American lineup announced
The Americans will be diminished at the back line. Center back Becky Sauerbrunn is out with a mild quadriceps injury the team said is “totally precautionary.” Up-and-coming midfielder Samantha Mewis joins Tuesday’s starting lineup in midfield, and Julie Ertz shifts to center back.
The question is, will it matter against a Thailand side ranked 34th in the world?
The Outlaws have arrived
American fans have made the trip to France, and are ready for the Yankees to finally get on the pitch.
The top-ranked U.S. women’s national soccer team has won the World Cup three times and Olympic gold four times. But its earliest exit in major competition, during the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals against Sweden, has helped motivate a squad with enough depth and experience to field two quality teams.
And yet the eager Americans were forced to wait through the early days of this tournament. The United States will take on Thailand on Tuesday in Reims, France; they’re the last teams to play a group match.
“We’re feeling left out,” forward Alex Morgan joked Monday.
Thailand is back on the world stage after debuting in Canada four years ago; it’s ranked No. 34 in the world. The U.S. is expected to easily handle both this game and Sunday’s against No. 39 Chile before its Group F finale next week against Sweden.
If the Americans have a vulnerability, it’s in the back. In the run-up to the tournament, the Americans conceded a dangerous number of opportunities — they almost dare opponents to commit players forward and leave themselves exposed to a U.S. counter. The goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, has never played in a World Cup or the Olympics.
But any perceived weaknesses are overshadowed by the power of a program that has raised more trophies than anyone in women’s soccer annals. The Americans are not heavy favorites, as they have been in the past, before much of the rest of the world started to embrace the women’s game. But they remain front-runners nonetheless.
When: Tuesday, 3 p.m. Eastern.
Where: Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims, France.
TV: Fox, Telemundo.
Streaming: Fox Sports.
Next: The U.S. plays Chile in Paris on Sunday. Thailand faces Sweden in Nice on Sunday. Sweden and Chile will meet Tuesday at noon Eastern in Rennes.
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Results, schedule and standings