Welcome to your live thread for the United States Women's National Team's second of two friendlies in four days against Japan. The last meeting of these two top 10 sides ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw on Thursday that saw the U.S. continue its unbeaten run in 2016, and the Americans are looking for a good result to close the international window.
There's just one more friendly scheduled -- July 9 vs. South Africa -- before the Yanks jet off to the Olympic games.
Last time, the Japanese came out flying and surprised the U.S. with their high pressure and physicality. This, combined with the fact that the Americans fielded a mixed lineup that incorporated less-capped players like Mallory Pugh and, eventually, Lindsey Horan, most likely contributed to the USWNT's poor defensive showing. The Pride's Alex Morgan scored twice on Thursday and Horan added a go-ahead goal after the U.S. fell behind 2-0 in the first half. But a late tying goal in stoppage time spoiled the comeback party.
The Red, White & Blue probably also weren't expecting such a fiercely fought friendly. The game became so intense that the Japanese skipper was sent off after a rash challenge from behind against Julie Johnston, which led to a second yellow. However, thus far, these games have served their purpose. Jill Ellis has been able to see what a rising star like Pugh is capable of against proud Japanese opposition and the United States has gotten a look against one of the world's best teams, despite the fact that Japan didn't qualify for Brazil.
This second game should be a chance for the U.S. to rectify some of the sloppy mistakes made in the first match. Lapses of concentration and poor defensive work allowed the opposition to get into good scoring positions. Closing danger areas down and staying focused while still continuing to give a chance to the youngsters will be key, especially heading into such an important competition.
How to Watch:
In regards to some confusion on broadcast listings for certain cable providers, the #USAvJPN broadcast will begin at 1pm ET on ESPN 2.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) June 5, 2016
Match time: 1 p.m. ET
Venue: First Energy Stadium Cleveland, OH.
TV: ESPN2 (we think?).
Stream: Watch ESPN.
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow @StarsStripesFCor @ussoccer_wnt
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Enjoy the game. Go USA!