The U.S. Women's National Team face Germany tonight in the third and final match of the 2016 SheBelieves Cup. Both teams won their first two matches against France and England, making this the championship match. Win, and the U.S. walk away with the first-ever SheBelieves title. Tie, and Germany steals it from us, as they lead on goals scored.
The championship match kicks off at 4:30 p.m. PT. Despite the fact that the USA v. Germany Women's World Cup semifinal brought in 8.4 million viewers, today's game will not be televised. It will instead be streamed on ESPN3.
Seattle Reign FC's Megan Rapinoe, while still recovering from an ACL tear, is with the team in Florida for today's match. Her creativity has been sorely missed in 2016, and it doesn't look likely that anyone will be able to fill that creative playmaking role in the Olympics.
Reign FC's Hope Solo and defender Lauren Barnes are both on the 22-player roster, with Barnes earning her first senior national team call-up. Last weekend, Solo proved she's still the best in the world against France, making three incredible saves to keep the U.S. in the match and earning her 97th career shutout in the process.
Germany should be out for revenge after falling to the U.S. 2-0 in last year's World Cup semifinal. Since finishing fourth at the World Cup, Germany has been in qualifying for the 2017 UEFA Women's Championship, dominating competition that includes Hungary, Croatia, Russia, and Turkey.
Even with the retirements of goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and striker Célia Šašić, the Germans still a number of lethal players. That includes forward Anja Mittag, who scored 39 goals in her 132 caps, and Dzsenifer Marozsan, who at 23 is widely considered one of the best young players in the world.
This should be a great matchup between the two top-ranked teams in the world, and it is one of the U.S. national team's last tough matches before the Olympics this summer.
What to Watch
- U.S. midfield: Since the World Cup, USWNT coach Jill Ellis has opted for a 4-5-1 formation, leaving Alex Morgan up top as the lone striker. While it has worked defensively, the U.S. midfield has struggled to push the ball up the field. Carli Lloyd struggled against both England and France, and Morgan Brian and Lindsey Horan, a natural striker, have not linked up effectively quite yet.
- Who starts in defense? After playing in every World Cup match, right back Ali Krieger has been replaced by Kelley O'Hara for most of the SheBelieves Cup. On the other side, Meghan Klingenberg struggled to contain France's Elodie Thomis, and the USWNT backline in general were lucky the match ended in a shutout. Ellis might opt to switch things up against an equally quick German side.
- Lauren Barnes: The rock of the Reign backline finally got a call-up to the national team. Will she get her first cap today? One can dream ...
How to Watch
Date/Time: Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 4:30 p.m. PT
Location: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
TV: None (grrr)
Streaming: WatchESPN (ESPN3)
This is your #SheBelieves Cup title match gamethread. Watch and discuss with us.