Vlatko Andonovski, that was a mess! USWNT winners and losers as Portugal draw has alarm bells ringing ahead of World Cup knockout stages

Early in the second half of the United States women's national team's World Cup group-stage finale against Portugal, the fire alarm at Eden Park went off. It rang and rang, with no one quite sure how to react or address the situation as it unfolded. Those in attendance surely knew it was a problem, but none were quite willing or able to fix it or respond to it.

The soccer gods don't often give us such perfect metaphors. As the alarm bells literally went off around the stadium, the metaphorical ones sounded all throughout a historically bad USWNT performance in the team's 0-0 draw. And, much like the fans in the stadium, USWNT boss Vlatko Andonovski was left sitting there seemingly helpless, content to continue watching on despite all of the obvious noise going on around him.

Andonovski's USWNT is struggling, to say the least. There's no coherent identity to this team and, while talent will be enough to lift them to a draw against an overmatched Portugal, it won't be enough in the knockout stages.

So far, we haven't seen a team capable of doing that. It's been a tournament with few standout performers and even fewer standout moments. Still, the U.S. advanced from the group, so well done there. For only the second time, though, they failed to finish atop their group and, with just five points to their name, they've done so with their worst group-stage performance in program history.

The alarm bells are ringing all over for the USWNT and, from what we've seen, they may not be capable of shutting them off before being forced into an early exit.

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