“I’ve said this to my players, this is one of the most prestigious and competitive tournaments in the world for women. Three fantastic teams are coming to our country for our fans to see and it’s obviously a great opportunity to vet ourselves.”
That’s what United States Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis had to say ahead of her side’s first game in the third annual SheBelieves Cup. While the “prestigious” bit is debatable, this isn’t going to be a cakewalk for any of the four teams competing. And Ellis is absolutely correct about the last point— SheBelieves is an opportunity for the USA to check themselves.
The Americans will be lining up against their nearest rivals in the FIFA World Rankings. Germany are arguably the best equipped to take on the US at the moment, and Matchday One at SheBelieves offers a tantalizing chance to send a message— to their rivals, and to the rest of the world. The USA may be #1 in the world, but they need to conclusively demonstrate that they belong there. They’ll set themselves to that task tonight.
USA Lineup: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 22-Taylor Smith, 17-Tierna Davidson, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara; 8-Julie Ertz, 9-Lindsey Horan, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 11-Mallory Pugh, 13-Alex Morgan, 15-Megan Rapinoe
Location: MAPFRE Stadium; Columbus, Ohio
Kick-off time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. Pacific
Available TV: ESPN2 (English)
Available streaming: WATCHESPN (App/Website)