The U. S. rolled through the last Women’s World Cup as one of the greatest teams of all time. But they crashed out of their…
The U. S. rolled through the last Women’s World Cup as one of the greatest teams of all time. But they crashed out of their last major tourney — the 2016 Olympics — with the worst showing in their history.
That’s the backdrop as they head into this Women’s World Cup in France, the top seed and defending champ with more talent than any team on the planet but more question marks than they are used to.
Despite questions in the back, a youngish team and an early group-stage test against the familiar Swedes who sent them packing in Rio de Janeiro, the U. S. is still the favorite — and considers themselves such.
“Have to,” coach Jill Ellis said. “Have to. I think this is confidence. So much of it is a mindset and an approach.
“I think there are a lot of good teams, and we’re all aware of that, but we want to be the team to beat in terms of that. I think that’s our approach. I don’t think you would ever see anything different from this team even 10 years from now in terms of how this program has built itself to be at that point.”
The U. S. has an embarrassment of attacking riches. They have switched to a 4-3-3 formation to shoehorn tricky Tobin Heath, prolific Alex Morgan and savvy Megan Rapinoe into soccer’s best strike force, and former midfield star Carli Lloyd into a supersub role as a backup No.

Continue reading...