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How a Little Luck and a Tactical Change Led the USWNT to Victory in World Cup 2015

Carli Lloyd (Photo by Catalina Fragoso - DoubleGSports) Lloyd picked up the match winner tonight vs China

Carli Lloyd (Photo by Catalina Fragoso – DoubleGSports)
Lloyd is now a soccer legend thanks to being deployed in an attacking role

In the Colombia game that the USWNT eventually won by a score of 2-0, it appeared unlucky when Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday received yellow cards.  The two were whistled for fouls that were very questionably called bookings by the referee and for both players, their second yellow of the knockout round meant they would miss the quarterfinal matchup against China.

At the time, the US was struggling to find offensive balance.

Linkup play through the midfield was non-existent.   Stories began to creep through the grapevine that there was unrest in the locker room of a United States team that had aspirations of winning the World Cup and capturing the third star for the USWNT’s shirt.

However, the yellow cards turned out to be a two-fold blessing in disguise.

For one, Morgan Brian was unleashed onto the scene and her impact led to part two of the blessing.

Brian provided solid defensive play and linkup play in the midfield that Jill Ellis was hoping to get from Carli Lloyd.

With her emergence, Lloyd was able to move up to a #10 role befitting her jersey where she was able to basically forget her defensive responsibilities and move up to play as nearly a second forward.

In fact, at times she functioned as a target forward in the final with Alex Morgan shifting to a wing position as Rapinoe and Holiday moved into the attack.

The emergence of Brian enabled Ellis to play 5 midfielders who could all function almost interchangeably moving into the attack and helping with recovery runs when necessary.

It was this formation and the freedom that was now bestowed upon Carli Lloyd that allowed her to have the day she had in the final – a day that will make her a legend in American soccer for years to come.



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