Welcome back, Mane Landers, and happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful that I get to contribute to this website, and co-host the PawedCast. I’m thankful for you, the readers, and the listeners. I’m thankful that I get to enjoy the game I love all year round through various leagues and of course the U.S. national teams. As such, this edition is all about the Red, White, & Blue as you chow down on some turkey and mashed potatoes.
The USWNT went unbeaten in 2018 against a varied slate of opponents. The U.S. played some of the best in the world, including England, Brazil, Canada, and Australia. The Yanks also played some teams that weren’t quite that good, but no matter who they played the results were positive. Closer to home, the Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan scored just over a goal per match, and now sits at 98 international goals in her career. She will certainly eclipse the 100 goal mark next year. The team played with purpose, and was largely consistent. It was just the type of year one would hope for as the U.S. heads to the World Cup in France next summer.
This is a topic I’ve addressed before, but since it hasn’t been resolved, it’s still bad, maybe worse. As of this writing, the USMNT does not have a permanent head coach. We are way over a year since Bruce Arena stepped down, and it’s a process that has been taking much longer than those of us that support the U.S. would have assumed. This is not to say that Dave Sarachan has done a bad job as the interim coach, but the U.S. needs a vision, and a direction. The rumor is that Columbus Crew Head Coach Gregg Berhalter is the odds on favorite to take the position. I don’t think that’s a bad choice, but the fact that it has taken so long is a bad thing.
The final USMNT matches of 2018 were not pretty. I hesitated to make this the ugly, but to be fair, the results were in fact ugly. The Yanks were dominated by England for the first half, before putting up a bit of fight, but they still fell, 3-0. Then they fell 1-0 to Italy, in a match that was not nearly that close. The fight they had put up against England was not to be found against Italy. The only saving grace was literally the numerous saves made by keeper Ethan Horvath. The Yanks weren’t expected to win either of these games given the youth that the U.S. is putting on the field, but it was hoped that the team would have a better showing.
That’s going to do it for now everyone. Please enjoy the holiday, travel safely, and check back for more here at The Mane Land.