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USWNT vs. Wales, 2023 friendly: What to watch for

We prepare to send the USWNT off to the Women’s World Cup.

Ireland v United States

The United States Women’s National Team has their final match before the 2023 Women’s World Cup tomorrow when they take on Wales in San Jose. The USWNT will be playing their first and only match since the announcement of the World Cup roster 2 weeks ago. They face a Wales team that just missed out on qualifying for the tournament and will be a formidable opponent to test themselves with before heading to New Zealand.

The USWNT will be looking to show that all targets should be aimed at them as the #1 team in the world and the defending champions, but Wales will be looking to trip them up. As the USWNT steps onto on home soil for one final warmup, they’ll want to try and look sharp as they figure out the combinations that will carry them through the month-long tournament, which begins in 12 days.

Recent Form


W (1-0) - Ireland - Friendly

W (2-0) - Ireland - Friendly

W (2-1) - Brazil - 2023 SheBelieves Cup

W (1-0) - Japan - 2023 SheBelieves Cup

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


D (1-1) - Portugal - Friendly

W (4-1) - Northern Ireland - Friendly

D (1-1) - Scotland - 2023 Pinatar Cup

D (0-0) - Iceland - 2023 Pinatar Cup

W (1-0) - Philippines - 2023 Pinatar Cup


Goalkeepers (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)

Midfielders (7): Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville), Julie Ertz (Angel City FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards (6): Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)

What To Watch For

How does the back line operate? There are a couple questions about how head coach Vlatko Andonovski chooses to deploy his defensive unit with captain Becky Sauerbrunn unable to make the trip to the World Cup. Will he go for a pairing of Naomi Girma and Alana Cook, or will he try to slot Julie Ertz or another veteran at the centerback position? And on the flanks, will he want them to play towards the middle or set up a ton of crosses into the box?

Midfield combinations. The midfield is the biggest concern, with Rose Lavelle still recovering from injury and hopefully being able to at least play some minutes. There’s still some creativity there, but the challenge is how to get it all on the field and moving forward while providing some defensive cover. The big question...will he finally give Crystal Dunn the freedom to play midfield as she has been doing for her club?

Who can produce off the bench? Everyone needs to show they can produce so that if Vlatko calls their number, he can trust that they’re ready. That’s especially true for the bench, as there should be no drop off on substitutions. Produce, produce, produce.


The USWNT look a little rusty at first, but get it together to win 4-0.