The United States has lined up against overmatched opponents in their previous four Victory Tour matches, but tonight the USWNT will take on Brazil, a strong side who made the knockout rounds of this summer's Women's World Cup. Brazil may not be quite the power they used to be - their 1-0 loss in the round of 16 to Australia may have symbolically indicated two teams switching places in the hierarchy of women's national teams - but they're still one of the best 10 teams on the planet. That's a big difference from Costa Rica and Haiti, who in 4 Victory Tour games conceded 28 goals while scoring just 2 in response.
Key player: Shannon Boxx
12 years after her first USWNT call-up, Boxx will finish up a 16 year professional career tonight. On top of two Olympic gold medals and a Women's World Cup, Boxx came in third in the World Player of the Year voting in 2005 despite being a defensive midfielder. Thanks to her leadership and experience, Boxx maintained her spot in Jill Ellis's side over the last couple of years despite Ellis seeming to prefer to convert more attack-minded players into that role.
For her final game, Boxx gets to face a Brazilian team that were at their best during her peak years. Brazil may not be the top-tier international side they were back when they were among the favorites for the 2011 WWC, but they're still a team featuring Marta and Cristiane. It seems likely that Boxx will get the start so she can be subbed off to the standing ovation she's earned, but during her time in the game she's going to have to provide a screen for the USWNT back four and keep the ball moving at the proper tempo when the Americans are in possession.
Key question: Can any of the newcomers push their way into a very settled squad?
An unwillingness to consider new faces has been a common complaint about Ellis since she took charge in 2014. Part of her motivation was surely to favor stability ahead of the World Cup, but fans had every right to wonder what players like Crystal Dunn or Sam Mewis had to do to get a real look.
The roster for today's game has 31 names on it, and many of them are USWNT newcomers (or in Dunn's case, in the weird middle ground between "newcomer" and "established regular"). Defenders Gina Lewandowski, Jaelene Hinkle, and Emily Sonnet may have the most difficult path due to the USWNT's outstanding starters as well as depth that keeps players like Whitney Engen and Christie Rampone on the bench (not to mention the fact that Dunn is being listed as a defender, though it seems more likely that she lines up as a winger).
In the midfield, Boxx's retirement - not to mention Lauren Holiday, who will be joining Boxx soon - has left perhaps the best opportunity for Mewis and the Washington Spirit's Christine Nairn. Both are defensive midfielders, and it can be argued that both have deserved more of a look than they've gotten up until this point. Forwards Lindsay Horan and Stephanie McCaffrey may find the way forward blocked due to the simple fact that the USWNT has so many outstanding forwards that Christen Press often finds herself at right midfield instead.
Match previews: US Soccer has a one-stop shop for all of their articles on today's game, while FoxSports.com has an overall preview as well.
Match date/time: Wednesday 10/21, 10:00pm Eastern
Venue: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, WA)
TV: ESPN2 (English)
Online: WatchESPN (English)
Listings via USsoccer.com.
Our gamethread will be up an hour before kickoff. Treat this as tonight's gamethread.