Lynn Williams did not play for the U.S. women’s national team in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with the Netherlands in the World Cup group stage. Two-time World Cup champion Tobin Heath joined the chorus of voices asking: Why not?
Through the first two USWNT matches, Williams has not seen the pitch for the USWNT. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski considered subbing the 30-year-old forward into the match against the Netherlands but opted to stick with his trio of starting forwards in Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan and Trinity Rodman.
“I just didn’t want to disrupt the rhythm at that point,” he said afterward.
Heath, who won the 2015 and 2019 titles with the USWNT, questioned that decision, and she is not alone in doing so. Injured USWNT forward Midge Purce did the same, asking: “No subs? That’s very confusing. Where’s Lynn?” Just Women’s Sports writer Claire Watkins called the choice “baffling,” pointing out that Williams skill set “seemed tailor-made for the game.”
“I think that Trinity should have come out in the 60th and I think Lynn Williams should have come in, personally,” Heath said. “Vlatko raved about Lynn Williams being the best 15-minute player he could put on this roster. And in that moment we needed a 15-minute player to come in.”
While Heath did not take issue with Rodman’s performance, she wanted to see Andonovski dip into the USWNT’s deep bench, she said in conversation with Christen Press on “The RE-CAP Show.” Particularly after Lindsey Horan scored the equalizer in the 62nd minute, Williams could have provided a boost.
“The U.S. got momentum from that goal,” Heath said. “And I think you insert, you inject a Lynn Williams into the game, all of a sudden the couple instances that you saw saw Trinity actually break through, I think if you have a fresh Lynn Williams breaking through, there’s a different result at the end of that play.”
In the end, the USWNT did not get a second goal, which resulted in a 1-1 draw and left the top spot in Group E up for grabs heading into the final group-stage match. The USWNT will face Portugal at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday, and the Netherlands will face Vietnam at the the same time.
“Look, we didn’t get that second goal,” Heath said. “Like, I think it was there, I think there were a couple different adjustments that could’ve been made to the team to get us that second goal. I don’t think there’s any reason why that game had to end 1-1.”