In a recent study, it was found that the average player rating for NBA players is around 2300. The most important factor in a player’s rating is his age.
The rooster zodiac traits is a blog post that discusses the impact of roster age, rotation, tactics, no crowds and more on player ratings.
Why has the United States’ top-ranked women’s national team battled so badly in Tokyo? Even the players and staff don’t appear to be aware.
“I’m not sure,” Carli Lloyd remarked after the USWNT’s 1-0 semifinal defeat to Canada. “Right now, I’m not sure. You know, it happens. You can’t have it all.”
“I don’t really know,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said to reporters on Monday, before adding, “I suppose we’re going to have to go back and dig a bit further and figure out what it is that didn’t go the way we intended.”
– Murray: USWNT lacks synergy in semifinal exit – Report: USWNT loses to Canada in Olympic semifinals – Undefeated: Scurry’s heroics paved the way for Franch
Because there are no obvious reasons for why a squad that dominated a World Cup two years ago suddenly appeared so fragmented and ineffectual at the Tokyo Olympics, many outside ideas have circulated.
Here are some of the most popular ideas, along with our assessments of how probable each is to have contributed to the USWNT’s defeat (10=very likely, 1=unlikely):
The squad for the USWNT was too old: 5/10
It’s easy to point to the average age of the USWNT squad at the Olympics as a source of concern. Except for Lynn Williams, who is 28, all of the USWNT’s main attackers are above the age of 30. Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, the USWNT’s two most clutch players and past tournament heroes, are 39 and 36 years old, respectively, and both are obviously slower than they ever were.
But there’s more to it than that. First, the USWNT has never been harmed by having the oldest squad at a competition. At both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, the USWNT had the oldest teams, and they won both. Saying a team isn’t excellent simply because it’s old is lazy.
What’s more, the USWNT’s issue in Japan wasn’t with its older players. Was it a good tournament for Lloyd and Rapinoe? No. But how can you explain the out-of-character difficulties of Samantha Mewis, the 28-year-old central midfielder regarded by many experts as the greatest player on the planet?
– Andonovski: The USWNT will go to any length to win a medal.
The basic execution of soccer basics, such as dribbling and passing, was poor, and this was evident across the roster. The US was “doing stupid things, like not passing the ball, not trapping the ball,” Rapinoe, the team’s most honest and outspoken player, remarked after the team’s tournament-opening defeat to Sweden. Her judgment after the defeat against Canada was almost identical: “Again, we’ve made too many mistakes. We had the room to play in, but we couldn’t get into it because there were too many touches or an erroneous touch.”
The USWNT lost to Canada in the semifinals, which means the agonizing task of finding out what went wrong can begin. ISI Photos/Getty Images/Brad Smith
To be honest, the Olympics is an especially taxing competition due to the few recovery days provided by the IOC between games. Having some younger players take on more minutes and workload might have helped, but Andonovski went out of his way to rest his players as much as possible with more replacements available than usual. Because of the rotations, the USWNT had the freshest players in the competition, according to Alex Morgan.
Even so, Andonovski may have seen some advantage in bringing in more younger players to the tournament — and then actually playing them — but it would have been less about their age and more about.. (onto the next category…)
The chosen players were overly relaxed: 7/10
When a team wins a World Cup in the relentless manner that the USWNT did in France in 2019, it’s tempting for a new coach to want to repeat the feat. Andonovski believed these players might thrive together in the high-pressure environment of a big tournament, but the USWNT lacked passion more than fitness.
Of course, the athletes will tell you that they wanted it. As they (presumably) near the conclusion of their careers, the veterans wanted to go out on top. The younger players want to earn their first Olympic gold. However, it’s difficult not to note that Lynn Williams, who scored a goal and added an assist against the Netherlands, was the only field player that stood out during the tournament.
Williams is one of just two players on the whole squad that is competing in her maiden major event. Williams has not been the USWNT’s greatest offensive player under Andonovski or former coach Jill Ellis — there’s a reason she didn’t make any tournament rosters under Ellis and just made the Olympic squad as an alternate — but she played in Japan like she had a lot more to prove than anybody else.
Andonovski has received a lot of flak this summer for the way he ran this team, from tactics to player rotation, and even down to the group he chose to compete for gold in Tokyo. Getty Images/KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP
That begs the issue of why a talent like Catarina Macario was not given the opportunity to play a larger part in the tournament, even as a replacement. She’s gifted and has shown she can compete at the top level, but she’s only been selected to one matchday team (the 6-1 win over New Zealand). Could she have helped unlock an opponent like Canada, which wasn’t committing to attacking in that fatal semifinal, if Andonovski had told her he trusted her to take over a game and do her thing? We’ll never know for sure.
With the Olympics being moved back a year, Andonovski may have had more time to identify some players who were eager to make an impact rather than just copying and pasting the World Cup squad. At the very least, it would have had the veterans work harder to retain their places in the competition, and it might have given Tokyo some more exciting choices.
Andonovski over-rotated his starting lineups: 10/10
A coach may take one of two approaches to a tournament with a lot of games crammed into a short amount of time: consistency for the purpose of chemistry or rotation to keep the players fresh for each game. Andonovski made it plain that he preferred rotation. Perhaps he was aware of the age of his squad, or perhaps he just realized that playing a game every three days is a lot for any athlete.
Rapinoe pondered if rotation was an issue after the semifinal, but quickly rejected the idea.
Rapinoe said, “It simply didn’t click for us.” “I’m not sure whether there was simply a bunch of roster rotations. I understand that attempting to rescue people is a difficult task. But, since our bench is so deep, I don’t believe we’ll be able to fit it on there. I’ve tried to pinpoint it, and I’ve been thinking about it throughout the tournament. We just didn’t have the energy that we usually do.”
Julie Foudy discusses if the USWNT needs to have a younger team to contend for Olympic gold.
Rapinoe was correct in dismissing the worry about rotations being a drop-off in quality. The USWNT’s replacements are just as talented as the starters, and by rotating players, the team never loses individual excellence. But that’s a different story as a group, and the USWNT’s greatest issue in Japan has seemed to be a lack of camaraderie.
While we can’t see what goes on behind the scenes to create that connection, we can see that the games were inconsistent. Look no farther than the tournament’s record nine goals ruled offside as evidence that the players weren’t on the same page.
“There was a lot of rotation,” Alex Morgan remarked after the semifinal. “In a sense, I believe we had the freshest legs of any team.” “However, [other clubs] had line-up stability as well. So, in a competition like this, that’s what you have to consider. It’s not the same as a World Cup. It’s unusual because there were more replacements than there have ever been.”
It’s unclear if Morgan was implying that the greater number of permitted replacements meant that less rotation was required; that would have been an excellent argument. It was arguably unnecessary to present five different starting lineups in five games with five replacements. Instead of simply pulling players off for the sake of it, Andonovski might have made greater use of his replacements if he had adhered to more regular starting lineups.
The USWNT became overly preoccupied with its litigation or politics: 0/10
Anyone who argues that the USWNT failed in Japan because they were too preoccupied with social justice is obviously not following the team or has never followed the team. These are the kind of individuals who should be mocked or disregarded.
– Men’s union: The United States Soccer Federation delivers a “corrosive” message – Following an equal pay complaint, the USWNT has filed an appeal.
The United States Women’s National Team has a long history of being one of the most dominating teams in sports, and they’ve done so while pushing for better treatment and compensation. There’s a whole book dedicated to it, but you don’t have to go any farther than the 2019 World Cup. Only months before, the USWNT filed an equal pay lawsuit, Megan Rapinoe got into a battle with Donald Trump (which he apparently initiated), and both the USWNT and Rapinoe destroyed their rivals.
The proof is in the pudding: the USWNT has won more tournaments when they care about social justice than when they don’t.
Before the Olympics, the USWNT didn’t lose enough: 7/10
The USWNT’s fans are used to victory. Coaches have become so used to losing that a single defeat may result in demands to dismiss them, creating a culture where it is difficult for them to experiment and take the risks that result in losses.
However, losses are a positive thing. Losing games before to the 2015 World Cup, according to Jill Ellis, enabled the squad to win the title, and she believes the USWNT would not have progressed as far without those defeats. It’s simple to understand why: losses push you to examine your flaws and throw off any sense of complacency.
– Olympic medal standings | Timetable
Vlatko Andonovski had never lost a game with the USWNT before the Olympics, and the squad enjoyed a 44-game undefeated run when it arrived in Japan. So, where was there going to be any real introspection? What inspired players to examine themselves in the mirror and delve a bit deeper? The explanation seems to be that the items went lost in Japan.
The USWNT’s mindset was harmed by the absence of spectators: 6/10
The USWNT will be followed by Americans everywhere they go. Reims, a charming city renowned for its wine production and Gothic architecture, appeared like an American vacation town before the opening of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. The hordes of Americans departed as soon as the USWNT left, following the USWNT from city to city throughout France. Except for the quarterfinal against France, the players acknowledged that every encounter in France seemed like a home game.
However, no American has accompanied the USWNT to Japan.
The USWNT’s games have been mainly played in empty, dead-silent venues as a result of the epidemic. The athletes have said that it isn’t a huge issue since they have been used to it throughout the epidemic. But the reality is that no other team would have as much support as the USWNT if supporters were permitted in Japan. It’s difficult to quantify the effect, but ask any athlete: supporters give them that additional push, and the USWNT adds that extra swagger to put on a show.
“We know that excitement and everything will come from us since it’s a big event without fans,” Rose Lavelle remarked during the group stage. “Every single player and staff person contributes, so that’s something we’ve been stressing as well.”
But it’s obvious that it didn’t work, and there’s no replacement for a stadium packed with mainly USWNT supporters. The absence of fans is just one aspect of the psychological strain experienced during the pandemic’s first 16 months, but it’s a significant one.
The tone was established for the United States in their 3-0 loss to Sweden in the first game, but the lessons were not learnt as they battled to create a rhythm from game to game. Getty Images/Ian MacNicol
The USWNT has ‘caught up’ with the rest of the world: 4/10
If the issue was if there were other teams in Japan capable of defeating the USWNT, there is a 100 percent chance that it was a part in the USWNT’s defeat: teams like Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as the USWNT, were favorites before the tournament ever began. But it’s a lot less probable that the world has “caught up,” meaning that the field has become substantially more tough than in previous years.
The truth is that women’s soccer has been rapidly developing for many years, and there have always been strong teams capable of defeating the USWNT. The 2019 Women’s World Cup was by far the most challenging in history, with more teams than ever looking like championship challengers, and just because the USWNT won it in style doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult.
Sure, the USWNT’s failure to reach the gold-medal match in Tokyo may herald a new era in women’s soccer in which the USWNT never again makes it to a final. But unless the USWNT disbands tomorrow, it seems unlikely.
True, there are many teams capable of winning every big event, and that number is increasing, but the USWNT reaching the final is never a certain conclusion. It wasn’t a certainty in 2016, when the USWNT was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics, and it wasn’t a given in 1995, 2003, or 2007, when the USWNT failed to reach the World Cup finals.
The USWNT’s performance wasn’t all that bad: 5/10
It’s depressing to look at the USWNT’s performances rather than the outcomes. The players themselves admitted that they looked terrible as a group and as individuals. The squad on the field was often unrecognizable to the supporters.
But, in the grand scheme of things, reaching the last four of a big event isn’t bad. Only once in the team’s history has the USWNT failed to go that far, and it was in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics. This brings the outcomes of the Tokyo Olympics in line with the USWNT’s expectations.
After the defeat to Canada, Lloyd remarked, “This was my seventh tournament, and they’ve all been different.” “They’ve all had a distinct narrative, began and ended in various ways, some were beautiful, others were nasty, and some we barely made it through. We didn’t make it through this one.”
It’s easy to forget that the United States Women’s National Team won the 2015 World Cup by playing tough soccer for the majority of the tournament. After the first few games, commentators and former USWNT players questioned why coach Jill Ellis hadn’t already been dismissed. The USWNT improved in subsequent games, something it couldn’t accomplish in Japan, but it was far from unbeatable.
Even when the USWNT wasn’t playing well, the ball tended to bounce their way in previous tournaments. The USWNT didn’t have the same luck this time around, and luck may make all the difference.