Wednesday's game ended in a 1-1 draw after a goal each in the opening (Brazil, Monica) and closing minutes (U.S., Carli Lloyd). Today, the USWNT seek a win—and a decisive one, at that.
Key player: Lauren Holiday
This will be her last game for the USWNT, and if you have any sense at all, you're sad to see her go. Holiday is a stellar player who under coach Jill Ellis shifted roles from forward to "why is she in the midfield??" midfielder, but she is usually a joy to watch wherever she's playing. Certainly she'll start today, and we'll have to treasure it.
Runner-up player to watch is Lori Chalupny, who's also playing her last international game today. Chalupny's career with the USWNT is long, though it was sidetracked by a history of concussions. She hasn't made a decision either way re: whether to continue her club career, but nonetheless, her last appearance for the U.S. will be bittersweet.
Key question: Is this team cut out to win against tougher opposition?
Okay, so perhaps it's an unfair question. The USWNT is probably always cut out to win against any other team, but with a changing squad and new players entering the fold, uncertainty hovers around Jill Ellis' team (although, yes, that's nothing new—remember how we weren't sure how the World Cup would go?)
Brazil seemed set to earn a win on Wednesday and put a little dent in the USWNT's otherwise victorious Victory Tour, but I suppose that's the risk you run when you play a team that, with apologies to the other opponents on this tour, is on a rather different level than your Haitis and your Costa Ricas. What Brazil offers is a much more real test than the USWNT has faced since the World Cup, and with Olympic qualifying looming, a real test is somewhat welcome.
As mentioned, Lauren Holiday and Lori Chalupny seem sure to get starts (and emotional substitutions) in this one, but look out for appearances by some of the newcomers as well. The times, they are a-changing.
Match date/time: Sunday, Oct. 25, 2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Citrus Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
TV: Fox Sports 1
Online: Fox Sports GO
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