Thanks to the results in the first two rounds of the SheBelieves Cup, things are simple for the United States today against Germany. With a win, the USWNT will be crowned champions of this newly concocted tournament. That's no small achievement, given that the SheBelieves Cup features four of the top five teams on the planet. However, anything less than a win tonight will give the title to Germany, who like the US has beaten France and England to get to 6 points. The difference is narrow: Both sides have the same goal difference, but Germany sits in first place at the moment due to goals scored.
It has not been easy for the USWNT, though, and they're actually pretty lucky to have gotten two shutouts thus far. While the 1-0 win against England was a fair result, it required a wonderful goal from Crystal Dunn in the late stages. Sunday's 1-0 win over France was even more fortunate, as Hope Solo had to make some big saves while relying on the post to spare their blushes as well. The normally dominant USWNT back four looked nervy, and an often disjointed game only became a win after Mallory Pugh took advantage of some French confusion in stoppage time to send Alex Morgan in behind the defense to score the winner.
Jill Ellis has been experimenting with some players, and this tournament is the real test (no disrespect to CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, but this is another level). Lindsey Horan has seen plenty of time as a central midfielder, and at this high level her inexperience - not to mention her first touch - have been found out to a certain extent. Kelley O'Hara has been at right back, and while she has done a good enough job, one has to wonder whether it's actually left back that needs a change. Meghan Klingenberg struggled pretty badly with Elodie Thomis against France, and the USWNT back four in general looked off against the French.
Of course, not every experiment has a questionable aspect to it. Ellis decided to give Pugh starts based on her Olympic qualifying performances, and the 17 year old has forced her coach to keep her in the starting lineup. Pugh is fast, of course, but the real reason she's staying on the field is her field vision and her anticipation. Despite being the youngest player in the USWNT squad by a wide margin, she has been arguably the best player in this tournament. To get a needed win against Germany, the rest of the US needs to catch up to the youngster.
Location: FAU Stadium (Boca Raton, FL)
Kick-off time: 7:30pm Eastern
Available TV: None
Available streaming: ESPN3 (English), WatchESPN app (English)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.