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Vlatko Andonovski: Young USWNT stars must find ‘ruthlessness’

USWNT forward Trinity Rodman challenges Canada's Janine Beckie during Thursday's SheBelieves Cup match. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Young stars took center stage for U.S. women’s national team in Thursday’s 2-0 win against Canada, as both Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman were bumped up to the starting lineup.

Both players had strong performances but also showed their youth with some missed opportunities.

“Obviously very happy with Trinity’s performance,” USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said of the 20-year-old forward. “She’s a tremendous finisher. She’s shown that in different ways.”

Still, Andonovski thinks Rodman must hone her killer instinct on the attack.

“She needs to develop ruthlessness,” he said. “We could have easily scored another two or three goals, or created enough opportunities to score two or three goals. But again, happy with everything that we got. We’ll use those moments as learning opportunities so we can show Trin how she can be even better.”

As for Sanchez, Andonovski praised the 23-year-old for her “tremendous creativity” and her similarities to fellow midfielder Rose Lavelle in the past few games.

“She’s got special qualities on the ball,” he said. “It’s not easy to synchronize her movements right away because she hasn’t played much with Alex [Morgan] but when they do it, I think it worked very well. We are very happy where she’s at, positionally and happy where she’s at in the time of her stage of development.”

Defensively, Andonovski said Sanchez has room to grow.

“She puts much work in and effort but her timing and angle is just a little bit off. And it’s not quite synchronized with Alex’s movement when we want to shift from mid blocking to high press,” he said. “But she’s a true student of the game. I have no doubt that she’s going to get better.”

Games against top-tier teams like Canada are going to speed her development, Andonovski said, as they help to expose her weaknesses.

“Games like this are going to help her get better, because if we do again try certain things with her against a team that is not going to expose us, we’re probably not going to see everything that we want to see,” he continued. “Now, every little thing, if you’re not in the proper spot, if you’re one step to the left or one step to the right, you’re gonna get exposed and that’s where you learn.”