The USWNT’s victory tour continues tonight, as the World Cup champions take on South Korea. The United States has largely coasted through their post-France matches, but a grueling year has started to take its toll on some veteran players. That might create some openings in the lineup, and with a coaching change coming, we’re probably going to see some lesser-used players showing what they can do.
Key player: All three Washington Spirit players
We’re breaking the rules of this section by picking 3 players, because there are 3 Spirit players in the squad. Let’s start with Rose Lavelle, who is still trying to build her fitness up after missing a month due to injury. She did play 90 in the Spirit’s 2-1 win over North Carolina last weekend, scoring the dramatic winner in the process, but her first words to reporters post-game were “I’m dead, man! I’m tired! I’m really tired.” Expect her to go an hour or so.
Mal Pugh, who was sick last week but played through it in all three of the Spirit’s games, has an opening to bring her recent form (2 goals/1 assist in her last 4 appearances) to the USWNT. With this being an opportunity to look to the future, it seems fair to expect Jill Ellis to give Pugh some real minutes on either wing.
Finally, Andi Sullivan’s excellent 2019 campaign has been rewarded by a recall to the national team. With injuries leaving the squad short-handed, it’s an excellent chance for Sullivan to prove that she belongs in the mix. The next USWNT head coach will surely be watching this game, and if Sullivan can look as comfortable with this group as she does in a Spirit kit, she should be getting call-ups on a regular basis next year.
Location: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
While Kelley O’Hara, Lindsey Horan, Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan, and Sam Mewis were all called up, they are all out due to various injuries, leaving Jill Ellis with 19 players to choose from tonight. That group includes Sullivan, and given that players like Ertz and Lavelle would probably benefit from playing fewer than 90 minutes, she really should get a chance to show what she can do with this group.
Elsewhere, it seems likely that Pugh will get significant minutes as well, as running Rapinoe into the ground just before the playoffs seems ill-advised. We may see Davidson start as well, either for Dunn or Dahlkemper.
Available TV: Fox Sports 1, TUDN (formerly Univision Deportes)
Available streaming: Fox Sports Go, TUDN En Vivo
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
we our friends have to say about it?: Stars and Stripes FC’s preview has more on the Korean squad, among other details.
What are you drinking?: Feeling like a nice Pikesville Rye on the rocks is in order.
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