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Don't Panic: Vlatko says best surely coming soon from USWNT

WELLINGTON - The United States have yet to produce their best performance at the Women's World Cup, coach Vlatko Andonovski said on Thursday, after the Netherlands held them to a frustrating 1-1 draw in their second match of the tournament in Wellington.

Co-captain Lindsey Horan powered a terrific header into the net to level the affair in the second half and save the four-times champions from outright embarrassment after not putting up much of a fight early on in the match.

It was the first World Cup draw that the United States have seen since Sweden held them 0-0 at the tournament in 2015.

"(In) the first half, we allowed them to take control of the tempo and slow down the tempo a lot more than we wanted," Andonovski told reporters, days after the United States beat Vietnam 3-0 in their opener.

The early performances were below the level the Americans can achieve due in part to the relative lack of experience the starters have with one another, he added.

"This team has not had time together. I mean, the first time we see this team together is in game one and now we saw them again in game two. So in game three, we expect it to grow from there," he told reporters. "As hopefully we move forward, we're going to see better and better."

While much has been made of the relative inexperience of the U.S. team, with 14 World Cup newcomers among the 23-player squad, Andonovski spent precious pre-tournament time retooling his starting line-up amid a glut of injuries. Julie Ertz moved into center back after veteran Becky Sauerbrunn was ruled out and new addition Savannah DeMelo has taken on more of a workload with midfield stalwart Rose Lavelle's minutes limited.

"(The young players) grew throughout the game individually, but also as a team, we grew throughout the game as well. I've said this before, this team is not just young, this team is also a fresh team," said Andonovski. "We're just going to get better from game to game and we're going to be a lot more efficient as well."

The United States close out their Group E against Portugal on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Wellington; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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