SheBelieves Cup: USA opens against young Japan team

Less than four months before the start of the Women's World Cup, the USA will play three games in seven days in the SheBelieves Cup, its most intense run of games before the finals start in France.

It begins on Wednesday night in Chester, Pennsylvania, where the USA will play Japan, which it has faced in the last two Women's World Cup finals (2011 and 2015) and the last Olympic gold-medal game (2012) in which they competed.

What to look for from the USA: With Lindsey Horan (quad injury) out of the tournament,  Jill Ellis has several options in midfield. She can slot Sam Mewis or McCall Zerboni in Horan's place or move Crystal Dunn up from the backline line she did against France in January.

The only place at the moment where there would any doubt about whom Ellis would line up is on the backline. With Tierna Davidson back in the team after her ankle suffered early last fall, she gives Ellis three legitimate candidates for the two starting spots at center back along with Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn.

What to look for from Japan: Japan head coach Asako Takakura, who took over for Norio Sasaki after Japan failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, has only four holdovers from the team that started against the USA in the 2015 World Cup in Vancouver: Aya Sameshima, Saki Kumagai and Saori Ariyoshi in the back and Rumi Utsugi in midfield.
4 comments about "SheBelieves Cup: USA opens against young Japan team".
  1. Valerie Metzler, February 27, 2019 at 10:19 a.m.

    Whose idea was it to have a game in FEBRUARY in Pennsylvania?

  2. stewart hayes replied, February 27, 2019 at 6:44 p.m.

    Seriously though, I agree.  I hope the players coming in from warmer areas are well prepared for the cold.  I knew a coach that took his team, accustomed to the valley temps 90+, to Pacifica for a late summer tournament.  They all came back with muscle injuries because they were not prepared for the cold they encountered there.  

  3. stewart hayes, February 27, 2019 at 4:37 p.m.

    The trainers.  They don't need to bring ice.

  4. Nathan Hellyer, February 27, 2019 at 9:39 p.m.

    What channel is it on?

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