Much like they did during their 2019 World Cup Round of 16 match against the USWNT, Spain brought its sauce today with equal measures of intricate passing shapes and technical quality. During that 2-1 U.S. victory back in France, it was a shock to the system to see La Roja actually edge the possession statistic in the second half — today, they absolutely bossed it with 60 percent of the ball.
Entirely unfazed by a sellout crowd of 26,500 at Red Bull Arena, Spain went about out-passing the U.S. (524 to 336) at a more accurate clip (81% to 72%) while actually showing a bit of menace in the final third by producing just as many shots as the home side (9).
But thank the gods for Julie Ertz.
It’s a massive credit to Spain that in dueling 4-3-3 formations, the forward-foraging tandem of Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis was kept largely quiet on the day. However, for all of the aforementioned brilliance of Spain, they had no answer for Julie Ertz. When it comes to Ertz, there’s never even a question.
Inject JJ leading the counter into our veins. pic.twitter.com/qy2D6MAtaV— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) March 8, 2020
— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) March 8, 2020
— ESPN (@espn) March 8, 2020
In defense and attack, the 27-year-old was everywhere; she was both shield and sword for the U.S.
The USWNT returns on Wednesday in SheBelieves Cup action against Japan at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.