USWNT must play Christen Press at forward, not Wing

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If the United States are going to win what is the real, actual World Cup title game tomorrow night, it would really help to get a big game out of Christen Press. She would best be served by the U.S. Women’s National Team shifting to a 4-3-3 formation versus the Germans, but no one is expecting USWNT Coach Jill Ellis to actually do that.

Two FOX Analysts, Tony DiCicco (the last head coach to guide the Americans to a World Cup championship) and Heather Mitts (former USWNT member) believe Press would be best served in the 4-3-3.

Mitts says Christen Press should be playing forward:

“Her placement and her ability to finish is what makes Christen Press such a great player and why she needs to be on the field, but maybe not out wide.”

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“I think we’re actually trying to cater our lineup around her, to make sure some how some way we can put her on the field. I do not think she is at her best position as an outside mid,” Mitts continued.

“As an outside mid I think she was more concerned about a defensive role, and it took away from her offense. I think she belongs up top, but I’m not sure who she pairs up with. At the moment, I think the other options of Alex Morgan or Amy Rodriguez or Abby Wambach are your best options unfortunately.”

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That is unfortunate, because heading into this tournament, Christen Press was expected to the be the next big thing. She was certainly marketed that way, by FOX, the USWNT, and all their sponsors. Only three players got to be turned into Simpsons characters, and Press was one of the them.

We saw what she could do in the first game, scoring a beautiful strike set up by Syndey Leroux. Her game winner, in the very first match versus Australia, was one of the prettiest plays the Americans have shown us this tournament. Although the USA is winning, they are winning ugly and boring. They’re gritty and blah; the opposite of France, who play a very aesthetically pleasing form or footy.

But hey, America is in the semis, and the French have gone home already eliminated.

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Maybe Leroux is the player who has developed the best chemistry with Press? Well, we don’t have the answers. The most recent person to have all the answers, as he’s the last guy to guide the Americans to a title is Di Cicco, who said he spoke with Canada’s Assist Coach, who undoubtedly believes that Press is a forward and is just not as comfortable on the flank.

“I do believe that Christen Press is a forward, and when I’ve watched Christen in this tournament, she’s had a little bit of a challenge with balance of times she’s spent out on the flank and centrally, I think she’s ended up spending way too much time in the center.” Di Cicco said.

“Rather than getting the ball out on the touchline where she could beat players one versus one and break down the defense. It’s her first World Cup- that’s a huge step for any player to take. I still think she be a game changer.”

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Mitts then added “We’ve all (the FOX Sports pundits) have been saying all along how we’d love to see this team go 4-3-3 and that’s where Christen Press would be the most dangerous.”

Julie Foudy, espnW Analyst and 1999 Women’s World Cup Champion had this to say about Christen Press:

“I think you saw what you can get from Christen Press in that first game when she scores that important goal, and a nice one.  And that’s the thing with Press, is you want her in front of goal because every time you talk to a player or a staff member on the U.S. Team they’ll say she is the purest finisher.  She can strike a ball like we’ve never seen.  She can strike it with both feet and just how good she is in front of goal.” 

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I think the challenge for Press going forward is that she’s got to be an impact player even when she’s not in front of goal.  Meaning, is she making a difference offensively getting in line?  Is she making a difference defensively by getting stuck in on tackles and working both sides of the ball?  And I think when she can bring that consistency, because we know what she can do in terms of goal scoring when she gets close.”

-USWNT Profile Series:

Alex Morgan

Hope Solo

Sydney Leroux

Christen Press

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Abby Wambach

Julie Johnston

Ali Krieger

Amy Rodriguez

-Canada profile series

Lauren Sesselman

Adriana Leon

-World Cup On-Air talent profiles

Alexi Lalas

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Heather Mitts

Leslie Osborne

Jenny Taft 

Julie Stewart-Binks

Kate Abdo

Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes to the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition. He also appears regularly on numerous sports talk radio stations all across the country.

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