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USWNT 1-2 Germany: A game of inches

Fine margins differentiate the two sides in Fort Lauderdale

United States v Germany - Women’s International Friendly Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

When the very best teams in the world play each other, usually it takes one moment or a few inches to settle the game between them. On Thursday night, the width of the post and some quick thinking gave Germany a 2-1 win over the USWNT.

The first goal of the game came after the USWNT had spent a large portion of the first half wondering if they had put on the wrong cleats. The hosts created chances, big chances that they should’ve scored from but they didn’t which led to what we saw in the second half.

Lindsey Horan, who should’ve put the US ahead on two occasions in the first half, attempted a spectacular volley which bounced off the post and away. In mere second, Germany raced to the other end of the pitch and after pulling off a fantastic save, Casey Murphy could only watch as the ball bounced off her back and into the net.

Fine margins.

The USWNT looked to their old guard to try and lift the team once again and for a brief moment, they did exactly that. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe combined to tie things up and potentially help the hosts take it up a gear to find a winner.

Instead, Germany won the game from some quick thinking by Lena Oberdorf.

After the referee awarded a free kick to the visitors, Oberdorf quickly recognised that not only was the USWNT not in position but that should Jule Brand get on the other side of Alana Cook, she had a chance to win the game. Brand did exactly that and instead of going for glory herself, picked out Paulina Krumbiegel who finished into an open net. Alana Cook and Crystal Dunn did not cover themselves in glory during that goal but they were caught flat-footed by Oberdorf’s reading of the game.

Again, fine margins.

When you have an xG of 1.84 and your opponent has one of 1.54, it shows you just how different the game could’ve been had the ball been a few inches one way of the other. Instead, Germany take the first game in this series without their best eleven and will look to emulate this result on Sunday night as well.

This will be another steep learning curve for a USWNT that has integrated a lot of younger players. Those players will need to step up and be the game-changers that past players have been for the USWNT. If they don’t, by the time the World Cup rolls around next year, the USWNT may be headed for a quick exit out of the tournament.