It’s game 2 of USA’s pair of friendlies against Chile. In game 1, they pulled together a 3-0 win. It might seem a bit churlish to call a three-goal margin of victory something they managed to pull together, but consider most of their good chances came from set plays, and that was because Chile was abysmal at defending them and never adjusted their zonal marking scheme. Crystal Dunn never engaged consistently from her left fullback position and Heath and Morgan were both stymied in the box.
Now in game 2, we’ll see if the forwards can crisp up their runs off the ball, with Horan and Lavelle (or Morgan Brian) looking for the passing channels, making runs to add numbers in and open up space for the forwards. Jill Ellis acknowledged the lack of opportunities in a USSF press conference at Avaya Stadium, saying for game 2 they would look to “being better in the final third, our entry into the goal zone, more productivity there.” The US needs to create more chances from open play to truly look like a team ready for World Cup qualifying.
There’s also the question of who will make the actual roster of available players. Last time, Adrianna Franch, Abby Dahlkemper, Kelley O’Hara, Casey Short, and Amy Rodriguez did not dress. O’Hara still may not be ready to play at this level, but perhaps we’ll see Dahlkemper and Short swap out the defense. As we know, Jill Ellis likes to repeat lineups without too much fiddling, and so barring any questions of fitness, we may be in for more of the same from game 1. She said at the press conference that she was very pleased with Pugh’s performance from that game, given where she is in her recovery and the fact that she did not start, so we may see more from her.
Projected starting XI
USA available players:
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 22/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 10/0), Hailie Mace (UCLA; 1/0), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC: 107/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 141/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 24/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 20/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 77/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 64/16), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 54/6), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 11/3), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 257/100), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 37/7), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 5/0)
FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 67/23), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 136/20), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 145/90), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 103/44), Mallory Pugh(Washington Spirit; 35/11), Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals FC; 131/30)
Schedule and TV
Even though this game is scheduled for 10 PM, its lead in is game 5 of the WNBA Eastern Conference playoffs, which may delay broadcast on ESPN2. For game 1, which was delayed by the US Open, USA vs Chile started on ESPN3.
Tuesday, September 4
10 PM ET / 7 PM PT
Avaya Stadium, San Jose, CA