Morgan: USWNT needs more patience in attack

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — United States women’s national soccer team forward Alex Morgan said she and her international teammates need “a little more patience” in attack to reach their full potential at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The U.S. claimed a 3-0 victory over an organized and disciplined Vietnam side in the tournament opener for both teams. But there is a sense that the Americans should have won by a bigger margin given that they had a 28-0 advantage in shots, though just seven of those were on target.

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“I think we saw a lot of glimpses of our potential, but I feel like we weren’t always clicking on the field,” Morgan said during Tuesday’s news conference.

“I feel like some of the plays that we had were a little forced or rushed. So I think it’s having a little more patience, switching a little bit more, having our movements be a little more synchronized. And so I think we’re looking to apply that for this next game and moving forward.”

The U.S. has had an easier go of it so far as compared to some other presumed heavyweights. England was fortunate to get past Haiti 1-0, while Sweden was pushed to the limit against South Africa, 2-1. Another highly ranked team, France, was held to a 0-0 draw with Jamaica.

“There haven’t been many games where teams are able to break through easily against opponents,” Morgan said.

“So we knew that would be the case with Vietnam, but we were trying to be patient. I feel like at times we could have just stood on the ball a little more and kind of been a little more decisive with our play. So I think that’s something we could apply to the next game.”

That will come against the Netherlands, which is almost guaranteed to be more aggressive in attack than Vietnam was. It’s a team that also has a bit of a score to settle with the U.S., having been eliminated by the Americans in the past two major tournaments, including the 2019 Women’s World Cup final. It’s also a contest that is likely to decide who wins the group.

“We watched the Netherlands the other night, and they have a lot of the same players as we played them in the World Cup four years ago,” Morgan said.

“A little bit [of a] different formation but still the same personnel, and that’s important for team chemistry. So just knowing that we know that we have to be at our best, and we’re doing everything we can at the training field, in the meetings, watching video, doing everything we can. But this is going to be a very big matchup.”

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