The United States Women's National Team play their second match in the send-off series today against New Zealand. Both teams will be headed to France in a few weeks to participate in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and will look to use tonight's game as a stepping tone in their preparation.
The USWNT frontline looks to get going
Against South Africa, Sam Mewis was the most effective goal scorer for the USWNT. The South Africans managed to keep Christen Press, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath quiet for most of the match as the three could not combine will enough in the final third to put South Africa under constant pressure. With Megan Rapinoe set to possibly start tonight, Morgan in particular may have more looks in front of goal against New Zealand.
The question coming into tonight's game will be the USWNT midfield. Mewis did enough over the last few matches that she had started to push for a starting role going forward so head coach Jill Ellis will have some serious decisions to make once Lindsey Horan is fit again. The other issue is depth at the defensive midfield position. Julie Ertz played most of the match against South Africa with a bloody lip and was replaced by Allie Long whose strengths do not lay at the DM position. Ellis has the chance to experiment with her 23-player roster to see who could slot into that role should something happen to Ertz and New Zealand provide a solid opponent to try someone else out at that position.
New Zealand pose as another resilient team for the USWNT
The USWNT come into tonight's match looking to improve their chance creation considering all that took place recently against South Africa. South Africa held their own against the hosts this past weekend but could not generate enough attack of their own to truly trouble the USWNT. New Zealand is a different proposition in that respect as they have better players upfront who, if given enough time and space, will cause the USWNT problems.
The 'Football Ferns' are led by a familiar face in head coach Tom Sermanni and will look to use the likes of Abby Erceg and Ali Riley to keep the U.S. offense quiet. Up top, Rosie White and Hannah Wilkinson pose a threat and will look to pressure the USWNT backline as much as possible, as the U.S. have shown in previous matches that their backline is not as firm as it has been in the past.
The match will be played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri and kick off is scheduled for 8:00PM EST.