USA-Germany: The rematch

The USA has beaten England, ranked fifth in the world, and France, third in the FIFA rankings, and can complete a sweep of the SheBelieves Cup with a win over Germany, ranked No. 2, in the tournament finale on Wednesday at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida. The game is a rematch of the 2015 Women's World Cup semifinal the USA won, 2-0, but a lot has changed for both teams since then.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis has made three changes in the lineup that won the Women's World Cup, one because of injury (17-year-old Mallory Pugh for Megan Rapinoe), another because of retirement (Lindsey Horan for Lauren Holiday) and the third at right back (where Kelley O'Hara, who came off the bench in Montreal and scored the second goal against Germany, has been starting ahead of Ali Krieger).

The game-changer has been Pugh, who didn't play her first game with the senior national team until January. Pugh is blessed with tremendous pace, but she also showed her skill and vision as her perfectly timed through ball set up Alex Morgan for the stoppage-time winner in the 1-0 win over France on Sunday.

The biggest test of Pugh's young career will come Wednesday against Germany that is also being rebuilt since the Women's World Cup, where it finished a disappointing fourth. But unlike 2011 when its quarterfinal exit knocked it out of the Olympics, Germany's fourth-place finish was good enough for a berth at the Rio Olympics.

Silvia Neid, who will step down as German head coach after the Olympics in favor of German-American Steffi Jones, has had to replace former FIFA Women's Player of the Year Nadine Angerer in goal and Celia Sasic up front and is without Simone Laudehr and Melanie Leupolz at the SheBelieves Cup.

But Germany remains solid down the middle with defenders Saskia Bartusiak and Annike Krahn, Lena Goessling in midfield and Anja Mittag up front.

Germany might not have the attacking options of a team like France, which was unlucky not to score at least a couple goals in the first half Sunday in Nashville, but Neid has been working on Germany adopting a more pressing game that could trouble the young U.S. midfield that has not created a lot of opportunities for the veteran attackers Carli Lloyd and Morgan.

Germany's top young attacker, Sara Daebritz is suspended for Wednesday's match after receiving yellow cards in the first two games.

TIEBREAKER. Germany has matched the USA's 1-0 wins over England and France with 2-1 and 1-0 wins over the same teams and will take the SheBelieves Cup with a win or tie against the USA.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 18-Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), 21-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), 1-Hope Solo (Seattle Reign).
DEFENDERS (9): 20-Lauren Barnes (Seattle Reign), 6-Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), 19-Jaelene Hinkle (WNY Flash), 8-Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), 6-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns).
MIDFIELDERS (6): 14-Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), 22-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), 3-Samantha Mewis (WNY Flash), 9-Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City).
FORWARDS (4): 16-Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), 12-Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars); 2-Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado).

Germany Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 12-Laura Benkarth (Freiburg), 1-Almuth Schult (Wolfsburg), 21-Lisa Weiss (SGS Essen).
DEFENDERS (7): 3-Saskia Bartusiak (FFC Frankfurt), 8-Kathrin Hendrich (FFC Frankfurt), 2-Josephine Henning (Arsenal/ENG), 22-Tabea Kemme (FFC Turbine Potsdam), 5-Annike Krahn (Bayer Leverkusen), 4-Leonie Maier (Bayern Munich), 14-Babett Peter (Wolfsburg).
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Melanie Behringer (Bayern Munich), 15-Anna Blaesse (Wolfsburg), 23-Sara Daebritz (Bayern Munich), 24-Sara Doorsoun (SGS Essen), 20-Lena Goessling (Wolfsburg), 16-Svenja Huth (Wolfsburg), 17-Isabel Kerschowski (Wolfsburg).
FORWARDS (6): 9-Mandy Islacker (FFC Frankfurt), 6-Lina Magull (Freiburg), 10-Dzsenifer Marozsan (FFC Frankfurt), 11-Anja Mittag (Paris St. Germain/FRA), 19-Lena Petermann (Freiburg), 18-Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg).
6 comments about "USA-Germany: The rematch".
  1. John Soares, March 9, 2016 at 11:17 a.m.

    Sounds like it will be a terrific game! What (TV) station is it on???

  2. beautiful game, March 9, 2016 at 11:51 a.m.

    She believes cup...the worst name eEVER!!!!!!!

  3. Wooden Ships, March 9, 2016 at 12:10 p.m.

    I think its on ESPN3? She Believes Cup name is strange. Should have been the "Bye, Bye, Sepp Cup." I can't imagine that the viewing numbers for these games would have been less than some if the obscure, monotonous basketball games. Another USSF failure.

  4. aaron dutch, March 9, 2016 at 2:44 p.m.

    Its absurd that its on this is Germany v USA about as good as it gets. They could have put it on one of the 5 ESPN's or ABC's 3-4 channels including cable. Its a total fail by ESPN/ABC Sports & USSF. This is why Fox & BEIN & NBC Sports are key to getting ESPN out of soccer as they dont really care.

  5. John Soares, March 9, 2016 at 3:31 p.m.

    It' shameful.... NO QUESTION. It is also a failure of US.SOCCER. When you negotiate the TV rights to show these games, it should be to "SHOW THEM". If ESPN or whomever chooses not to air them. Then allow someone to do no cost. OR highest bitter.

  6. Wooden Ships replied, March 9, 2016 at 3:42 p.m.

    Agreed John and Aaron, its ultimately USSF responsibility. Are we admitting that in 2016 and the current Cup holder, that women are still just women? Fowdy, Fowdy, Fowdy! Seriously though, we (USSF) need to evolve. Should have gone to the Algarve after all.

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