The United States women’s national team could notch their 500th win today as they near the end of their 2018 schedule today against Portugal. Could...and probably should, as Portugal — coming off of a third-place finish in a UEFA qualifying group that the USWNT likely would have swept — is probably not going to be the sternest of tests. However, with core players Tobin Heath, Kelley O’Hara, and Christen Press all unavailable, there is a chance for some non-starters to solidify their place in the squad and possibly even climb to the top of the depth chart.
Location: Estadio António Coimbra da Mota (Estoril, Portugal)
Kickoff time: 1:00pm Eastern
Projected USWNT starting 11: (433) - Alyssa Naeher; Emily Sonnett, Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn; Rose Lavelle, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan; Mallory Pugh, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe
Bench: Ashlyn Harris, Adrianna Franch, Casey Short, Merritt Mathias, Emily Fox, Samantha Mewis, Allie Long, Danielle Colaprico, Andi Sullivan, Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald
The absent trio of Heath (personal commitment), O’Hara (ankle surgery), and Press (family commitment) open up starting spots for Sonnett at right back and Pugh on the right wing. This would be a good opportunity to give Mewis some real minutes as the anchor of the midfield, but this is a Jill Ellis team, and generally the reps all go to the starters for the next big game.
Available TV: ESPN2
Available streaming: WatchESPN, ESPN3
What do we have to say about it?: Stars and Stripes FC wonders if we, maybe just this once, might get to see some fringe players actually play.
What are you drinking?: In the middle of the day on a Thursday? Probably a can of Polar lemon seltzer.
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