction by the keeper for that second half penalty. You then have a situation where theyre celebrating still being in the game, only to have that moment taken away.
Thats pretty tough to take and weve got to find a way to make sure these decisions and reviews dont disrupt the flow of the game too much, whilst still ensuring that we do have the right calls being made.
There is one big winner for me at this World Cup so far, and thats womens soccer as a whole. The interest and coverage here in the States has been widespread, and its allowing the game to reach a whole new audience - which is fantastic for our game.
Were so far ahead in terms of where we were four years ago at the last of World Cup, and the

latter stages of the tournament will hopefully draw higher viewing figures than what weve seen already.
That, along with the incredible support that were receiving as a team out in France is amazing for me to see and long may it continue.