USA 2020 SheBelieves Cup preview: Andonovski's side out for third title
CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 9: United States head coach Vlatko Andonovski looks on during a game between Canada and United States at Dignity Health Sports Park on February 9, 2020 in Carson, California. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

New USA manager Vlatko Andonovski has named a strong squad for his first 2020 SheBelieves Cup as his side looks to win the competition for a third time.

The 43-year-old has won all seven of his games in charge of the number 1 FIFA ranked side as they secured Olympic Qualification in the recent CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship last month.

As well as winning all five games in that tournament they also scored 25 goals, conceding none and Andonovski believes his squad are full of confidence:

"As a team, we have lots of positive feelings coming out of Olympic qualifying, but I think we all know that there's still a lot of room for growth for this group and there's no better way to continue that process than to play teams like England, Spain and Japan."

Here’s all you need to know about the two-time SheBelieves Cup winners…

Ones to watch

Andonovski has named a very strong squad for the SheBelieves Cup including 10 of the starting 11 from last year’s Women’s World Cup final in the 23 strong roster.

Only Alex Morgan is missing as she takes a break from football in preparation of her first child.

National team stalwarts Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, Kelley O’Hara, Crystal Dunn, Ali Krieger and Becky Sauerbrunnare are all present. All seven players have at least 100 caps and a combined 1,266 appearances for the USA.

However, at the aforementioned CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament it was Lindsey Horan who shone for the Stars and Stripes.

The forward scored in every game, apart from the semi-final including a hat-trick against Panama in the group stages.

Prior to that tournament the 25-year-old had only 12 goals in 77 games for the USA so as she approaches her peak, she’ll be hoping to shine on the SheBelieves Cup stage.

One for the future

Continuity has been the theme for Andonovski’s initial USA squads. The vast amounts of experience that Rapinoe et al. bring has not been underestimated.

The squad does contain two 21-year-olds in Tierna Davidson and Mallory Pugh but the pair boast 87 international caps between them and both went to last year’s Women’s World Cup with Pugh even scoring one of the USA’s 13 goals against Thailand.

Alongside Davidson and Pugh, Andi Sullivan, Rose Lavelle and Horan represent the next generation of stalwarts in the USA’s roster.

Lavelle, who made her international debut against England at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup, enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2019 and looks set to be a national team hero for years to come.

The 24-year-old started all six games at last year’s Women’s World Cup scoring three times and was voted in the 2019 FIFPro World XI.

Third choice goalkeeper Adrianna Franch has the least amount of caps in the squad with three and also made her debut against England at a SheBelieves Cup, in last year’s 2-2 draw.

Predicted finish

The USA, like in every tournament they compete in, will be targeting top spot. Of the four previous iterations of the SheBelieves Cup the USA have won twice in 2016 and 2018 and will be hoping to get their hands on the trophy again.

England won the 2019 version of the tournament pipping the USA to top spot by two points after Japan held the hosts to a 2-2 draw in the opening game thanks to a Yuko Momiki last minute equaliser.

After England’s form has stuttered since their fourth-place finish at the 2019 Women’s World Cup the USA will be hoping to take advantage of this will be confident they can regain the SheBelieves Cup.

Last time

In the 2019 SheBelieves Cup the USA won just one of their three games and drew the other two finishing as runners up. After Momiki’s equaliser earned Japan a draw with the hosts England also held the USA to a 2-2 draw.

Rapinoe had opened the scoring for her side but goals from Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris put the Lionesses’ in front before Heath levelled the scores.

The USA’s only win at the tournament came against a Brazil side that finished last. Heath scored the only goal of the game.

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