The US Women's National Team beat the Netherlands by a score of 2-0 in the World Cup final to win the nation’s second consecutive World Cup. Sam Mewis, Crystal Dunn and Abby Dahlkemper all started in the final, with Jessica McDonald being an unused sub.
Sam Mewis, Midfielder
Mewis returned to the starting lineup for the final, playing as part of a midfield trio with Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz. The trio has been dominant throughout the tournament, and that trend continued in the final.
Mewis nearly scored late in the first half, but Sari van Veenendaal made a good save on the header. The goal would have been her first since the opening game of the tournament, where she netted twice.
The midfielder assisted Lavelle’s goal in the second half. Mewis received the ball from Dunn before turning upfield and finding a sprinting Lavelle. Lavelle took it from just inside the Dutch half all the way to the edge of the box, where her left-footed effort flew into the back of the net.
Crystal Dunn, Defender
The Dutch, who were expected to play a 4-3-3 going into the game, came out in a 4-2-3-1, which afforded Dunn more freedom going forward as the player directly in front of her was further back.
Dunn had very little to do defensively in the first half, with a majority of the Dutch attacks coming down the middle. Dunn was decent going forward, but the Dutch keeper was equal to anything the U.S. could muster, making four saves in the first half.
The defender started the attack that led to the U.S.’s second goal. Dunn made a good sliding challenge at midfield to win the ball back. She then found her Courage teammate Mewis, who brought the ball forward to Lavelle for the goal.
Dunn nearly scored a great goal to put the game out of reach for the Netherlands in the 75th minute. Dribbling into the box, Dunn faked a shot past one defender, leaving her one-on-one with the keeper, but she couldn’t find the back of the net.
Abby Dahlkemper, Defender
With the Dutch coming out in a 4-2-3-1, Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn had to deal with Lineth Beerensteyn heading the attack and Vivianne Miedema playing just behind the striker.
While the partnership of Dahlkemper and Sauerbrunn has been solid this tournament, a lot of the goals the U.S. has conceded have come from passing splitting the pair. That weakness is something the Dutch attempted to exploit with their system, using Miedema as a playmaker to send Beerenstyen in behind the center backs.
Dahlkemper was booked in the 41st minute for bringing down Beerensteyn a few yards outside the U.S. box. The Dutch forward had broken away as part of a counterattack, and she tried to split the U.S. center backs on the dribble but was caught on the leg by Dahlkemper.
Dahlkemper had a rather uneventful second half apart from a foul committed on the edge of the U.S. box, which with the center back already in the referee’s book could have been very bad for the U.S.
Jessica McDonald, Forward
McDonald did not feature in the final, but the Forward was impressive during her one appearance in the tournament, which came against Chile in the group stage.