Uswnt_celebration_vs._belgium_-_asn_top_-_isi_-_4-8-2019_-_brad_smith Brad Smith/ISI
USWNT Recap and Analysis

With the World Cup approaching, the USWNT cruises past Belgium 6-0

In a little more than a month, USWNT head coach Jill Ellis will name her roster for the 2019 World Cup. With that tournament quickly approaching, the U.S. team is gathering steam and the 6-0 win over Belgium was just another step. ASN's John Halloran looks at the friendly. 
BY John Halloran Posted
April 08, 2019
4:00 AM
THE UNITED STATES women’s national team downed Belgium 6-0 on Sunday night in the Americans’ final match of its April camp.

Head coach Jill Ellis made six switches to the lineup that beat Australia on Thursday and added in positional moves for Julie Ertz and Crystal Dunn to field a much different starting XI against the Belgians.

Right from the start, the Red Flames struggled to keep up. Carli Lloyd, starting as the U.S.’ No. 9, scored a terrific flicked header on a set piece in the 14th minute to open the scoring and then added another headed effort just five minutes later to double the Americans’ lead.

Soon enough, it became even more obvious that the Belgians simply couldn’t deal with the Americans aerial strength, as Lindsey Horan added another goal on another set-piece header and Sam Mewis did the same a few minutes later to extend the lead to 4-0.

In the second half, the Americans quickly added a fifth tally, this time from Alex Morgan who finished top shelf against Belgian goalkeeper Nicky Evrard.

In second-half stoppage-time, Jess McDonald scored on another set piece header to produce the final 6-0 scoreline.

It’s tough to draw too many over-arching conclusions from the game, especially considering how overmatched the 20th-ranked Belgians were in the contest. However, in her two most recent starts—against Belgium on Thursday and Scotland in November—it has been obvious that Lloyd is the best choice as the backup No. 9.

Lloyd possesses all the physical characteristics Ellis is looking for out of her center forward in the team’s 4-3-3 and against Belgium, Lloyd displayed excellent ability in the air, combined well with the wings, and held the ball up well in transition. She finished the night with two goals and an assist.

Ali Krieger also received her 99th cap on the night after going two years without an appearance for the U.S. After two years of experiments at right back, Ellis had still not found an answer to replace Krieger—especially when the oft-injured Kelley O’Hara is not available.

Belgium largely failed to test Krieger defensively, making a true evaluation of Krieger’s current international form virtually impossible. The 2015 World Cup veteran clearly doesn’t get forward into the attack in the way that Ellis desires, but after two years of looking—and months of recent defensive struggles—Krieger’s experience could help her sneak onto the roster for the 2019 tournament in France.

On the ESPN2 broadcast on Sunday, Glenn Davis reported that the team’s World Cup roster will be known by the U.S.’ match against South Africa on May 12, only 36 days away.

John D. Halloran is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

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