It was a piecemeal, disjointed game against Sweden. Now we see how much Jill Ellis decides to rotate her reduced roster. She has pretty limited choices by design and by coincidence; with a roster of 19 and only 18 named for game day, there won’t really be much surprise to see who’s available. All fans should really be looking for is whether the United States rotates goalkeepers, and if Ellis actually starts two center backs at the same time.
Of course there are some midfield and forward questions as well. Hopefully we’ll see a Lynn Williams and Christen Press start; both of them are pretty in form, Press especially so. But the two players who probably have the most question marks around them at the moment are Abby Dahlkemper and Abby Smith. Dahklemper got a runout against Sweden and seemed okay, but obviously needs more time against various opponents to see not just if she can click with Sauerbrunn, but if she should be in the pool of CB’s to develop beyond 2019.
As for Smith, it would be great if Ellis switched out Alyssa Naeher and gave Smith 90 in net. Dragging Smith all the way to Norway just to see more from a fairly known quantity (at least against teams relatively lower on the ladder like Norway) like Naeher doesn’t seem very efficient. The development gap between the current number ones, Naeher and Ashlyn Harris, and the next goalkeeper in the pool based on Ellis’ picks, Jane Campbell, needs someone like Smith to fill in the middle.
The other main thing in this game is just having everyone sharpen up in general. Complete more than four passes in a row. Move more. We’re not expecting the team to look like they could contend for a World Cup, just like they comfortable with each other’s off-the-ball movement.
When: 1 PM ET, Sunday, June 11
Where: Komplett Arena; Sandefjord, Norway
TV and livestream: Fox, foxsoccer2go