Midfielders Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle

If the United States is going to win the 2023 Women’s World Cup they’ll need Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle to get on the ball more. That might seem obvious to some extent, but there are moments where both players should receive the ball and don’t. Or, don’t ask or get the ball when they should.

They are the two soccer players who will unlock the defenses of opposing teams. And clearly the team wants them to get on the ball more. Vlatko Andonovski wouldn’t play the two together as creative midfielders if he didn’t want them on the ball. However, at times I think the two just have to go get the ball or demand it.

Horan, having now played for Lyon for a few years, is hitting her stride. She plays those cut back laser passes like this one to Alex Morgan. Watch the laser pass to Morgan and ensuing Smith goal in the video below.

Overall, Horan’s first touch is tremendously sharp right now. She is confident and why she was named one of the team captains.

Rose is perhaps the most dangerous of the two. Because she’ll go at players on the dribble or spin away into space. Rose showed what she can do coming on versus Vietnam. Hitting the crossbar and just being disruptive. Christian Pulisic said Rose is his favorite women’s national team player. Which makes sense since Pulisic is a tricky player to play against like Rose. Kristie Mewis said she hates playing against Rose because she’s like a “little fairy” who somehow gets the ball, turns you and makes you look stupid.

And through these creative midfielders. Through Rose and Horan, the goal scorers like Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Alyssa Thompson and Trinity Rodman will get the ball in spots to do what they do best.

It is especially true when teams pack the defense. If a team “parks the bus” in back, Rose and Horan must get the ball. Crucial though too when they’ll face higher quality teams and the opportunity to score are few and far between. The outside backs and central defenders for the US team are strong players, but can’t play those killer passes like Rose and Horan.

Sometimes Horan and Rose will just have to go and take the ball off the foot of a defender. With Julie Ertz playing in the back, from time to time she will play a clever pass in behind and open up the game. But for the United States to win the world cup and three-peat, the number of touches that Rose and Horan have each game will have to be high.

Moreover, the two can play together exceptionally well. They know one another’s tendencies and where they want the ball. And they both are comfortable holding on to the ball with a defender on top of them. In fact, they prefer it that way so they can spin away or slip a pass through to someone else.

When the United States plays the Netherlands next, midfielders Rose and Horan will get a chance to show their skills against the team they beat in the final in France.