Action from the CONCACAF Women's Championship match between the USA (white jersey) and Trinidad & Tobago on October 15, 2014. (Photo: Mexsport)
BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois – The United States is the top-ranked women's national team in the world, so head coach Jill Ellis naturally expected more from Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship.
On Friday, the Americans will face Guatemala at Toyota Park in the second Group A game for each. The Central Americans, who dropped a 9-0 decision to the U.S. in the same competition four years ago, need a draw to keep their World Cup qualifying hopes alive.
Ellis is taking nothing for granted and feels that there is room for improvement on both sides of the ball.
"It's a learning process with this group," she said. "There are certain things that sometimes we think will happen right away. We should do a better job finishing.
About the defense, Ellis added: "We at times were just sloppy. We handed them opportunities."
The former U.S. under-20 national team head coach, though, was quick to credit Trinidad’s game plan and play.
"We don’t often see teams that sit as organized and put so many numbers behind the ball, so for us it was an excellent challenge," expressed Ellis. "Defensively, we gave up some big mistakes, but for us right now, it literally is about regrouping and getting ready for Friday.”
Veteran striker Abby Wambach, whose world-record 171st international goal turned out to be the difference against the Caribbean champion, agreed.
“Every single player, all of us in the dressing room right now, we’re embarrassed because that’s not the way we want to play soccer,” said the Western New York Flash forward. “That’s not our style and the soccer we want to play.
“Sometimes you’re going to play against teams that are going to bunker in; sometimes you’re going to play against teams that pose problems for you and make it hard for you to play your style of soccer. We want to get back to what we do well, and those things will come in the upcoming games I’m sure. We have to fix the problems, fix the issues that made it so difficult for us to score goals.”