Welcome to the quarterfinals, where things are about to get real, y'all. Or realer than they have been, anyway. Sure, that last game was a win-or-you're-out, but China is a better team than Colombia, and this one is a, I don't know, really win or you're really out.
Mostly because if the USWNT make it to the semifinal, they're going to face Germany or France—and that's no walk in the park. Time to step up. So, onto said stepping...
Kickoff time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Lansdowne Stadium (Ottawa, Canada)
TV/Streaming: Fox and NBC Universo for your televisions; Fox Sports Go and NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra for your streaming devices
Projected: Well, as always, we'll start with the constants. Hope Solo in goal, with Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Meghan Klingenberg on the back line.
And then, we run into problems, mostly because of that pesky (read: stupid) yellow card rule that's left us without Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe for this game because they both have two yellows in this tournament. Jill Ellis has essentially already said that Morgan Brian will start in Holiday's spot alongside Carli Lloyd, which is all good, really. What about those wings, though? Ellis is hardcore committed to her 4-4-2, so don't expect to see any other formation out there, and I think Ellis gives us Tobin Heath and Christen Press out wide. Press isn't a winger, we know that, but Ellis seems to have forgotten that Heather O'Reilly exists, so here we are.
Up top, I really don't know who Ellis will start. I'll go with Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan again, just because. I'm not sure either of them is fit enough (Morgan went 90 against Colombia), but I also don't think that really stops Ellis.
Match previews and recommended reading: Previews from Fox Sports, ESPN, SI, SB Nation, and Goal. There's also this article from SI about the USWNT's fired kit man and this article about Morgan Brian and Meghan Klingenberg living with Jeff Van Gundy.
Prediction: USA 2-0 China. To the semifinals we go!
What are you drinking? I'll be at my sister's, so whatever I have will be great because I won't have paid for it.
Go nuts in the comments for your pre-, in-, and post-game talk.