Back-to-back World Cup winners don’t grow on trees, but how many of the 2015 and 2019 champs should comprise the USWNT’s Best XI of the 2010s?
Choosing a men’s Best XI was difficult enough. Claiming the women’s top team is darn near impossible.
That won’t stop us from trying, especially given there are more hours in the year than there are posts to write in earnest.
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The challenge in putting together an XI given this decade’s accolades is how many shiny attacking toys produced by this fine country.
Start rattling off the big names and you’ll see the struggle: Wambach, Morgan, Lloyd, Heath, Rapinoe, O’Reilly.
Shoot: Amy Rodriguez and Christen Press would be the best attackers of the decade if their nationality was any of about 125 other options (FIFA only ranks 141 women’s teams).
So we are going to cheat a little bit.
Our Best XI will play three at the back despite the fact that the Yanks rarely if ever operated that way. The reason is the Yanks have one no-doubter fullback who played left back in one World Cup win and right back in another.
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Ali Krieger is a fit enough choice for right back, but can the newlywed star justify her place over one of the attacking heroes we’d like to swing into the fold? Meh.
Plus Julie Ertz at center mid gives us a bonus center back, and we’re willing to bet that either Becky Sauerbrunn or she would make for one heck of a full back in a pinch.
Lauren Holiday slides into the midfield alongside Ertz. The superstar retired near the peak of her powers to start a family with NBA husband Jrue Holiday, and we can hope that she wins the soccer or hoop debate if her children are sport-inclined.
That all brings us to the attackers.
Tobin Heath may be the flashiest and most fun attackers in the world, but she’s just missing out. It was either her or Abby Wambach, and the latter is the current (though not for long) leading scorer in the history of the game.
O’Hara — Rampone — Sauerbrunn
Ertz — Holiday
Rapinoe — Lloyd — O’Reilly
Wambach — MorganFollow @NicholasMendola