The United States kicks off the first of two away friendlies tomorrow when they play Portugal. It’s been 17 years since the two teams have played, despite the US taking regular trips to Portugal when they participated in the Algarve Cup.
Portugal itself is a team on the rise; in their most recent Algarve Cup, they got multiple results, including a tie and a win against Australia, who played a mostly full-strength lineup. Sure that win was in terrible weather conditions, but Portugal also got results against China and Norway, which places them among a tier of teams that, under the right conditions, can fight the US to a standstill, although probably not for a full 90. Still, Portugal did not qualify for the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the Euros are a fair bit away, so they may be wanting to experiment a little more freely than the US.
As for the United States, they undoubtedly have the World Cup roster in mind, but at the same time with both Tobin Heath and Christen Press out with personal commitments and a few new-ish names on the roster, could we see any changes to Ellis’ most recent preferred starting XI? Will there be any time for Adrianna Franch, Emily Fox, Merritt Mathias, Danny Colaprico, or Jess McDonald? J
ust from a numbers standpoint - 22 on the roster, probably 18 named for each game, 6 subs available - at least one of them might get rotated in. On the other hand, World Cup qualifiers weren’t exactly the most rigorous test of what looks like Ellis’ preferred 4-3-3, and these games will also be under away conditions, a relatively rare opportunity for the US when it comes to friendlies. It would be nice, though, to see what Colaprico can do in a holding mid role, and to get Fox capped. But even with Morgan Brian out after she picked up a head injury during qualifiers, Colaprico may still have to wait in line behind Ertz, Mewis, and Long, given the formation Ellis is likely to play. Colaprico could certainly slot into that free-flowing midfield style given her play for Chicago, and currently may even be better than Ertz at maintaining game tempo from that deep position. We’ll see.
Possible Starting XI
Time, TV, and Livestream
Thursday, November 8
1 PM ET / 10 AM PT
Streaming on WatchESPN