It was another big win for the United States Women's National Team as they defeated Romania by a score of 8-1. 16,452 people were on hand at Avaya Stadium to see the win and this is how we felt each player did in the 3-4-3 system that head coach Jill Ellis used tonight.
Ashlyn Harris (4.5): Harris may not have had a lot to do tonight but when she was called upon, she did not do herself justice. Romania's only goal of the night not only exposed the back three of the US, but it also exposed Harris' style of goalkeeping. She was caught high up the field and once the Romanian striker got the ball in her stride, she easily side-stepped Harris and put the ball away into an empty net. In the second half, defender Casey Short had to display quick feet when a poor pass by Harris put her under immediate pressure from a Romanian player. All in all, it was not a good night for the goalkeeper.
Becky Saurbrunn (6): Sauerbrunn is being asked to play a different role in this formation and it is clear that she is still adjsuting to it. She was asked to get forward very often and start play from the back in her 45 minutes of playing time, which she managed to do on occasion but because she was so high up the field for most of her time, she was unable to communicate and organise well with her other two defenders. That miscommunication also led to the chance that created Romania's only goal of the night.
Allie Long (3): Many still question Ellis' decision to place Long in the back line and tonight would not have swayed anyone questioning that decision. When Romania got forward, Long was constantly caught out of position and continued to lose her mark in dangerous areas. Her lack of defensive nous allowed Laura Rus to burst through on goal and eventually score for Romania.
Before that goal, bar a poor finish from Rus, Long would have been at fault for conceding another goal when Rus drifted away from her in the box and managed to get a free header in the box. Her play improved in the second half once she was moved to midfield but Ellis has stated that she sees Long's future position as part of a back three. So far, the experiment is failing.
Casey Short (6): Short did what she was asked to do well and although her passing when she enters the final third of the field was average, her defending 1v1 and her overall positioning was executed well by the Chicago Red Stars defender. She did no harm to her case for being called back for the next camp. She will however want to look at her communication and awareness during Romania's goal. Short was the last defender and she did not tuck in to prevent the runner from going through on goal. As she practices more in that three back system, such errors should become a less common occurrence.
Kealia Ohai (5): Ohai had 45 minutes of game time today and although she managed to beat her defender at some points during the half, her decision making in the final third was not as good as we have come to expect from her. There were opportunities to find teammates in the box with the right ball once she got to the byline but she would not get her pass off in time and the opportunity would disappear as the Romanian defenders recovered defensively.
Andi Sullivan (7.5): A great performance by the young Standford player who continues to exceed expectations with each game she features in. Sullivan was at the heart of all the attacking build up that the US had and her eye for a pass opened up play regularly. Sullivan also kept a good tempo going and recycled the ball well during her time on the field. Her set piece delivery was also on display tonight as the US continue to search for another set piece taker who can deliver a good ball in. Sullivan's free-kick led to Brian's goal in the first half and if she continues on like this, expect her to be a regular feature on the national team.
Morgan Brian (6.5): Brian had a quieter game than her midfield partner but she had her moments of influence as she played as a number 10 tonight. Not only did she get on the score sheet but her late runs from deep often caught out the Romanian defense and allowed her to find her teammates in the box for a shot on goal. Brian is definitely someone who does not have to worry about her place on the roster and her performance tonight was an assured one.
Tobin Heath (7): Heath continues to have a great 2016 calendar year and tonight was no different. She was involved in most of the goals scored tonight and would have had one for herself late in the game had it not been deflected in for an own goal. Even though she is being asked ot play as a wing back, Heath is still play making from out wide and her talent on the ball is helping the US stretch defenses and create space for their strikers to operate in.
Crystal Dunn (7.5): Although she did not get on the score sheet tonight, Dunn is a great piece to have in any forward line. Her close control and pace, which was on display tonight, allow her to get by defenders easily and place her in a position to shoot or find a teammate in the box, which she did to great effect tonight. Even in the second half when she was asked to play further out wide, Dunn was still involved in a lot of the good things that the US did tonight.
Lynn Williams (5): Williams, like Ohai, only had 45 minutes tonight and again like Ohai, did not seem to have an outstanding performance. Her decision making was slow tonight and she was unable to put the ball into the back of the net when she had the opportunity to score.
Christen Press (9): Press was the pick of the US players even though she only featured for 45 minutes. The forward picked up three goals and was involved in two other goals as well. Her finishing was clinical, her movement was good and her timing of passes allowed her to find space in and around the box time and time again. Press continues to make a case to be a regular starter with this team and with performances like tonight's, not many will argue against it.
Alex Morgan (6): A mixed evening for Morgan after she came on at the start of the second half. She made good runs and found the back of the net twice but her failure to convert her penalty will continue to follow her as she tries to recover from failing to convert from the spot in the Olympics. Morgan's two goals came from straight forward chances but tonight she seemed a little off the pace.
Samantha Mewis (5): Mewis kept the midfield ticking over and played simple passes to her teammates but not much else happened for her tonight. She remains a good option to have in midfield for Ellis.
Lindsey Horan (5): Horan played similarly to Mewis except she conceded more fouls. At the very top level, Horan cannot afford to keep giving away fouls in midfield as the best teams will punish those errors quickly and efficiently.
Julie Johnston (6): Johnston steadied the ship when she came on at half-time and seemed to organize the back three of the US better. She coped well with Romania's attempts at getting forward and won all of her physical and aerial battles which allowed the US to stay advanced in Romania's half.
Kelley O'Hara (5): O'Hara did not have too much time to make an impact and thus, was mostly brought in to keep things ticking over and prevent any fast breaks by Romania due to her recovery speed.
Jessica McDonald (4.5): McDonald had a slightly difficult night. Her passing was not accurate and she was slow in releasing the ball to her teammates. She was also caught offside unnecessarily on a few occasions and when she was put through on goal, she was unable to convert her chances.