The USA Women’s National Team listened carefully as Coaches Christian Latulippe and Javier Garcia-Cuesta told them how important their game with Brazil was going to be to their future development. The coaches considered the game a great opportunity for the team to experience the speed and skill level of one of the very best teams in the world. Brazil finished 5th in the most recent World Championships.
The game opened in a very unexpected manner as the powerful Brazilians had difficulty with the inexperienced Americans. The Americans entered the game with one of their key players, Team Captain Sarah Gascon, on the bench with an injury, yet the American defense was sound. However, the offense was ineffective and they were unable to take advantage of the slow start by the Brazilians. At the 10-minute mark the Brazilians took a timeout, leading 5-3, to discuss the strange turn of events. When play resumed, they were the World-Class team expected to compete for an Olympic Medal in Rio in 2016. They outscored the Americans 16-0 during the final 19:44 of the half to lead 21-3.
The Team USA coaching staff emphasized several specific goals for the second half and the team delivered on a few of them. They were outscored 23-7 by the Brazilians in the second half, falling 44-10. There were several bright spots in the performance and the coaches look forward to a much improved effort on Sunday against host Dominican Republic. The trio of Goalkeepers, including Sophie Fasold, Stacy Self, and Freja Dobreff all played well. On many occasions they stopped the best Brazil had to offer, impressing their teammates and the coaching staff.
On offense, Stephanie Hesser and Latrice Lewis both contributed three goals each, while Kathy Darling, “T” Ebuwei, Tabitha Hardison, and Gascon each added one. Gascon’s was off the bench on a 7 meter shot. Head Coach Latulippe was happy the team got to play against such a high level team and thinks each player will be better for the experience and the opportunity to see the incredible speed with which Brazil attacks on offense and how difficult the challenge to contain such a high powered team. Brazil also demonstrated how to play a tenacious 6-0 defense, stifling the Americans on most of their possessions.
Latulippe is of course happy the game is now behind the Americans and they are looking toward to the rest of the tournament. The remaining competition in pool A will be much more similar to Team USA in overall quality. The challenge will not be easy, but the Americans are optimistic they will be competitive.