June 23, 2015
Ellis must decide on who will replace Rapinoe, Holiday vs. China in WWC quarterfinals
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Before the United States faces China in the FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinals, head coach Jill Ellis has some tough decisions to make as she must find a way to replace half her midfield.
|Regardless who replaces her at left wing, Megan Rapinoe will be one tough act to follow for the U.S. women.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Veterans Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday will be suspended for Friday night's match in Ottawa after incurring their second yellow cards of the competition in the Americans' 2-0 victory over Colombia in the Round of 16 Monday night.
"Obviously, I've got some decisions to make," Ellis said. "We have invested in players significantly over the past six months. We've dealt with injuries. I feel very confident in the players we have to be able to come on and contribute.
"I know they're going to be confident to be able and step up and advance."
It will be difficult to duplicate the leadership and skills of each player. Rapinoe, who plays on the left flank, has been the team's most effective attacking player through four games with two goals and two assists. While Holiday has had an inconsistent World Cup, her experience comes into play in tight situations at central midfield.
"It's going to be tough," said midfielder Carli Lloyd, whose penalty kick turned into an important insurance goal Monday night. "We knew going in they were sitting with a yellow. But we've got to more on. They'll be missed."
Ellis wouldn't say who would replace Rapinoe.
"She's a tremendous player," she said. "We've got players with tremendous technical skills. We've got good pace in certain positions. I know that they will step up. I have the utmost confidence in the players we have."
Morgan Brian, the youngest player on the team at 22, probably will step in for Holiday.
"I think Morgan will be a likely replacement there," Ellis said, adding that she had partnered Brian with Lloyd and Holiday for circumstances such as this. "Moe's a tremendous ball distributor.".
Tobin Heath, who played a full 90 minutes at right midfield against Colombia. also is a possible replacement, Ellis said. "Tobin's good on services and set pieces," she said. "So we have other options there for us.