The top-ranked U.S. Women’s National Team begin their road to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Saturday with a match against a talented France squad that is currently ranked third in the world. The match will be played in front of a sellout crowd in Le Havre, France, and will air on FS1 at 11:30 AM PT.
While Megan Rapinoe was the engine that fueled the USWNT’s creativity in 2018, she is being rested this match — as the Seattle Reign FC forward is not in the Starting XI or on the bench. It is possible she is being saved for Tuesday’s match against Spain.
If both countries perform as expected in the World Cup, hosted this summer in France, they could face off in the quarterfinals. That makes this friendly one with big expectations and a lot more on the line than usual. Still, it’s a friendly where experimentation is expected and players are given the chance to prove their value.
While the attacking-first mentality for the U.S. was successful during CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers in October, their defenders are going to have a much bigger challenge against France, a team with depth, technical skills, and speed. In fact, it looks as though U.S. Head Coach Jill Ellis has mixed up the team’s formation to adjust to this France side — possibly moving away from their standard 4-3-3 formation.
Crystal Dunn, who Ellis has used as an aggressive attacking left back, looks to be starting higher up the field today in what might be a 4-4-2 formation.
While many of France’s players are in top shape — as those playing in France’s Division 1 Féminine league are more than halfway through their season — the U.S. players are emerging from a long NWSL offseason and break in international play. A U.S. side known for its athleticism will be put to the test.
It might be just a friendly to kick off 2019, but making a statement at the start of a World Cup year would be a big momentum boost for the U.S.
9’ - France goes up 1-0 on some poor defensive plays
57’ - Great pass. Perfect run. Shot? Cross? Doesn’t matter. Diani gets her second and puts France up 2-0.
78’ - Aaaaand, France goes up 3-0 on this Marie-Antoinette Katoto goal
‘90+4 - The U.S. finally get one, as Mallory Pugh puts in the first USWNT goal of the year
FULL TIME: An organized, in-form France side took it to the U.S., who played their first match in a few months and rested a number of normal starters. The team now heads to Spain, who they will face on Tuesday.
How to Watch
USA vs France
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Time: 11:30 AM PT (coverage begins)
Location: Le Havre, France
TV: FS1, UDN
Streaming: FoxSportsGo, Fubo
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