Alex Morgan: Analysing Her Performance for Team USA vs. Korea DPRJuly 31, 2012
The U.S. Women's National Team remain unbeaten in the 2012 London Olympics, thanks to a wonderful final Group G performance.
Although they only bagged one goal, five or six would hardly have flattered them as they dominated a beleaguered North Korean team.
Just like in USWNT's opener against France, in which Alex Morgan was instrumental to their success, "Baby Horse" put in a quietly brilliant performance here.
Let's break down how Morgan played today.
While USWNT lined up in a 4-4-2, Abby Wambach was the only true striker in the formation.
Morgan was pretty much allowed the freedom of the front line and drifted freely from left to right and from forward to deep.
This allowed Morgan to use her clever footballing style to find the gaps in Korea DPR's formation, and she used Wambach's presence to her aid.
Korea DPR's defensive line was far from assured and positionally terrible, so both North Korean centre-backs often chose to double-mark Wambach as she was the only one close. This typically opened up a lot of space for Morgan to operate in.
To add further fragility to North Korea's defensive structure, the full-backs remained unsure on how to cope with Morgan roaming the channels with liberty due to the absence of central defenders.
A good performance
Despite not managing to get onto the scoresheet, Morgan turned in a terrific performance that yet again had defences wishing the 90 minutes could end sooner than ever before.
She was at her most dangerous when lingering around the edge of penalty box in the "D," frequently taking up unmarked positions and unlocking shooting opportunities.
With North Korea's clearances far from comprehensive, Morgan latched onto a number of stray balls in this area and, in the fifth and 14th minutes, unleashed good shots—one of which struck the post.
After she'd missed a few she turned provider instead, utilising the same position as well as marauding in the channels.
She used her clever footballing brain on a number of occasions to slip in great passes and really, her teammates should have bagged two or three goals off her supply—Heather O'Reilly in particular could have grabbed one or two.
Throughout the game I was scratching my head, trying to work out which male footballer Morgan reminded me of—then it hit me.
Her movement, understanding and clever utilisation of other players is akin to Raul of Real Madrid. Raul himself was the master of movement and finding space, and Morgan for me is the women's equivalent.
She plays in a pivotal role and puts in great performances without getting noticed all of the time. Wambach will grab the headlines just how Megan Rapinoe grabbed them in the win over France, but Morgan has an important role in this seemingly unbeatable USWNT.