The United States beat Colombia 7-0 a few days ago, with six different players scoring and Allie Long netting her first two international goals. It was a game that saw the United States lineup clicking and the Colombia lineup faltering. Could viewers see more of the same in tomorrow's second friendly against Colombia in Chester, PA?
But first some context to keep in mind: the Colombia WNT hasn't been paid by their federation for months. In fact, Colombia's Yoreli Rincon alleges that the federation has told the women's team they should play for free, despite putting on a fantastic display at last summer's World Cup, which showed notable progress over their 2011 World Cup appearance. It's kind of hard to train full time as a footballer when you have to worry how you're going to pay your rent or put food on the table, so let's not be too quick to crow over any insane scorelines.
That being said, the United States definitely deserves some credit for how they performed, and a repeat performance would be reassuring in its consistency, even if different players who were out for the first game get rotated back in.
If Alex Morgan and Morgan Brian are healthy, it's likely they'll go back into the starting XI, but it would be interesting to see Ellis repeat her last lineup, deployed once again in a 4-3-3, and see if they continue to maintain their fluidity and the offensive barrage (24 shots, 14 SOG from the last game).
Last starting XI: Hope Solo, Kelley O'Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Allie Long, Lindsey Horan, Carli Lloyd, Mallory Pugh, Crystal Dunn, Tobin Heath
The only exception to that last lineup that should definitely change is the goalkeeper. There was no reason that Hope Solo needed to play that game, even assuming Colombia would put up a better fight than losing 7-0. Start giving your backup goalkeepers more experience or don't be surprised if they're not up to scratch when you need them in big situations like the Olympics.
Otherwise, even with a changed lineup, a tired Colombia team that has already fought through a full 90 vs. a WNT with a deeper bench full of players ready to start their club seasons should result in plenty more goals, assuming the weather holds in Chester. Anyone could score - between Dunn, Press, Lloyd, Heath, Pugh, Long, and probably some of the defenders too (looking at you, Meghan pressing-high-is-my-life Klingenberg), it's a grab bag of offensive talent.
Also keep in mind that in a press conference earlier today, Ellis emphasized that she wants this Olympic roster to help kick off the next cycle of WNT development.
Jill Ellis: "The players who I’m looking at right now for the Olympics are players who I think will be around in 2019."— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) April 9, 2016
That means really putting younger players under the microscope, players like Pugh, Horan, Sonnett, and Mewis. Allie Long is now in the mix for midfield as well, so keep an eye on the battle between her, Horan, and Mewis to see who stands out as that deep-lying playmaker.
USA vs. Colombia kicks off Sunday, April 10 at 2 PM ET at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA and airs on ESPN.