The last time the United States faced Sweden, it was in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics, and we all know how that one ended. (Refresher: not great, Bob.)
Now US Soccer is taking advantage of this FIFA window to fly the team out to Sweden and have them play away games against decent opposition. Make no mistake, the USWNT should definitely be expected to win (although they were expected to win in Brazil too, and look how that turned out) but it will be a good test of all the tinkering Jill Ellis has done since last summer.
Can Ellis learn from her mistakes? Can the USWNT break through a team they know can sit low and hit them on the counter? Will new players actually get reasonable playing time? In a midfield with Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Allie Long, Samantha Mewis, and Carli Lloyd, how do you set up in the center, and who gets pushed out to the side? Can a returning Sydney Leroux put the ball in the net in convincing fashion, enough to displace anyone in the fairly deep forward pool?
These are all important questions, although fans should expect answers to at most two or three of them at a time. But it’s important now to see if Ellis can answer any of them at all.
When: Thursday, June 8, 1:30 PM ET
Where: Gamla Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden
TV/livestream: ESPN2, UDN