The 2019 SheBelieves Cup is back to prepare four world-class teams who are headed to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in June. No team has more pressure on it to perform well in France than the United States Women's National Team. Two years ago following the disappointment of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the USWNT came in last in their own domestic tournament. In 2018 the USWNT got back on track after their experimental year to win the SheBelieves Cup. Now it is 2019, four months away from the World Cup, the USWNT faces its biggest test so far. In January the team traveled overseas to face Spain and France. In France, the USWNT lost 3-1 but looked much better in Spain winning 1-0. The USWNT will take on Japan, England, and Brazil.
History against the competition
Japan and the USWNT have a rich history meeting in the last two World Cup finals. Since the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final the two teams have met four times with the USWNT winning three and drawing one. The USWNT’s all-time against Japan is 28-1-7. England and the USWNT have met at the last three SheBelieves Cups, most recently winning 1-0 in last year's addition. The USWNT has a 10-3-2 record against England. Brazil and the USWNT also have a long history, especially with so many Brazilian players playing in the NWSL. The USWNT has a record 28-3-5 against Brazil, beating them twice in back to back Tournament of Nations competitions. The teams have met on the biggest stages in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and the 2007 and 2011 World Cups.
Missing from the roster
As of the SheBelieves roster, about 20 roster spots have been locked up. At the end of 2018 Morgan Brian everyone assumed she would be in France come June, but after her poor performance in January games, Brian was left off the SheBelieves roster. Brian has not been the same since the last World Cup, and it is no guarantee she will be in France unless she can find her 2015 form. Also missing from the SheBelieves roster is Lindsey Horan due to a quadriceps injury; however, she is in camp training with the team. Danielle Colaprico was named to the roster, but today she was ruled out with a re-aggravated groin injury.
Players to Watch
Alex Morgan was named the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year in 2018 after scoring 18 goals in 19 international games. Morgan is currently sitting at 98 international goals, following quickly after Carli Lloyd who achieved 100 goals last year. Morgan had one of the best years of her career in 2018, second only to 2012. Morgan has to continue that hot streak this year if the USWNT is going to win the World Cup. This tournament will give everyone a chance to see how dangerous she may be in June and July if she is continuing her peak.
Also to watch is the center-back pairings. The four center backs on this roster are Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Emily Sonnett. Sauerbrunn has years of experience on all of them, but three young guns have held their ground. Davidson and Dahlkemper have been the primary starters next to Sauerbrunn, but Jill Ellis should settle in on one to ensure that trust and chemistry are built before the World Cup.