The United States Women’s National Team have been taking heat the past few days for their celebrations during their 13-0 victory over Thailand on Tuesday in the Women’s World Cup. Still, they began their World Cup title defense with a statement that no one could ignore. They continue that defense with their second group stage match tomorrow against Chile in Paris. For the USWNT, they’re hoping to once again let the world know that the gap between them and everyone else is still much further than people think. In doing so, they want to continue their dominance over the tournament field and leave no doubt that they are still the favorite to once again hoist the trophy.
Standing in their way attempting to spoil the Parisian party is Chile, who desperately need 3 points to stay in the hunt for the knockout stage after losing 2-0 to Sweden on Tuesday. They are a team that can be scrappy with possession and they have the ability to capitalize on their chances. Francisca Lara, Karen Araya, and Yanara Aedo have tons of experience and they have the talent to pull off a shock upset if the USWNT underestimates them.
What to watch for
Will Jill Ellis shake up her lineup? With a five day layoff for the team, it would make sense that head coach Jill Ellis would put out the same starting lineup that she went with against Thailand. But, after this, there are only 3 days of rest between matches for the rest of the tournament, so it may make sense for her to play a few new players and give everyone as much rest as they can. As we saw against Thailand, there’s no real dropoff from the starters to the reserves. Ellis is fortunate to have reserves that rank among the best players in the world. We’ll see if some of them get a shot Sunday.
Will the backline pass the test? The USWNT defense will certainly be tested more by the Chilean attack than they were against Thailand. This is where they have to remain mentally sharp and show that they can keep clean sheets against the better teams in the tournament. Hopefully Becky Sauerbrunn, who missed the Thailand match due to precautionary reasons stemming from a quadriceps strain, will be back in the lineup to provide a veteran presence that will keep the defensive third clean.
Will the USWNT continue to be ruthless in the attacking third? The USWNT weren’t just tapping in goals Tuesday against Thailand. They were having world class finishes as well, with some plays that should have filled the Top 10 on Sportscenter. Against Chile, they may not have as many chances as great as the ones they had Tuesday, but when they get them, they need to show the same surgical finishing they did 13 times over against Thailand.
What do you expect in this match tomorrow? Hit the comments to let us know what you’re hoping to see.