Taking a look back at inaugural SheBelieves Cup

usa she believes

by TOM SLATER

From nearly every aspect, the inaugural SheBelieves Cup was an overwhelming success for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Four of the five top-ranked teams in the world were invited to this prestigious tournament. Attendance was great in all three venues. On the field, there were six closely contested matches – five were decided by one goal and the other was a scoreless draw. Through the first four matches, all the game winners were scored late in the game, adding drama to the victories.

It wasn’t bad for the United States, either. They obviously won the tournament, beating England, France and Germany each by a goal. They swept the individual awards with Alex Morgan getting a double nod with the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball as the top scorer and overall player. Goalkeeper Hope Solo allowed one goal to pick up the Golden Glove.

With a month off until a pair of friendlies against Colombia, here’s the final takeaways on the 2016 SheBelieves Cup.

TV please: Only one game was televised – the England match versus the United States. Two matches involving the Americans were only available on web with a cable subscription via ESPN 3. The other three matches were not available at all in the US. Yes, it was held during March Madness here in the United States and many TV contracts were already drawn up, but next year, find a way to televise this tournament — especially if the talent is again of this caliber.

Silent Lloyd: Carli Lloyd went silent in the tournament and has been scoreless in four straight games for the United States. The last time she had that kind of scoreless streak was the lead up to last year’s Women’s World Cup.

And we all remember how that turned out.

Lloyd has a history of scoring streaks and you have to up with these occasional dry spots. She nearly scored in the game’s opening minute by taking a long service and going in on the German goal with only goalkeeper Almuth Shult to beat but her shot went wide. She had more moments against Germany than she did in other tournament matches and she began to get touches in the second half against France. She’ll be hitting the nets soon.

The roster: Jill Ellis played nearly the same lineups the first two matches against England and France before making five changes in the lineup against Germany. The good news is that the young Americans are finding their way without the talents of icons Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, Megan Rapinoe and Christie Rampone. One question continues to be what Ellis will do with Heather O’Reilly. The high-energy midfielder was brought back to the roster for SheBelieves but didn’t see a minute on the pitch. There’s still about five months before the Olympics and much could happen. But for right now, O’Reilly continues to be on the bubble.