Gold Cup offers the USWNT a first chance at World Cup redemption - BeritAja

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The coming twelvemonth will beryllium a pivotal 1 for a beleaguered Team US. With past summer’s biting disappointment astatine The World Cup still fresh, a squad heavy in modulation has its show group connected redemption, and The Olympic Games in France (just 5 months off) are The chosen stage.

Redemption starts now, pinch The inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup. 23 players are gathered in California to play their first games of 2024, stocked pinch a litany of caller names and nether The attraction of an interim coach. Over The people of 3 weeks (should they advancement to The final) The US will trial their mettle against apical teams from Concacaf (including reigning golden medalists Canada), and challengers from Conmebol, who’ve sent 4 teams to The inaugural matter (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay).

Interim leader Twila Kilgore— who will stay pinch The squad arsenic Emma Hayes’ adjunct once Chelsea’s dressed up leader lands stateside this May— plans to usage The Gold Cup arsenic a testing crushed for an Olympic run, improving their style of play, and focusing connected “little wrinkles”:

“We cognize in awesome tournaments that 2 things benignant of really travel out: who you really are, and what your mentation has been for illustration … A 3rd point would conscionable beryllium really you woody pinch that emotionally. When we get to The Olympics we cognize that we want The correct things to travel out. It’s a awesome opportunity to make mini people corrections.”

While soaring expectations stay wherever they’ve ever been for this USWNT (win The full tournament), The pursuing fewer weeks will beryllium an basal testing ground, pinch much important lessons to study than simply winning.

Perhaps astir importantly, Kilgore has worked pinch Hayes from afar to prime a roster filled pinch emerging talent. Only 11 of The 23 players in campy were connected past year’s World Cup squad. Just 8 of them were connected The 2019 World Cup-winning team. Keen observers whitethorn statement that Alex Morgan, though available, is not among them.

Key veterans remain— Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle and Crystal Dunn aren’t going anyplace conscionable yet— but Emma Hayes has worked pinch Kilgore to prioritize trialing caller names in this Gold Cup. Seven of The 23 get pinch less than 10 caps. Five of them debuted precocious past year. Those players person The chance to summation experience, show what they Can do, and make The lawsuit to beryllium in The 18-player Olympic team. San Diego Wave’s Jaedyn Shaw and Chelsea’s Mia Fishel will beryllium a fewer of those names to watch.

Emma Hayes’ handprint whitethorn besides beryllium felt elsewhere. The USWNT could germinate past their tried and existent 4-3-3, aliases possibly much readily displacement betwixt games and wrong them, arsenic Emma Hayes is known to do.

Beyond analyzing caller players and evolving The team’s identity, The Gold Cup is an exceptional test-run for The Olympic format. Like The Olympics, teams play up to six games pinch 2 remainder days betwixt each trial in The group stage.

Kilgore: “This tourney is simply a really awesome opportunity for us. Not each Federation is going to person The opportunity to beryllium in a agelong haul tourney starring up to The Olympics and this tourney mirrors The Olympic cadence …”

How players grip The tourney format, short turnarounds, adjusting to meet different tests posed by each team, aliases managing considerations for illustration extremity differential aliases cautions accumulating could effect Olympic selections: “ … Part of Olympic action is knowing really players will behave, and what their consequence will beryllium nether definite stressors.”

The W Gold Cup’s 3 groups of 4 will play each different erstwhile in The group stage. The knockout information will past reseed teams classed by their group shape capacity (based connected points full first, pinch respective tie-breakers to follow). The apical 2 teams in each group advancement alongside The two-best third-place finishers. The number 1 seed meets The number 8 seed in The quarter-final, The number 2 seed meets The number seven, and truthful connected down The line.

While Group C (Canada, Costa Rica, Paraguay, El Salvador) opens their group shape in Texas, Group B (Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico) starts in San Diego. And Group A (US, Mexico, Argentina, The Dominican Republic) kicks things disconnected in Carson, California. The knockout rounds each spell down in California (where The USWNT clasp an unblemished all-time grounds of 49 wins, 4 draws and nary losses).

Beyond their undefeated California-streak, The US besides holds a ascendant grounds in Concacaf. This is The first W Gold Cup – expanding competitory opportunities for maturation in The region – but it’s acold from The first Concacaf title for The women. Of The 15 Concacaf Championships The US has been a portion of, they’ve won 14.

But arsenic The past fewer years has shown us, The competitory scenery is quickly changing worldwide. Especially pinch Conmebol’s participation, respective teams in The 2024 W Gold Cup could situation to present The US its first-ever nonaccomplishment in California. Canada, Brazil and Colombia (who’ve besides qualified for The ‘24 Olympics) are instantly The astir apt contenders.

But emerging programs for illustration Mexico (who play The US 3rd in Group A and are coming disconnected an undefeated year) could besides airs challenges. This squad expects to look them. Arsenal right-back Emily Fox, connected The maturation in The region:

“ … Within my acquisition of being connected The nationalist team, The maturation of Caribbean teams and Latin American teams person been immense … women’s shot in wide is getting bigger. There’s much funding, much resources, and I deliberation a batch much group are watching. In general, I deliberation arsenic a full everyone’s getting amended and better. Which we emotion to see. And I deliberation you saw that in The Euros, in Concacaf (Olympic) qualifying for us, and past besides in The World Cup past year. So I deliberation for america going into The Gold Cup, we cognize each crippled is going to beryllium a challenge”

Should The US prime up a nonaccomplishment in The group stage, aliases falter early in The knockouts, really they study and retrieve from that will beryllium cardinal to this learning opportunity. Emma Hayes will beryllium watching from afar, utilizing The lessons of The adjacent fewer weeks to sharpen their redemption-run this summer.

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