Welcome to your live thread for the United States Women's National Team’s third and final game of the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. The U.S. is tied atop the standings with tonight opponents from England but the visitors hold the tiebreaker entering this de facto championship match.
After Germany takes on France at 4 p.m. at Orlando City Stadium, the main event will kick off at 7 p.m. (ESPNNews).
Orlando Pride stars Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris are once again on the U.S. roster, marking the third trip to the tournament for each. Morgan played most of the opener against Germany, assisting on the winning goal, but she saw her three-match international goal-scoring streak snapped. She went the distance on Sunday in the 1-1 draw against France, serving as team captain. Look for Alyssa Naeher to start ahead of Harris again tonight unless she picks up a knock.
England blasted France to the tune of 4-1 in the opening match day and followed that with a 2-2 draw vs. Germany on Sunday to set up this showdown. The Lionesses, in their first games under new manager Phil Neville, won this fixture in last year’s tournament, 1-0, on a late goal by Ellen White in the 89th minute. It was England’s first ever win in the series on U.S. soil.
The Americans are 9-4-1 against England in the all-time series. These teams like to play nailbiters, finishing with a 1-0 score line in each of the last three meetings. The last time they played was in last year’s SheBelieves Cup. The U.S. and England have split their two meetings in this event, with the USWNT grabbing the 2016 edition over in Tampa, 1-0. Crystal Dunn scored the game’s only goal.
The Yanks will need to be wary of White, who scored twice on Sunday in the draw against Germany. She leads the tournament’s Golden Boot race entering the final match day with those two strikes and she’ll be confident against the U.S. after winning last year’s meeting for her side. Right back Lucy Bronze is an attack-minded defender who can get forward and create on the fly, and she’ll provide a stiff test for the U.S. back line and defensive midfield. It was her blast off the crossbar last year that fell for White’s winning goal.
The United States will look to open up an offense that has been largely missing in action this tournament, although the conditions haven’t been great in the first two matches at Columbus and New Jersey. The weather should be a little better tonight and Morgan should feel comfortable in her home stadium. The USWNT will likely be without Casey Short, who injured her ankle in the draw against France. That likely means the more inconsistent Taylor Smith will be in the lineup. Personally, I’d like to see more of Sofia Huerta. Alternatively, Kelley O’Hara could play on the right with Crystal Dunn on the left.
Julie Ertz sat out Saturday nursing a knee injury, so her availability is in question for tonight.
The winner of tonight’s game will take the trophy, but a draw would eliminate the U.S. and give the trophy to the Lionesses. A draw could drop the USWNT to third depending on what happens in the early game. After last year’s fourth-place finish in this event, that would be a rough result for Jill Ellis’ side.
Defenders (7): 7-Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 16/0), 17-Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 3/0), 14-Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 107/2), 2-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0), 22-Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit; 10/0), 16-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 14/0).
Midfielders (6): 6-Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 71/6), 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 59/15), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 46/4), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 249/98), 20-Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 34/6), 3-Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 9/0).
Forwards (7): 19-Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 59/23), 21-Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC; 3/0), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 137/81), 23-Christen Press (Houston Dash; 98/44), 11-Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 32/9), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 132/35), 12-Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 18/4).
Goalkeepers (3): 1-Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), 13-Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), 21-Carly Telford (Chelsea).
Defenders (9): 2-Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyon, FRA), 3-Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 5-Anita Asante (Chelsea), 6-Millie Bright (Chelsea), 12-Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), 14-Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), 15-Abbie McManus (Manchester City), 17-Rachel Daly (Houston Dash, USA), 23-Gabby George (Everton).
Midfielders (4): 4-Fara Williams (Reading), 8-Jill Scott (Manchester City), 16-Izzy Christiansen (Manchester City), 22-Keira Walsh (Manchester City).
Forwards (7): 7-Nikita Parris (Manchester City), 9-Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign, USA), 10-Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 11-Toni Duggan (Barcelona, ESP), 18-Ellen White (Birmingham City), 19-Mel Lawley (Manchester City), 20-Georgia Stanway (Manchester City).
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
Streaming: Watch ESPN and ESPN3 (only for ESPNNews subscribers).
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match. Go America!