In a match that wasn’t as close as the scoreline indicated, the United States blew away Japan, 4-2, with an Alex Morgan hat trick netting the hosts another win over their Asian rivals. Megan Rapinoe also had a goal and an assist for the American offense, which ran riot in an impressive win.
|14 (8)||Shots (On Goal)||11 (4)|
|500 (83%)||Passes (% Complete)||453 (82%)|
|54||Challenge % Won||46|
|71||Aerial Challenge % Won||29|
|44||Successful Dribble %||50|
|80||Tackles Won %||77|
Woman of the Match – Alex Morgan (USA)
6 shots (4 on-target)
1 key pass
7 challenges won (out of 13)
5 aerial challenges won (out of 7)
1 tackle won (out of 2)
3 ball recoveries
Morgan’s form at club level has run hot and cold this season and has frustrated Orlando supporters, but this was a reminder that when the USWNT forward gets hot, she goes supernova on opponents. The goals were obviously the big part of Morgan’s game but not the only part of her performance. The U.S. absolutely crushed Japan in the air in this win, and Morgan was a big part of that, winning five challenges, easily the most in a match where nobody else won more than two duels on the night.
2. McCall Zerboni (USA)
Key Stat: 6 challenges won (out of 8)
Zerboni had a strong showing off the bench in this one, doing some great work despite playing about a half for the USWNT. Her passing was surprisingly strong, completing 85% of them while also adding a few key passes for the Americans. She also was strong defensively, winning all three tackle attempts and both aerial duels while netting four ball recoveries.
3. Narumi Miura (JPN)
Key Stat: 87% pass completion (48 passes)
It’s been a sometimes painful rebuilding process for Japan over the past few years, but they’ve got a pipeline of alluring talent coming through the ranks after being one of the dominant nations at the U20 and U17 World Cups in recent cycles. Miura is one of those young talents and may have had a breakthrough performance, even with Japan being beaten. In addition to her accurate passing, Miura’s defense was excellent as well. She won 8-of-11 challenges, including winning six tackles.
4. Casey Short (USA)
Key Stat: 90% pass completion (9 passes complete)
Short appears to have lost her starting spot based on this tournament’s evidence, but she clearly has a lot to still offer as an impact sub. Percentages instead of volume probably helped Short up this ranking list, but she was effective in her brief time on the pitch. She won her only challenge, completed almost all of her passes, and didn’t net a single turnover.
5. Mina Tanaka (JPN)
Key Stat: 2 shot (1 shot on-target)
Admittedly, it was pretty slim pickings for Japan, but Miura and Tanaka both showed why the future is so bright for the Asian champions. Tanaka’s importance was only underlined by how poorly Mana Iwabuchi was for this tournament. She did little but score, but on a team where few others looked like managing even that, her finding the back of the net was a big relief for Japanese supporters.
Ballon D’Nope (Minimum 30 Minutes Played)
1. Mana Iwabuchi (JPN)
Key Stat: 0 shots, 0 key passes, 0 successful dribbles
Saddled with a reputation of being wildly inconsistent, Iwabuchi was definitely on the lower end of that spectrum during a brutal ToN. This was an uninspiring portent for the future, as Iwabuchi did very little of note during her hour on the pitch. In addition to the absent offensive numbers noted above, she lost 6-of-8 challenges on the day and was largely overshadowed by understudy Tanaka.
2. Shiori Miyake (JPN)
Key Stat: 5 key mistakes
Another one of Japan’s youngsters trying to make the leap up to full international level, Miyake got tossed to the wolves and was eviscerated by Alex Morgan and the U.S. attack. Astonishingly, Miyake was guilty of errors on all four of the USWNT’s goals on the evening. While she was confident with her passing, Miyake just never looked at ease against the power and pace of the American forwards and ended up winning just two challenges (and losing three) on the day.
3. Saori Ariyoshi (JPN)
Key Stat: 6 challenges lost (out of 9)
Ariyoshi completed passes at a high rate (85%)…and that was about it. She was unable to match Miura’s tenacity and was unable to really affect the game defensively. Ariyoshi netted just three ball recoveries in nearly the entire match, a crucial stat considering the Japanese midfield was going to have to win balls at a high rate to contend against the high energy Americans in the center of the park.