The U.S. women's national team finished the group stage of the Rio Olympics on Tuesday and they are through to the knockout round, which starts on Friday. With wins against New Zealand and France, plus a draw to Colombia, the USWNT was able to top Group G and earn a favorable path through the quarterfinals.
But how did everyone do? Here's a look at our grades for each USWNT player, plus coach Jill Ellis:
Jill Ellis: C+
It's hard to get a lot wrong when you're the coach of the U.S. women's national team. The roster is full of choices between good players and great players. And given that the Americans won Group G and will advance to the quarterfinals, it's job done for Ellis, who didn't make any major blunders that cost the U.S. their spot atop the standings.
But Ellis underestimated Colombia and mismanaged the game before it even started, which nearly cost the Americans their spot on top of Group G. The mismanagement was most apparent in the odd decision to start Megan Rapinoe and play her for a pre-determined 30 minutes, burning a substitution in the first half, rather than waiting to see if the game allowed for it. Clearly, Ellis did not expect the Americans to be down 1-0 after 30 minutes, but that's why games aren't won on paper. It seems Ellis reconsidered not having the likes of Alex Morgan and Allie Long on the field and brought them on later, but if there were any other changes she wanted to make to secure a win, she didn't have the substitutions left to do it.
If the Americans had lost the match against Colombia, they could've faced a tough path in the quarterfinals against an in-form Canada. But in the end, the Americans scraped by and won the group, facing a struggling Swedish side next. Still, the issue with Rapinoe pointed to bigger questions about whether Rapinoe should even be on the roster after returning from an eight-month injury layoff in the middle of an Olympics.
Hope Solo: C
She went from the G.O.A.T. against France to a scapegoat against Colombia -- six brilliant game-saving stops in one match, followed by a huge unforced error and an underwhelming performance in the next. Solo has admitted that staying present in inconsequential matches can be difficult for a goalkeeper, and the stakes were lowest against Colombia, when Solo performed poorly in net, because the U.S. had all but advanced already. If there's a silver lining in Solo's disparate performances, it's that her best one came in the biggest match and there won't be any Colombia-level matches going forward. Still, she failed against Colombia, deserves an A for her match against France and she was barely tested against New Zealand, which balances out to a middling grade.
Becky Sauerbrunn: A
Rarely beaten and rarely shaken, Sauerbrunn provided the steady leadership in the back that everyone has come to expect. Her positioning was excellent, dropping back and covering for others as needed or stepping up to take opponents on one-on-one. The Americans were under siege for stretches against France, but Sauerbrunn stayed composed and kept her line organized.
Julie Johnston: A
She only played against New Zealand, a side that didn't give the Americans much trouble. Her positioning was good and disciplined and it was a straightforward performance from Johnston.
Whitney Engen: A-
She was asked to fill in for Julie Johnston twice following minor injury, and those are some big boots to fill -- not only because of Johnston's one-on-one defending and positioning, but her ability on set pieces. Engen could not quite match the latter, but did well in the central defense, particularly against a France side that kept her and partner Becky Sauerbrunn very busy.
Meghan Klingenberg: B-
She was beat pretty badly by French forward Marie-Laure Delie and Hope Solo bailed her out with an excellent save following another shaky moment early in that match. But as always, she played a key role in the attacking, throwing crosses into the box and pushing up high to provide an outlet. Her crosses and long balls weren't always on target, but she provided some decent service at times.
Kelley O'Hara: B-
Her attempted long balls weren't always well executed and led to some giveaways, but she can be forgiven thanks to her relentless tracking back and forth to cut out counterattacks on defense and help open the attack on offense. She had some very good crosses that weren't finished and provided a solid outlet up the field. France seemed to target O'Hara's side of the pitch, but she largely kept their opportunities at bay. O'Hara did commit the foul in a bad spot that led to Usme's beautiful second goal for Colombia by playing Usme rather than the ball.
Ali Krieger: B-
Her most significant minutes came against Colombia and she did relatively well in keeping the Colombians from advancing -- neither of Colombia's goals, two set pieces, were her fault. She nearly had an own goal against France as a substitute, but hit the side netting of goal and otherwise did well. She didn't bring too much to the attack, even as the U.S. tends to count on that from fullbacks, and she was relatively quiet going forward.
Carli Lloyd: A
It's not a coincidence that Lloyd played a role in goals across all three games -- she nearly scored one in each, if not for the woodwork in the match against Colombia. If there is a player on the pitch that the USWNT wants to get those big chances in front of goal, it's Lloyd -- she is more likely than anyone else to capitalize. It's not that she's a perfect player who never loses possession or scores on every chance, but she generally made something happen when the U.S. needed her to. She steps up in key moments, and that's why she is a game-changer for the USWNT.
Allie Long: A-
After she started the first two matches for the U.S., it became pretty clear: Once a bubble player, Long has moved way up the depth chart and is now one of Jill Ellis' preferred starters. And it became increasingly clear why, as her distribution and ability to maintain possession kept the U.S. attack moving and connected the team's lines. She was also quick to recover and win back the ball, putting in a high work-rate and playing a key defensive role. A year ago, it would've been hard to imagine Long being in this role, but she has worked on her fitness, speed of play and positioning to excel in the central midfield for the USWNT. She struggled a bit in the first half of the match against France, as the entire team did, but she was otherwise very good.
Lindsey Horan: B-
Her only start of the group stage came against Colombia, and she did pretty well. She had a good crack at goal that goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda did well to stop and she won a header opportunity in the second half that forced a good save out of Sepulveda, too. Horan generally did well in helping serve as a playmaker, finding passes in the final third and finding good spaces off the ball.
Morgan Brian: B
She shared defensive duties with Allie Long in the first two games and Lindsey Horan in the third and did pretty well with cutting out counterattacks and tracking back. But she was asked to be the more attacking one of the tandem and did a decent job distributing the ball. Her performances were not exactly standouts, but they were solid enough.
Megan Rapinoe: C-
She only played 30 minutes, her first since October of last year, and it was clear she was shaking off some rust. She had a good chance at goal toward the end of her shift that she didn't do enough with. She committed the foul that conceded the free kick on Colombia's first goal and could've easily seen red on that play for the reckless, two-footed, studs-up tackle from behind. On the other hand, she had a couple of nice crosses, and nearly notched an assist when Lloyd knocked a header off the crossbar. Ellis was clear that Rapinoe's crossing ability was partly why Rapinoe made the Olympics roster after such a long layoff, and Rapinoe's crosses were good against Colombia. But the rest of her game just wasn't good enough.
Mallory Pugh: B+
She had a relatively quiet outing in her first Olympic start against New Zealand until being subbed out for injury. She made some good runs but ultimately wasn't able to spark anything. Her outing against Colombia was much better, as she took on opponents and found ways to feed the ball to her teammates for chances on goal. Her goal against Colombia was a brilliant bit of individual effort -- she beat a couple defenders dribbling, and then beat a couple more on the shot itself.
Christen Press: C+
She played a full 90 against Colombia, her only significant minutes of the group stage, and she didn't really make the most of her opportunity. She had two big chances that she failed to capitalize on -- first, racing in behind the defense and failing to beat goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda; second, by failing to take on Sepulveda two-on-one and passing it back to an offside Mallory Pugh. Press did, however, spring Lloyd for the chance that turned into Crystal Dunn's goal vs. Colombia. She did many of the little things right but in the big moments when the U.S. needed her, she simply didn't do enough.
Crystal Dunn: B
Though Dunn often looked better when she pinched centrally a bit, her speed made her a constant threat down the flank for the U.S. across all three games. Her goal against Colombia was an impressive bit of speed and hard work, as she beat multiple defenders to a rebound and knocked it in. Like many of her teammates, Dunn seemed to disappear for stretches against France without getting much of the ball. The Americans figured things out eventually though and she emerged as a threat again.
Tobin Heath: A-
Heath's work-rate and her penchant for directly taking on opposition led to some quality chances for the U.S. and she notched a pair of assists against New Zealand and France. In the first half against France, Heath looked to be having trouble finding an outlet and lost possession a bit too easily -- a symptom of larger problems the U.S. had tactically -- but she was otherwise very good through her two games for the U.S.
Alex Morgan: B
She'll be judged on the goals she scored, and she only scored one against what turned out to be the weakest opponent of the bunch in New Zealand. But service was a big problem against France, with Morgan having to drop deeper and deeper just to get the ball. She managed to create some half-chances out of nothing and stretch back lines against France and as a late sub against Colombia, but ultimately she was limited in how much impact she could make.
Not rated: Alyssa Naeher, who has not played.
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