After a two-week training camp, the United States Women’s National Team kicks off 2018 with a match against Denmark, a country that made it to the UEFA Euro final in 2017 — beating teams like Germany and Norway in the process. This should be a tough challenge for the U.S., as Denmark boasts a strong midfield core and an exciting attack. They are currently ranked 12th in the world by FIFA.
Seattle Reign players Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long were both called into camp and could feature in today’s match, which airs on ESPN and kicks off at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Sunday’s match is the only USWNT game before the SheBelieves Cup in early March, which will put the U.S. up against England, France, and Germany. After a disappointing performance in the tournament last year, the U.S. will be looking for redemption. As a result, Jill Ellis will likely use this friendly against Denmark to solidify her starting lineup for the upcoming tournament.
The U.S. will be without their best defender and co-captain, Becky Sauerbrunn, who is resting from a “stress reaction” in her foot. That means Abby Dahlkemper, Emily Sonnett, Casey Short, and 19-year-old Tierna Davidson will be competing to start as the central players along the backline. Julie Ertz could also drop back into that familiar centerback role, though she is arguably more important further up the field.
The midfield remains the largest question for the U.S. After struggling against teams like France and Australia in 2017, it will be important for the midfield core to maintain possession, dictate the tempo of the game, and protect its backline. Denmark has dangerous attacking players like former Reign player Katrine Veje, former Thorns forward Nadia Nadim, and Pernille Harder, one of the most technically gifted attackers in the world. This could be a good match to test the skills of Andi Sullivan, who was just taken first in the NWSL Draft after a standout senior season with Stanford.
Reign FC’s Megan Rapinoe was one of the best U.S. players in 2017. It will be interesting to see how her role evolves this year, as Ellis looks to build a team to dominate in the 2019 World Cup. With a lot of competition in the attack, Rapinoe will need to show that she’s capable of a repeat performance this year. I’m guessing she’s up for it — but would prefer that Rapinoe gets a bit more rest this year.
With NWSL play still two months away, get your women’s soccer in by watching what should be a good test for the United States.
DEFENDERS (8): 7-Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 13/0), 17-Tierna Davidson (Stanford), 25-Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC; 73/3), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 104/2), 2-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 19/0), 22-Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit; 7/0), 16-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 12/0),
MIDFIELDERS (5): 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 57/14), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 44/4), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 246/98); 20-Allie Long (Seattle Reign; 33/6), 6-Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 7/0)
FORWARDS (7): 19-Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 57/22), 26-Savannah McCaskill (Boston Breakers; 0/0), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 134/80); 23-Christen Press (Houston Dash; 96/44), 11-Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 29/6), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign; 129/34), 12-Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 15/4)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Stina Lykke Petersen (Kolding Q), 22-Line Johansen (Unattached)
DEFENDERS (5): 3-Janni Arnth (Linköpings FC, Sweden), 8-Theresa Nielsen (Unattached), 18-Mie Leth Jans (Manchester City, England), 19-Cecilie Sandvej (1. FFC Frankfurt (Germany), 20-Stine Ballisager Pedersen (VSK Aarhus)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 4-Maja Kildemoes (Linköpings FC, Sweden), 6-Nanna Christiansen (Brøndby IF), 7-Sanne Troelsgaard (FC Rosengård, Sweden), 11-Katrine Veje (Montpellier HSC, France), 13-Sofie Junge Pedersen (Levante UD, Spain), 15-Frederikke Thøgersen (Fortuna Hjørring), 21-Sarah Dyrehauge (Fortuna Hjørring)
FORWARDS (6): 9-Nadia Nadim (Manchester City, England), 10-Pernille Harder (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany), 12-Stine Larsen (Brøndby IF), 14-Nicoline Sørensen (Linköpings FC, Sweden), 17-Signe Bruun (Fortuna Hjørring), 23-Caroline Moeller (Fortuna Hjørring)
How to Watch
Time/Date: Sunday, January 21, 2018, 4:30 p.m. PT
Location: SDCC Union Stadium, San Diego
This is your USWNT gamethread. Watch and discuss with us.