US Soccer confirmed today that the women's national team will play Japan in an international friendly on June 5 at 12:30 PM ET at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.
This game will come as the second in a two-game series against Japan that will help the team warm up for the Olympics, with the first game on June 2 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
Both games fall in an NWSL break, ensuring minimal interruption in club play.
Japan has become perhaps the United States' biggest rival in recent years, coming head to head with them in three separate major tournament finals from the 2011 World Cup, to the 2012 Olympics, and then to the 2015 World Cup.
Unfortunately, Japan broke down at AFC Olympic qualifying and will not be in Rio this year. AFC representatives at the Olympics are Australia and China PR.
Still, even with a team in unrest and a new coach after former head coach Norio Sasaki resigned, Japan is stocked with talented, technical players who should provide more of a challenge than the US' last opponent, Colombia. On the other hand, after that 5-2 World Cup final and their meltdown at AFC qualifying, it'll be interesting to see if Japan has started to pull itself back together or if it will take more time for their program to recover. It's in the WNT's best interest to play a sharp opponent to prepare for the Olympics and it would be nice to see Japan offer a challenge.
Tickets for USA vs Japan go on sale April 27 and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.