Lindsey Horan had strong words about the United States women’s national team’s coaching staff and their World Cup failure when she sat down with her former teammates Christen Press and Tobin Heath on The RE-CAP Show.
Horan discussed that the team wasn’t set up for success at the tournament, had no joy throughout and dropped a bombshell about the team’s tactics during the Round of 16 loss vs. Sweden.
Lindsey Horan Sweden tactics comment
“In 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.”
This is quite the dig at recently resigned USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
During the World Cup Andonovski was heavily criticized for his tactics, starting lineups and failure to use substitutes. The USWNT looked flat in all three of their group stage games when they played in his preferred 4-3-3 formation.
The look of the USWNT completely changed in the Round of 16 game vs. Sweden with a 4-2-3-1 formation, more possession, more chances and a much more confident looking team. They played their best game vs. Sweden and were unlucky not to score as Swedish goalkeeper Zecira Musovic kept making amazing saves.
Only a penalty kick shootout denied the USWNT from defeating Sweden, who finished third best at the tournament.
Vlatko was holding this team back from its true potential.
Horan also said that the structure put in place by the coaching staff limited the potential of youngsters like Sophia Smith.
“Could I have done more to help those players? Because I don’t think we got the absolute best out of some of them because of the way that we were set up and some of the things we did in the game,” Horan said.
From what Horan said it sounds like the coaching staff and their tactics created an environment that the players couldn’t thrive in. That seems even more apparent with Horan’s comments on the lack of joy during the tournament.
"Looking at those three group stage games, and you felt it in the team," she said. "You felt this tense feeling, and people were just not enjoying their football or they weren't enjoying individually playing."
The next time fans will get to see the USWNT back in action will be Sept. 21 in Cincinnati and Sept. 24 in Chicago for back-to-back friendlies vs. South Africa.