CONCACAF Gold Cup: Scouting Argentina

CONCACAF Gold Cup: Scouting Argentina

The United States Women’s National Team opened the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup with a 5-0 win against the Dominican Republic. Three points started the campaign on the proper foot, with qualification to the knockout stage likely requiring a single draw. Next on the schedule is guest opponent Argentina, which reached the competition by finishing in third place at the 2022 Copa América Femenina. Carson, California’s Dignity Health Sports Park – a 27,000-seat soccer-specific stadium with a Bandera Bermuda® bermudagrass surface – hosts all six Group A fixtures.

This is the fifth all-time meeting between the two nations, with the USWNT holding a 4-0-0 advantage with a +27 (28-1) goal differential and triumphing 6-0 in the most recent match (at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup). Ranked 31st internationally by FIFA, Argentina had a disappointing run at the 2023 World Cup, finishing at the bottom of Group G with a 0-2-1 record after losing to Italy (0-1), drawing South Africa (2-2), and dropping the closer to Sweden (0-2). La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue) landed in fourth place at last fall’s Pan American Games, falling to the United States U-19 team in the bronze medal match. The current competition opened with a scoreless draw against Mexico.

Germán Portanova was appointed to the manager role in July of 2021 after winning three domestic titles with UAI Urquiza. The former midfielder retired from the professional ranks and became a shoemaker before deciding to return to the sport, quickly climbing the ladder to the international level. He claims that the program is “in a position of transition [and] change” while “looking for an identity again” following the World Cup.

Portanova initially named a 22-player roster for the Gold Cup, a mix of experienced veterans and younger talents. The domestic Primera División A is home to 11 of the call-ups, including eight at 17-time champions Boca Juniors. Notable regulars such as Florencia Bonsegundo and Estefanía Banini retired following the World Cup. After being included in the first release, Lorena Benítez was replaced by Marianela Szymanowski.


GOALKEEPERS (2): Vanina Correa (Rosario Central), Laurina Oliveros (Boca Juniors)

DEFENDERS (6): Sophia Braun (Kansas City Current), Aldana Cometti (Madrid CFF), Julieta Cruz (Boca Juniors), Celeste Dos Santos (Boca Juniors), Catalina Roggerone (CSUB Roadrunners), Adriana Sachs (Racing)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Daiana Falfán (Granada), Camila Gómez Ares (Boca Juniors), Dalila Ippólito (Pomigliano), Miriam Mayorga (Boca Juniors), Romina Núñez (Betis), Maricel Pereyra (San Lorenzo), Vanina Preininger (Boca Juniors)

FORWARDS (7): Mariana Larroquette (Orlando Pride), Nina Nicosia (Pachuca), Estefanía Palomar (Boca Juniors), Yamila Rodríguez (Palmeiras), Chiara Singarella (South Alabama Jaguars), Eliana Stábile (Boca Juniors), Marianela Szymanowski (Pomigliano)


Portanova shifts between the 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations, drawing “passion, desire, and determination” from his squad using “clear ideas, ambitious goal-setting, and a non-negotiable style” that attempts to take over the game. The attack can be a bit feast or famine, typically winning by multiple goals or getting completely shut out of proceedings – Totally Football Analysis notes that there is “some difficulty in creating high-quality scoring opportunities” with “a below-average amount of touches in the opposition’s penalty area.” On the defensive side of the game, the team endeavors to utilize a high press, although there is an element of backing away into pragmatism when facing stronger opponents.

Projected Argentina Starting XI (via

Despite being included on the roster, Vanina Correa’s long tenure as the number one may have finally come to a close, supplanted by Laurina “Lauchi” Oliveros, who started in the opener against Mexico. The 30-year-old Boca Juniors goalkeeper clinched the 2023 Primera División A, part of a domestic treble, while playing with a broken finger, an injury that kept her out of the World Cup squad. She is excellent with the ball at her feet and spares little movement before moving into saves. Penalty stoppages are something of a specialty, which has been honed during the grind of the Argentine schedule.

The pride of Beaverton, Oregon, Sophia Braun, scored at the World Cup with a spectacular long-range effort against South Africa. The 24-year-old displays comfort on the ball and good footwork when matching up with attackers in one-on-one situations. Filling the other centre-back role is Boca Juniors’ Miriam Mayorga, a convert from defensive midfielder. The 34-year-old doctor is typically tasked with shutting down pacier forwards and scored a key goal to help her club claim the AFA Women’s League Cup. There is also Aldana Cometti of Madrid CFF in Spain’s Liga F, who is described as an “assuring presence in the defense.” She is a strong tackler, takes down opposing dribblers, and creates a fair amount of attacking chances with her passing.

Boca Juniors left fullback Eliana Stábile “likes to attack” and “plays a crucial role in putting opponents under pressure,” which in turn allows the wingers to take more dangerous positions closer to the goal. She has a devastatingly accurate shot from distance and a quick release that catches goalkeepers off guard. Lining up on the other side of the formation is her club teammate, Julieta Cruz, who returned from a “major knee injury” to make the World Cup roster. The 27-year-old is an accurate passer and “progresses the ball effectively” while also winning the overwhelming majority of her aerial duels.

South Alabama Jaguar Chiara Singarella contributed nine goals and seven assists in 18 appearances during the fall, dazzling the college ranks. She uses her body to shield off opponents and takes intelligent touches that set up her next moves, often thinking seconds ahead of the play. The superb passing of Vanina Preininger is a sight to behold, dropping deep into the formation and methodically picking out teammates at any position on the field. Quick to regain possession, strong in the tackle, and clinical when lining up a shot from long distance, her potential impact can shift the tenor of proceedings on a dime. The trio is likely to be completed by Real Betis’ Romina Núñez, a full-field creative who looks to push the tempo with vertical intent. The 30-year-old from Tandil will beat opponents off of the dribble and has a lethal left-footed strike when given a yard of space or a free kick. Another option is newly signed Granada midfielder Daiana Falfán, a favorite of the manager for several years at the club and international levels, capable of thriving both in possession and high-pressure styles. She is described as the program’s “most-consistent creator of build-up opportunities” while working up the field and will also get stuck in with hard, disruptive challenges.

Yamila Rodríguez of Palmeiras can line up on either side of the formation or push centrally with streaky finishing and aggressive, grinding runs. She is a danger to score from all distances and will sneak to the back post to serve as an additional target on crosses. Boca Juniors’ Camila Gómez Ares has an ambitious style and takes a lot of risks, hitting long balls and pushing the counter-attack. The 29-year-old will also move into the middle of the final third and causes her fair share of turnovers through tackling and interceptions.

Mariana Larroquette is the top scorer in program history, bringing a “high level of technical ability” and “a work rate that does not quit” whether lined up centrally or on the outside. The Orlando Pride attacker is an incisive and productive passer, shrewd poacher, and capable dribbler who uses a quick chop move to open up space for a dangerous shot from all distances. Despite standing a mere 5’5”, she often wins headers in the box and has the body control to redirect crosses to the far post while moving in the opposite direction. In addition to running onto long balls, her pace is useful when pressing the back line and forcing turnovers.

The USWNT has a clear talent advantage over Argentina and should pick up an easy win in the second match of the tournament. While the opponent has grown by leaps and bounds, partially due to the professionalization of the domestic league, the gulf between the two programs remains vast. Tournament play can sometimes lead to unexpected results, but the experience of the hosts should result in a clean and efficient victory.

The match is scheduled for Friday, February 23rd at 10:15 p.m. Eastern, 7:15 p.m. Pacific. Viewing options include Paramount+, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes, and FUBO TV (free trial).

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