The United States women’s national team will spend the next couple of weeks qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in France. Before they can jet off to Europe, they have to play a group stage, and then make it to knockouts and at least win third place in order to take one of three Concacaf berths for the World Cup. Here’s everything you need to know in order to follow along with the tournament.
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 23/0), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 69/23), Hailie Mace (UCLA; 2/0), Kelley O’Hara(Utah Royals FC; 108/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 143/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 25/0), Emily Sonnett(Portland Thorns FC; 21/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 79/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 66/16), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 56/6), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 13/3), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 38/7)
FORWARDS (6): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 138/21), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 259/102), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 147/90), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 104/45), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 37/12), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 140/38)
Mexico will be the United States’ toughest opponent in group. Yes, the last two games the US played against Mexico resulted in a combined 10-3 scoreline, with Alex Morgan personally scoring four of those 10 goals. But Mexico has the capacity to get a goal or two back on the United States and heavy hitters like Monica Ocampo and Charlyn Corral. Kiana Palacios, Katie Johnson, Nayeli Rangel, and Kenti Robles are also all players to watch who could spark big plays for Mexico - and with a World Cup spot on the line, they’ll certainly bring the intensity to try and make it much closer than a couple of friendlies.
Panama is ranked #66 in the world. Most of their roster plays domestically in Panama, with the exception of teenager Anuvis Angulo, who is currently without club. Angulo has done well at the youth level for Panama, including a hat trick against Honduras at the U17 Central America qualifiers for the Concacaf championship last year. In fact, much of Panama’s roster is quite young, with eight teenagers out of 20 players, and their youngest player at just 13 years old.
Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago have historically had problems with getting consistent, sufficient support from their federation - even once receiving a $1,300 donation from Haiti’s WNT in order to help fund training and literally buy food ahead of qualifying for the 2015 WC. Most of T&T’s roster for this tournament also play domestically, although standout striker Kennya Cordner plays in Norway, and several players are unattached to clubs at the moment. Kimika Forbes is also a name fans should know from the past several years; she’s put on several brave displays as T&T’s starting goalkeeper, and regardless of scoreline, may end up with a couple of showstoppers against the US.
Schedule, TV, and livestream
Livestreaming: according to USSF twitter, if you subscribe to FS1, all games on FS2 will also be available on Fox Sports Go
Game 1: USA vs Mexico
Thursday, October 4
7:30 PM ET / 4:30 PM PT
Game 2: USA vs Panama
Sunday, October 7
5 PM ET / 2 PM PT
Game 3: USA vs Trinidad & Tobago
Wednesday, October 10
7:30 PM ET / 4:30 PM PT