August 12, 2022

The United States Women’s National Team came away with a 3-0 win in Commerce City, Colorado on Saturday night, but Colombia goalie Catalina Pérez was one of the game’s biggest stories – saving not one, but two penalty attempts during the game.

Lindsey Horan, a Colorado native and the first to see Pérez land his attempt, asked about the two saves in the mixed zone. “Yeah,” she laughed, “that sucks, huh?”

Aside from the inconvenience of the moment, the timing may have been a bit of a blessing in disguise. Two penalty saves in a friendly before a major tournament where penalties could become a factor is certainly preferable to the alternative.

“We prepared so well for these kinds of moments,” Horan said. “Obviously (Pérez) made two great saves. Rose and I both know we have to be better at times like this. This stuff happens, and we move on. Each is an autonomous moment. I had all the faith in the world in Rose at that time, and the next one she has, she will score.

Ultimately, based on everyone’s feedback on the team’s approach to penalty kicks, it looks like nothing will change at all beyond some extra training thrown into the mix. As Megan Rapinoe said in the mixed zone after the game, “It’ll be the rotation coming up: Lindsey is number one, Rose is number two.”

On Monday, head coach Vlatko Andonovksi expanded his decision-making role when it comes to choosing penalty takers for the team.

“First and foremost is the data we have – Lindsey and Rose have been great taking penalties in practice and in the league, or wherever the markets (are),” he said. declared. Horan has generally not been a designated taker for his club teams, with Christine Sinclair the reference at Portland and responsibilities at Lyon split between several players. Lavelle’s record at club level this year is one to two with the Reign.

Lindsey Horan PK tries 2021-2022

DateCrewOpponentConverted?Remarks

06/25/22

UNITED STATES

Colombia

Nope

Checked in

11/26/21

UNITED STATES

Australia

Yes

06/13/21

UNITED STATES

Jamaica

Yes

08/05/21

The spikes

FC Gotham

Yes

Challenge Cup Shootout

Rose Lavelle PK Tent 2021-2022

DateCrewOpponentConverted?Remarks

06/25/22

UNITED STATES

Colombia

Nope

Checked in

05/04/22

Reign

Spirit

Yes

05/01/22

Reign

Spirit

Nope

Checked in

07/30/21

UNITED STATES

Netherlands

Yes

Olympic QF penalty shootout

05/09/21

Manchester City

West Ham

Nope

Checked in

And while Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are back on the roster, it looks like Andonovski expects them both to play a bigger role off the bench.

“We need to have someone who we think will be a consistent starter, match in and game out, to be designated a penalty taker,” he said. “Even after the fact that they (Horan and Lavelle) both missed a penalty, I don’t think anything will change. We believe in their skill and their ability to score shots on goal.”

This training data will never be made public, leaving those of us on the outside with only game data to work on. And there’s no clue yet as to how the USWNT might approach a penalty shootout, whether it’s the W Championship or the 2023 World Cup. Olympic final against the Netherlands last year, Lavelle, Morgan, Christen Press and Rapinoe all converted in the decisive shootout.

Lavelle’s place in the order could change, but it’s a lock. Morgan and Rapinoe are also options this summer. Participant or not, Andonovski would likely cause an international incident if he didn’t replace Rapinoe for a shootout spot.

Megan Rapinoe PK tries 2021-2022

DateCrewOpponentConverted?Remarks

10/13/21

Reign

Thorns CF

Yes

08/29/21

Reign

Thorns CF

Yes

08/21/21

Reign

FC Gotham

Yes

08/21/21

Reign

FC Gotham

Yes

07/30/21

UNITED STATES

Netherlands

Yes

QF Olympic Shootout

04/13/21

UNITED STATES

France

Yes

04/10/21

UNITED STATES

Sweden

Yes

01/22/21

UNITED STATES

Colombia

Yes

Morgan also has a strong case for being one of five to consider her NWSL form this year, with four penalties and a 100% conversion rate.

Alex Morgan PK tries 2021-2022

DateCrewOpponentConverted?Remarks

06/04/22

Wave FC

Running

Yes

05/15/22

Wave FC

red stars

Yes

05/07/22

Wave FC

FC Gotham

Yes

05/07/22

Wave FC

FC Gotham

Yes

07/30/21

UNITED STATES

Netherlands

Yes

Olympic QF penalty shootout

10/13/21

Pride

red stars

Nope

Wide left

05/30/21

Pride

Running

Nope

Straight post

That’s four names for a hypothetical shooting this summer in Mexico. So who could take that last spot?

There are no other names available on the roster who took a penalty for the USWNT: Carli Lloyd was in the mix before his retirement, Morgan Brian and Sam Mewis each took and converted their only attempt. Again, there is no visibility into training data, but there may be a case for players based on their NWSL performance, which broadens the scope.

Both Sophia Smith and Mal Push have converted shots on goal this season in the NWSL. With Smith and Pugh looking locked in like two-thirds of the starting front line, they can both be options (depending on replacements).

A look back at the 2021 season, however, might provide one of the best candidates: defensive midfielder Andi Sullivan. She converted three penalties for the Washington Spirit in their run to the NWSL Championship and victory at Louisville. She scored one against Kansas City in September, then against Racing in October, before capping it all off with a goal in the league game against Chicago for the equalizer. Given her increased role as the USWNT No. 6 and Andonovski’s confidence in her game, she might also be one of the players most likely to still be on the court for a shootout.

Two other potential names to consider based on successful shots in the NWSL, although the two have fought for substantial minutes in the USWNT: Ashley Hatch and Midge Purce.

But despite all the possibilities, Horan and Lavelle may be the only ones we see passing by for a while.

“I think it’s important for them to see the confidence that we have in them,” Andonovski said Monday, “and most importantly, that he’s backed by someone like Megan Rapinoe. She believes they’re good and in what they do, and she also supports and helps them in every possible way through her own experience.

On Saturday night, Rapinoe acknowledged the frustration of the moment, but said there would be long-term benefits if Horan and Lavelle used it as a chance to revise their own routine on the spot.

“It’s good to miss, it’s good to have that experience and to have it under your belt in a friendly game and not in a big game,” she said. “Anyway, whatever happens, get in there and take it. Do your routine, be confident and the rest is all.

(Photo: Justin Tafoya/ISI Photos)