The United States will take on England in Milton Keynes, the FA has announced. Both teams had confirmed that they would play a friendly in England on February 13 as part of their preparations for the 2015 Women's World Cup, but a site had not yet been determined. Now they have one, with stadiummk playing host.
The U.S. heads into 2015 with little momentum. They struggled for most of the year, generally only looking good against overmatched minnows. They dropped from No. 1 in the world for the first time in six years and closed out the year with just one win at the Brasilia International Tournament.
Jill Ellis' team will gather for the first time in 2015 shortly after the new year for a January training camp. Then, they will head to Europe for a clash with France on February 8 in Lorient. After they, it's onto Milton Keynes for a meeting with England.
With France ranked No. 3 in the world and England No. 6, they will give the Americans a very tough test. Both finished World Cup qualifying with perfect 10-0-0 records, with both putting together +51 goal differentials. Most observers feel that the Lions and Les Bleus can win the World Cup next year, even if they are not favorites. After a year in which the U.S. struggled against good teams, this trip to Europe will give us a good indicator of where the Americans are.
Milton Keynes has been a good home for English women's soccer. It played host to the FA Women's Cup in June and over 15,000 fans turned out for Arsenal and Everton, but it hasn't just been the one city that has taken a shine to women's soccer of late. 45,619 fans showed up to Wembley Stadium to see England play Germany in November, setting a women's soccer attendance record in the country.
Tickets for the match will be £5 for adults and £2.5o for children. For the Americans in England, you can purchase tickets at mkdons.com/tickets.
There is no word yet on potential television coverage. However, with Fox carrying the Women's World Cup and devoting huge air time to the tournament, it would not be a surprise if they pick up every U.S. friendly they can ahead of the tournament.