Jun 16, 2019; Paris, FRANCE; United States head coach Jill Ellis (right) reacts with United States midfielder Lindsey Horan (9) on the sidelines against Chile in group stage play during the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 at Parc des Princes. Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports
PARIS (Reuters) – The United States’ squad is more motivated than ever, coach Jill Ellis said on Sunday after making seven changes in the 3-0 win against Chile in the women’s World Cup to give her fringe players an opportunity to get rid of any tournament nerves.
The defending champions thrashed Thailand 13-0 in their opening Group F match, but with the demanding schedule in mind, Ellis opted to drop key players like Alex Morgan, who had fired five goals in that game, to boost the team’s overall morale.
“There are a lot of games in this tournament. If you want to go far you have to have the legs. I don’t have any concerns in terms of losing any rhythm. They are hungry and ready to go,” Ellis told a news conference.
Among the changes veteran Carli Lloyd came in for Morgan leading from the front and scoring twice, but there was also a start for 20-year-old left-back Tierna Davidson, who provided two assists at the Parc des Princes.
“In terms of trusting the team, it’s the bigger picture plan that we have done over the last few months with rotations. You get suspensions, injuries so you have to prepare for all those things,” Ellis said.
Ellis was also able to bring on the remainder of her outfield players in the second-half ensuring that apart from the reserve goalkeepers, the entire squad has already played at the tournament in France.
“Every player wants to play a maximum minutes. That’s what you want and the important thing for us is that players are ready to do any role,” Ellis said.
“Every single player has got the butterflies out of the way and they know that trust is there.”
The United States will play Sweden on June 20 to decide who tops the group.
Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Christian Radnedge