USWNT Experiment With 7 In Attack Yields Glorious Lindsey Horan Volley

With just over two weeks to go before the USWNT opens the group stage of the Summer Olympics against Sweden in Tokyo, manager Vlatko Andonovski — treating the send off series like a college senior — wanted to experiment with some things.

Namely, the scenario of “what if we put seven players in attack and got buck wild?” One feature of this particular setup was the presence of deep-lying midfielder Lindsey Horan taking her place alongside Carli Lloyd for the game’s opening period.

I believe it was Kelley O’Hara who launched the raking pass at Lloyd in the sixth-minute, and Lloyd won and snapped a header in the direction of her new strike partner. From there, Horan’s volley was pure in heart, body, soul and mind. 

The large crowd in Hartford, Connecticut, got its money’s worth right then and there.  

This highlight shows a little more of the start of the move, although not the excellent pass out of defense to Lloyd.

Five minutes later, Lloyd scored her 126th — moving her four behind Kristine Lilly in third on the all-time U.S. list — by way of diving header off a perfect Crystal Dunn cross.

Number three arrived in the 37th minute after Tobin Heath’s shot from distance took a slight deflection that sent it looping off the crossbar, but Christen Press was there for the rebound. It eventually found its way in off Mexico’s Reyna Reyes for the own goal. 

The game was over — and we began discussing the release of Ted Lasso season two — when Sam Mewis won possession in the 39th minute, strode forward and presented Heath with even more confidence as she returns to full fitness and form. 

The 4-0 halftime scoreline flattered Mexico as the U.S. had a perfectly legitimate goal chalked off for offside (the assist from Heath was incredible), but most importantly, the likes of Heath, Lloyd and Rose Lavelle made way after 45 minutes unscathed.

The second half was a non-event as the heat, substitutions and a desire to get to Tokyo took precedent. The U.S. unbeaten streak has hit 44 games (40-0-4).

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