United States women’s national team captain Lindsey Horan hardly could have had a better Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. She started all four games and scored two goals in the group stage. And yet, all she’s been able to think about since the United States’ abrupt elimination from the tournament on August 6 is what she could have done differently.
“I’ve been killing myself for the last two weeks,” Horan said on “The RE-CAP Show,” which is hosted by her former USWNT teammates Tobin Heath and Christen Press. “Like what the heck could I have done to help or to push our playing style or to push this bravery? And at the end of the day, it’s like you’re set up in a structure to do this. And here’s your opportunity individually, like just go play within the structure.”
The team’s structure was a big point of debate throughout the tournament. While the U.S. could have done better to finish its opportunities in front of goal, Vlatko Andonovski’s conservative style of play also played a role in the team’s lack of goals.
Horan highlighted the game against Sweden in the round of 16 as a turning point for the group, but she feels like the result would have been different had changes been made earlier in the tournament.
“The game against Sweden, I don’t think we were necessarily set up to play the way that we played,” Horan said. “That was just us finally coming together and being like, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’ And then it worked, and then it’s like, ‘OK, keep doing it.’ Could that have happened earlier? Maybe. It’s a really tough one.”
Had the U.S. finished as the top team in Group E, it would have played a weaker South African side in the round of 16. Instead, it played FIFA’s No. 3-ranked team in the world.
Andonosvki officially resigned as the national team coach on August 17. The U.S. will be coached an interim basis by Twila Kilgore, who served as an assistant under Andonosvki at the World Cup.
The USWNT’s next match is against South Africa on September 21 in Cincinatti.
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