For this summary of passing stats from the USA-Germany SheBelieves 2018 match, I’m only going to look at open play passes. Open play passes excludes passes from dead ball scenarios – throw-ins, free kick passes, goal kicks, and corner kick passes are all discounted.
The United States lined up in a 4-3-3, with O’Hara and Smith as the fullbacks; Davidson and Dahlkemper as the centerbacks; Ertz as the defensive midfielder; Horan and Lloyd as the two other center midfielders, Rapinoe as the left forward, Morgan as the center forward, and Pugh as the right forward.
Germany lined up in a 4-2-3-1, with Faisst and Maier as the fullbacks; Peter and Hendrich as the centerbacks; a midfield trio of Kemme, Dabritz, and Marozsan; Dallmann as the left winger, Popp as the center forward, and Huth as the right winger.
Germany’s midfield, and even Popp’s role, was fluid throughout the match, with Kemme’s role being the most solidified as a defensive midfielder for most of the game (until she played as a fullback later in the match). Dabritz and Marozsan would often switch roles, with Popp dropping deep several times.
The two USA centerbacks – Davidson and Dahlkemper – had very high open play passing completion percentages and a high number of open play passes attempted. Davidson finished with the highest open play passing completion percentage of the game (minimum 10 passes) at 92.6%. Dahlkemper had a lower open play passing completion percentage, 82.4%, but she also had more open play passes under pressure – 17.6% compared to 7.4% for Davidson. Whether or not that was due to passes to Dahlkemper already going to her while under pressure, or whether German players got to apply pressure to her before she managed to get off a pass attempt requires further analysis. Sonnett, in her 10 minutes on the field, did not register an open play pass attempt.
The three German centerbacks – Hendrich, Peter, and Goessling – each had high passing completion percentages and a higher percentage of their passes going forward. Hendrich, Peter, and Goessling’s open play pass attempts went forward 64.4%, 53.6%, and 73.7% of the time, respectively, compared to Dahlkemper’s 58.8% and Davidson’s 44.4%. They each were also under pressure much more often.
Taylor Smith – matched up on the right wing against Germany’s Dallmann and Faisst – found her open play pass attempts under pressure more often than O’Hara, 68.4% of the time compared to 35.7%. O’Hara – matched up on the left against Germany’s Huth and Maier – had a higher passing completion percentage of 78.6% compared to Smith’s 73.7%. The two combined for 3 open play cross attempts that were not completed. Short only registered 5 open play pass attempts in her 16 minutes on the field.
As for the Germans, the starting fullbacks were Faisst and Maier, with Kemme playing as a rightback late in the match. However, due to being unable (for now) to split up Kemme-as-a-midfielder stats from Kemme-as-a-fullback’s stats, I’ll treat her as a midfielder later on. Compared to their American counterparts, Faisst and Maier were more involved in the German passing game, with 37.5 and 37.4 open play passes attempted per 90 minutes, respectively, compared to O’Hara’s 31.5 and Smith’s 17.8. Their completion percentages were all lower, though, with Faisst completing 72.5% of her open play passes and Maier completing the lowest of the fullbacks, at 65.6%. The two combined for 4 open play cross attempts, which, just like O’Hara’s and Smith’s, and likely thanks to the strong winds that night, went nowhere.
Ertz’s passing game was stellar in the midfield, with 28.8 open play passes attempted per 90 minutes and a 91.3% completion percentage – the second-highest in the game. The two other USA midfielders with significant open play passing numbers (at least 10 attempts), Horan and Lloyd, had lower passing completion percentages (75.6% and 78.9%, respectively), but were also under pressure far more than Ertz (61.0% and 52.6% of all open play pass attempts, respectively, compared to Ertz’s 39.1%) due to their higher position up the field.
For the Germans, Dabritz and Magull stood out for their high open play passing completion percentages, 86.1% and 86.7% respectively. Magull only played for 27 minutes but finished with the 50.0 open play passes attempted per 90 mins, the highest in the game. Marozsan was the most involved in Germany’s passing game throughout the entire game, with the most open play passes attempted, 47, out of anyone on the field, although she finished with a completion percentage of only 76.6%. Kemme, meanwhile, struggled with an open play passing completion percentage of only 65.9%.
The Wingers & Forwards
I considered Rapinoe and Pugh more as forward wingers, and Huth and Dallmann more as midfield wingers in a slightly deeper role, but I figured it would be worthwhile combining the two roles together in this part, including Alex Morgan, too, who primarily was a center forward for the entire match.
Out of all the wingers, Rapinoe’s open play pass attempts were under the most pressure, at 68.2%, compared to everyone else who was between 62% and 64%. Her passing game, matched up against Maier, struggled even more, completing only 58.3% of her open play pass attempts, compared to Pugh on the other side who completed 88.0%. Both Rapinoe and Pugh attempted a similar number of open play passes per 90 mins (23.0 and 24.7) and a similar number of crosses completed/attempted (1/2).
Huth’s passing game similarly struggled like Rapinoe’s, completing only 58.3% of her open play pass attempts, compared to Dallmann’s 72.4%. Dallmann had a slightly higher number of open play passes attempted per 90 mins, at 37.8 compared to Huth’s 33.8. The large differences in completion percentages can partially be explained by Huth’s persistent yet ineffective crossing game, completing only 1 cross attempt out of 7, compared to Dallmann’s 1 cross completion out of only 2.
Finally, the two forwards, Morgan and Popp, who had the highest percentage of open play pass attempts under pressure out of anyone in the game, at 79.3% and 76.3%, respectively. Popp attempted more passes, 38, compared to Morgan’s 29, and finished with a significantly higher completion percentage of 76.3% compared to 69.0%. Popp, however, was not as fixed in her role as the center forward as Morgan was, dropping back into her half several times to help defend and receive the ball. Morgan’s more constant presence higher up the field might be reflected in her percentage of pass attempts that went backwards – 41.4%, the second-highest in the game to Dabritz – suggesting numerous instances where she was holding up the ball and dropping it back for a teammate facing the German goal.