Welcome to your match thread as the United States Women’s National Team kicks off its sendoff series for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The final approach to France begins against South Africa at 4:30 p.m. ET (FOX). It’s the first of three pre-World Cup matches this month for the USWNT.
The USWNT is 4-1-2 in 2019 entering today’s game against Banyana Banyana. South Africa is the 49th ranked team in the world in the latest FIFA women’s rankings and, as such, the United States should not have too much trouble getting a result. However, the South Africans are in the World Cup, drawn into a difficult Group B along with Germany, China, and Spain.
Banyana Banyana achieved qualification through the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations, winning Group B without a loss — beating Nigeria, 1-0, and Equatorial Guinea, 7-1. South Africa also drew 1-1 with Zambia in the group stage. In the knockout round, South Africa beat Mali, 2-0, then drew 0-0 against Nigeria in the final before falling on penalties, 4-3, finishing second in the tournament but earning World Cup qualification.
The South Africans will be without three key players for today’s match. Because the match does not fall under the official FIFA calendar, midfielders Leandra Smeda and Linda Motlhalo and forward Thembi Kgatlana will miss the match. Smeda plays for a club team in Sweden while the other two ply their trade in China and all have club team commitments.
The No. 1 USWNT features three Orlando Pride teammates — Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, and Ali Krieger. Krieger is still sitting on 99 international caps and today would be a good day for No. 100. Morgan will look to add to her 101 career goals with the USWNT to move up the all-time scoring list.
Jill Ellis will want to work on her team’s sometimes shaky defense prior to the big tournament in France. It has been a bit leaky in 2019 so far, but South Africa may not provide a strong enough test to tell Ellis if anything has been fixed as of yet.
Defenders (7): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 37/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 19/1); Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 82/24), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 99/1), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 115/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 155/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 31/0).
Midfielders (6): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 82/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 79/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 66/8), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 24/6), Allie Long (Reign FC; 42/6), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 47/9).
Forwards (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 147/28); Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 271/107), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage; 7/2), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 160/101), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 113/47), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 50/15), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 150/44).
Goalkeepers (4): Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns FC), Mapaseka Mpuru (TUKS Ladies), Kaylin Swart (Unattached), Jessica Williams (Spurs Ladies).
Defenders (10): Karabo Dhlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns FC), Bongeka Gamede (UWC Ladies), Yonela Keto (Thunderbirds), Tiisetso Makhubela (Mamelodi Sundowns FC), Noko Matlou (Ma-Indies FC), Bambanani Mbane (Bloemfontein Celtic FC), Lebogang Ramalepe (Ma-Indies FC), Janine van Wyk (JVW), Nothando Vilakazi (Gintra Universitetas), Charmelle Wiltshire (Lamar University).
Midfielders (8): Kholosa Biyana (UKZN), Ongeziwe Dlangisa (Sunflower Ladies), Sibulele Holweni (Sophokama/HPC), Refiloe Jane (Unattached), Nomvula Kgoale (Louisiana Tech University), Mamello Makhabane (JVW), Busisiwe Ndimeni (TUKS FC), Nompumelelo Nyandeni (JVW),
Forwards (4): Ode Fulutudilu (Málaga), Amanda Mthandi (University of Johannesburg), Rhoda Mulaudzi (Canberra United), Jermaine Seoposenwe (Gintra Universitetas).
How to Watch
Match Time: 4:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Levi’s Stadium — Santa Clara, CA.
Streaming: FOX Sports GO.
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match. Go America!