A new era has begun for the United States Women's National Team. With 11 uncapped players in camp, Jill Ellis experimented with both her roster and her formation against Switzerland. The result was a dull and lifeless first half followed by an exciting and free-flowing second period, as the USWNT beat the Swiss, 4-0. Lynn Williams, Tobin Heath, Christen Press, and Samantha Mewis provided the scoring at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.
The USWNT improved to 3-0 all-time against the Swiss and 19-0-3 in the calendar year 2016.
The starting lineup for the game included two players in their first national team call up and two midfielders in defensive positions with the team lining up in a 2-6-2 format. It is clear that Ellis wants to reinvent this team. Noticeably missing in the starting lineup is our hometown favorite and birthday girl, Ashlyn Harris. Alex Morgan was not called up for the game.
The first half was scoreless, only raising more questions about Ellis' tactics, with Switzerland proving to be a worthy opponent. While the United States had several chances for goals, like Lindsey Horan's header that went inches above the crossbar, the U.S. was not able to capitalize until 50 seconds into the second half, when newcomer and Western New York Flash star striker Williams forced a turnover and beat Swiss keeper Gaëlle Thalmann to make it 1-0.
Just 10 minutes later, speedster Crystal Dunn connected with Heath to put the United States up 2-0.
Veterans Kelley O'Hara and Press connected in the 69th minute to score the third goal of the game on a steal from Williams, the newbie who is proving she belongs here.
Press made her mark again in this match in the 76th minute when she assisted on Mewis' goal. O'Hara released Press down the left and the U.S. striker pulled the ball back to find space, and then found Mewis running into the box. Mewis' headed goal came on her first touch of the game, just seconds after she came on.
The United States contined to maintain control of the ball throughout the second half with constant pressure up the pitch. The U.S. missed a few opportunities to extend the lead further with Thalmann coming up big on a pair of diving stops and O'Hara blasting just over the bar. The Swiss never threatened much through the second half and in the end it was a comfortable win for the Americans.
Ellis' experiment of a game may have had some successes though many are still unsure of some of her decisions (i.e. playing Allie Long at center back) but, regardless of the coach's decisions, the players came to play.
Resident players continued to put goals on the board and helped the United States build momentum going into their next game against Switzerland. The game will take place Sunday in Minneapolis at 1:45 p.m. ET.