US women’s captain Lindsey Horan suggests World Cup exit was down to former coach Vlatko Andonovski’s tactics: ‘I don’t think we were set up to play the way that we played’
- The USWNT were dumped out of this year’s Women’s World Cup in the last-16
- Andonovski mutually agreed to step down as head coach after their early exit
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
US women’s national team captain Lindsey Horan has taken a thinly-veiled dig at former coach Vlatko Andonovski by suggesting they were not ‘set up’ in the right way at the Women’s World Cup.
The USA suffered its earliest ever exit at the competition this month, with Sweden dumping the four-time champions out at the last-16 stage on penalty kicks.
While it ultimately came down to a lottery – not to mention a razor-tight goal-line decision in the shootout – Horan and Co could have no complaints that they were sent home early after winning just one of their four matches.
And it was Andonovski who paid the price in the end, as the head coach mutually agreed to step down from his position just a few days after the Sweden defeat.
In that game, Horan felt the USA finally began to find their rhythm before being eliminated on penalties – yet not because of Andonovski’s setup.
USWNT captain Lindsey Horan (right) has taken aim at former coach Vlatko Andonovski (left)
The US women’s national team were dumped out of this year’s World Cup at the last-16 stage
Horan, speaking on The RE-CAP Show, appeared to blame Andonovski’s game plan for the country’s earliest ever exit at the tournament
‘The game against Sweden, I don’t think we were necessarily set up to play the way that we played,’ the American captain said on The RE-CAP Show.
‘That was just us finally coming together and being like, “This is what we’re going to do.” And then it worked and then it’s like, “OK, keep doing it.”
‘Could that have happened earlier? Maybe. It’s a really tough one.’
The USWNT brushed aside China with a 3-0 win in their opening fixture at this year’s tournament, where they were hoping to claim a third straight triumph.
However, after being held to a 1-1 draw by Netherlands Andonovski’s side narrowly avoided an even-earlier elimination when they scraped a 0-0 draw against Portugal. Then came another stalemate and penalty heartbreak against the Swedes.
One player who failed to live up to the hype in Australia was Sophia Smith, who failed to get on the scoresheet again after netting twice against China.
‘I made it a point to help Soph Smith as much as possible in this tournament because I think she has a lot of pressure on her back,’ Horan said.
Andonovski mutually stepped down as USWNT boss in the wake of their defeat by Sweden
The former coach’s set up failed to bring the best out of the likes of Sophia Smith, Horan said
‘I want to make sure she’s in a good place and some of the younger players are in a really good place, because they’re going to have massive roles.
‘And so it was like, could I have done more to help those players? Because I don’t think we got the absolute best out of some of them because of the way that we were set up, and some of the things that we did in the game.’
She added: ‘I [have been] killing myself for the last two weeks. Like what the heck could I have done to help or to push our playing style or to push this bravery? And at the end of the day, it’s like you’re set up in a structure to do this. And here’s your opportunity individually, like just go play within the structure.’