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Sweden shuts down US attack in 0-0 draw

Carli Loyd and the US midfield struggled to get the ball up to the attack, which struggled even more to finish.

Carli Loyd and the US midfield struggled to get the ball up to the attack, which struggled even more to finish.

As magnificent and in-sync as the USA’ back line looked, that is how out-of-sync their girls up front were.

With the USA forced to limit the minutes of both Alex Morgan as she is coming back from injury and Abby Wambach as she has to avoid being overworked because of her age, the team was forced to go with Sydney Leroux and Christen Press up front against Sweden, which is led by former USA Manager Pia Sundhage, and it just wasn’t working.

Sweden’s defense also backed it in against the USA and forced a 0-0 draw. No team has won Group D, or the group of death. However, with a win over Nigeria on Tuesday USA will win the group and play a third-place team in the Round of 16 and a second-place team in the quarterfinals. Should they lose, they would likely have to play Brazil in their first knockout round game. If they somehow finish in third place, they may have to play Germany.

But before they get that far, they have to figure out how to make their offense more effective against stronger defenses with some of their top scorer being available. By having to move Press completely up top, the midfield struggled as well to get the ball up top.

USA did rip off 12 shots in the game, but only two were on goal as Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl was barely tested and those strong efforts at goal did not come until after Wambach came in for Press for the final 30 minutes. Morgan came in for about 15 minutes and the offense really looked a lot smoother at the very end of the game.

But playing those two up top for a 90-minute game is a risk that may not be worth it quite yet. It may end up being necessary if there are miserable performance by the attack again.

Impressively, Hope Solo was not required to make a single save, though, she did do a fantastic job punching the ball out of the box on set pieces and preventing Sweden from capitalizing on any tough situations.

The USA did have a bit of luck as well. In the first half, Leroux was not called for a clear handball violation in the box and in the second half Meghan Klingenberg caught solo out of position but Caroline Seger pace a spectacular play to head the ball off the line. It hit the crossbar and miss being a goal by millimeters.

The team’s next opponent, Nigeria, sits in last place after losing to Australia 2-0 on Friday. They did, however, tie Sweden 3-3 in their first game to gain one point.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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