The United States Women’s National Team will put its 30-match unbeaten streak on the line against Japan today as the 2020 SheBelieves Cup concludes at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX (8 p.m., ESPNews). The Yanks are 2-0-0 in this year’s event and need a draw or better to capture the tournament against Japan, which is 0-2-0.
The United States is 28-1-8 against Japan, out-scoring Nadeshiko Japan, 106-29. One of those draws came in last year’s SheBelieves Cup, when Japan knocked the USWNT out of a potential tournament championship. The U.S. finished 1-0-2 and on five points — two points behind England. That 2-2 draw last February in Philadelphia was earned at the death by Japan. Yuka Momiki scored in the 91st minute to equalize after Alex Morgan had given the Yanks the lead. Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring and Emi Nakajima also struck for Japan.
The U.S. famously lost to Japan in the 2011 Women’s World Cup in penalties, after a 2-2 draw spanning extra time. The U.S. also famously beat Japan, 5-2 in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final in a game where Carli Lloyd dazzled with a 16-minute hat trick including that goal from long range. You remember the one. We all do.
Japan is currently 10th in FIFA’s world rankings, but has not performed well at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. After opening with a 3-1 loss to Spain last week, the Japanese lost 1-0 to England on Sunday.
Although not the powerhouse it was in years past — the side was ranked eighth in the world during last year’s SheBelieves Cup — Japan is still a formidable opponent. Led by No. 4, captain Saki Kumagi, who plays professionally for Lyon in France, the Nadeshiko have a strong defense. However, the team’s weakness is in the attack. The Japanese are not trending well against the world’s top teams recently. If the Yanks can’t unlock their defense, they may be able to find success on set pieces, as they did in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Spain.
Defenders (8): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 60/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 25/1), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage; 103/24), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 107/1), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 130/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 176/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 31/0), Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride; 45/0).
Midfielders (5): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 101/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 85/18), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 44/12), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 66/18), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 16/0).
Forwards (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 167;33), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 293/123), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage; 19/4), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 137/57), Mallory Pugh (Sky Blue FC; 62/18), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 167/51), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 26/9).
Goalkeepers (3): 1-Sakiku Ikeda (Urawa Red Diamonds), 18-Ayaka Yamashita (Nippon TV Beleza), 21-Chika Hirao (Albirex Niigata).
Defenders (7): 2-Risa Shimizu (Nippon TV Beleza), 3-Shiori Miyake (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 4-Saki Kumagai (Lyon / FRA), 5-Moeka Minami (Urawa Red Diamonds), 16-Asato Miyagawa (Nippon TV Beleza), 20-Arisa Matsubara (Nijima Stella), 22-Mayo Doko (Nippon TV Beleza).
Midfielders (7): 6-Hina Sugita (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 7-Emi Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 10-Yuka Momiki (Nippon TV Beleza), 12-Hikaru Naomoto (Urawa Red Diamonds), 14-Yui Hasegawa (Nippon TV Beleza), 17-Narumi Miura (Nippon TV Beleza), 19-Jun Endo (Nippon TV Beleza).
Forwards (6): 8-Mana Iwabuchi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 9-Yuika Sugasawa (Urawa Red Diamonds), 11-Riko Ueki (Nippon TV Beleza), 13-Mayu Ikejiri (Vegalta Sendai), 15-Mina Tanaka (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 23-Mami Ueno (Ehime FC).
How to Watch
Match Time: 8 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Toyota Stadium — Frisco, TX
TV: ESPNews, TUDN.
Streaming: WatchESPN, TUDN en Vivo.