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USWNT vs. Japan, 2023 SheBelieves Cup: What to watch for

The USWNT continue with another test.

2023 SheBelieves Cup - Canada v United States Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

The United States Women’s National Team are in Nashville, where they take on Japan in their second match of the 2023 SheBelieves Cup. The USWNT are coming off a 2-0 victory over Canada in the first match, with a brace by Mallory Swanson.

The USWNT will try to continue their improvement as a team, but the injury bug seems to be swirling around camp. Rose Lavelle picked up a knock in training and was ruled out of the first match, while Naomi Girma seemed to pick up something during warmups. Without both players in the lineup, the USWNT still looked in form against a tough Canada squad.

Japan is very disciplined, and bring a ton to the table, and they will pose a different set of problems to the United States. The USWNT will hope to counter that with getting the ball forward. Rose Lavelle and Naomi Girma are available for selection, but it will be a gametime decision on whether Vlatko Andonovski decides to put them in the starting lineup. The USWNT will still have to overcome those injury concerns to play a good match against Japan before a boisterous crowd at GEODIS Park in Nashville.

Recent Form


W (2-0) - Canada - 2023 SheBelieves Cup

W (5-0) - New Zealand - Friendly

W (4-0) - New Zealand - Friendly

W (2-1) - Germany - Friendly

L (1-2) - Germany - Friendly


L (0-1) - Brazil - 2023 SheBelieves Cup

L (0-1) - Spain - Friendly

L (0-4) - England -Friendly

W (2-0) - New Zealand - MS&AD Cup

W (2-0) - Nigeria - Friendly


GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign FC), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

FORWARDS (7): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)

What To Watch For

Control the midfield. The midfield should continue to dominate, as that has been the key to success (or failure) lately for the USWNT. It means that they need to work hard on both ends of the field to maintain the connection between the defense and the offense.

More of the double pivot. We will likely see more of the double pivot, but will we see new players plugged into it? The concern is that they have to communicate and not let anyone get behind them while also not stalling the offense moving forward. Finally, the connection has to lead to scoring chances.

Will Mallory stay hot? Mallory Swanson is, as they say, hotter than fish grease right now. She’s got 4 goals in 3 matches in 2023, and if she can keep it going, it makes this team close to unstoppable.


The USWNT take care of business. It’s a 2-0 victory, with Mallory Swanson scoring one and another from Lynn Williams off the bench.