Rose Lavelle has found a new lease of life since re-joining the NWSL and signing with OL Reign. Her niggling injuries seemingly behind her, Lavelle has now shown that she is a key piece for both club and country.
Against Colombia, Lavelle finding space in midfield in the second half allowed the USWNT to take control of the game and thus, find the goals that were missing from the first half.
The first time she found real space in this game came after a half-time substitution which saw her and Ashley Sanchez look to pull apart the Colombian midfield and thus, exploit a solid backline. That half-time adjustment proved pivotal as the game wore on. When Sophia Smith scored her first of the night, it was Lavelle who had found space and used it perfectly to set up her teammate.
As shown above, Lavelle read the positioning of everyone around, skipped past the remaining player in midfield who could possibly stop her and then looked to feed Smith out wide in space. That spatial awareness is something that Rose Lavelle has always been good at, and after having to deal with so many injuries that derailed her form, she’s not back in top shape and pulling the strings in midfield.
The second goal, Lavelle’s second assist, was even better than the first.
Once again, Lavelle recognised where she, her teammates and her opponents were within mere seconds and then made the most of that space she had found. Smith finished well but what had been missing from the first half, that pocket of space needed to make the pass, was now appearing more and more often for Lavelle and the rest of the USWNT’s attacking players.
Rose Lavelle is magical to watch when she’s on song. She glides on the ball and can ride tackles with the best of them. If she feels she needs to keep her feet to find the perfect pass, she’ll do so and if she needs to quickly shift her feet to create a little more space for herself, she can do that too. The Lavelle we saw in the second half is close to unplayable and that’s the Lavelle that we all enjoy to watch and want to see more often.
She may have had a penalty saved later on but Lavelle’s ability to glide into space and pick a pass will be central to everything the USWNT want to do going forward. She’s in great form in the league and now she’s bringing that form to the USWNT midfield. Long may it continue,