fox sports insider
San Jose, California. — In a quiet moment about an hour before the United States takes its final assignment before heading into the Women’s World Cup, captain Lindsay Horan gently pulls Trinity Rodman aside and begins to speak.
What she was talking about was not so much advice but a prophecy that was about to come true soon.
Horan told his young partner, “You have one chance.” “You are not the beginning, but you will come and make a difference.”
Indeed, Rodman was the X-factor for the Americans on Sunday, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Wales at PayPal Park on an afternoon that was becoming increasingly difficult for the two-time defending World Cup champions.
Wales were flexible and, without three of their more creative players, were necessarily defensive. Rodman, 21 and full of fearless entrepreneurial spirit, proved after coming on in the half to have what it took to break the game, opening the scoring in the 76th minute by heading in Sophia Smith’s cross and then finishing with an excellent Sealed the game with the try. .Three minutes from the end – An excellent strike from the edge of the box.
“That,” U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovsky later told me, “was a world-class goal.”
America is at no. He is number one in the world for a reason and has a team full of outstanding athletes and outstanding professionals, some of the best in the business. During the World Cup, all teams, even the great ones, want someone with a special ability to make a meaningful contribution when they need it most.
In recent years it was quietly assumed that Rodman could develop into that player, and perhaps reach his full potential in four years, when the World Cup begins.
Based on this evidence, it is now time for their turn as superstars as Australia and New Zealand prepare to see the world’s best women’s teams compete for five weeks of bragging rights.
Rodman knows he has a special talent, but that talent doesn’t seem to have a mental burden attached to it. It’s not hard to imagine a world where the American public will fall in love with her over the next month, because the combination of a beautiful and intriguing clutch artist is an irresistible combination for soccer obsessives and casual fans alike.
Megan Rapinoe has announced her impending retirement and Alex Morgan is inching closer to his fourth World Cup, which means it will soon be time for new legends. In the popularity stakes, Rodman probably raises her hand.
She talks freely about whatever’s on her mind, whether it’s her love for colours, her fashion sense, the Welsh defensive press or, on National Team Media Day two weeks ago, her NBA icon father. He has a relationship with Dennis Rodman.
But she knows what she’s here for – and she accepts it.
When I asked her how important it is to step up in crucial moments, she said, “That’s the goal every time I step on the field.” “That’s where the game-changer comes into play. It doesn’t matter whether you start or come on in the 80th minute, when you come on you have to make a difference and I think I did that today.
It is important to keep things in perspective. It was not a game played in a World Cup environment, it was a win against the number one opponent. 30.
That said, Wales were strong defensively and had their eyes on suppressing the American attack. This worked for a long time before Rodman found a way to break the impasse.
In some ways, it was the perfect preparation for what would happen next. World Cup matches are often tense, and we can expect this trend to grow as the overall strength of women’s international football continues to develop rapidly.
None of America’s rivals — starting with Vietnam on July 21 at 9 p.m. ET — will not need a reminder of the offensive threats that lie within Andonovsky’s group. All but a few teams should be expected to exercise some degree of caution and an emphasis on good, old-fashioned, solid defense, which is what America will face.
Morgan said, “We were talking about it on the bench before Trinity scored.” “It really is a perfect opponent. It is almost easier to play against the team you play against directly. We are going to see such teams and we need to bring out our creativity. It was good that it challenged us, frustrated us in a certain way.
In such situations, it is not always possible to defeat the opponent. Banging on the door and waiting patiently for it to open doesn’t always have the desired effect.
Rodman offers something different, and it’s something that’s hard to quantify. Sometimes it just takes a bit of luck to coincide with being in the right place and the right time. Sometimes the intuition is that the players themselves don’t understand making a certain move, or doing something out of the box. Sometimes it’s enough to have that fearless belief that when the time comes, there’s no pause for thought, only icy execution.
By the time Rodman scored, the Americans probably should have been ahead. Teenager Alyssa Thompson had a clear chance in the second half, but could not find the target from six yards. Shortly afterwards, Alana Cook’s powerful header was bravely cleared off the line by Wales’ Kyle Green.
By then it was starting to feel like one of those weird afternoons of football where the ball just wouldn’t go in, no matter how hard the leading team tried.
Well, until Rodman stepped in and everything changed. To fulfill Horan’s prophecy, to stun Americans and hog the limelight.
Trinity Rodman, as America quickly found out, is many things. Could it be that he too… is inevitable?
Martin Rogers is a columnist for Fox Sports and author of the Fox Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @mrrogersfox And Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter,
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