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USA vs Australia preview: US faces plenty of questions marks ahead of crucial game

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Many have been waiting to see the US Women’s National Team open their tournament to find out if they’ll be able to put together a complete 90 minutes. Australia provides the perfect test for U.S. in its first game.

Both teams and players are very familiar with one another — both internationally and in NWSL, but it’s the American team that holds the records. The U.S. is 22-0-2 against Australia with an overall scoreline of 83-20.

Australia’s offense is impressive this year with a trio of forwards that are dynamic and creative featuring Kyah Simon, Lisa De Vanna and 2011’s Best Young Player Caitlin Foord. These three lead a relatively young team that prides themselves on grit and enough technical skill to make them dangerous when in possession of the ball.

It is the Australian defense that may be a concern. The backline is typically anchored by captain Clare Polkinghorne, but on Friday in training Polkinghorne left early with an apparent hamstring injury and there has been no word since on whether or not she will be available for the opener. This leaves the brunt of defensive responsibilities to young Steph Catley. She’s known for getting up into the attack and working combination plays with her forwards, but if she is forced to stay central on the backline, that will limit her and the Australian offense.

Meanwhile, USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis stated last week that she has her starting 11 selected for this opening game. Her starters will greatly determine the type of offense the U.S. will display. The American’s best games leading up to the World Cup, have come from productive and effective flank play, typically centered around Megan Rapinoe.

The backline for the U.S. should be able to contain the Australian offense, so the pressure will be entirely on the American offense to bring a complete performance up top.

Much of the talk centers around the role Alex Morgan will or will not have in the team’s first game. In a press conference Monday night, Ellis insisted that Morgan was healthy and ready for the game.

If this is true, it might be unwise to start Morgan as she has not seen any international action since early April in a game against New Zealand. At the same time, Ellis will want to get Morgan minutes before she has to play a physical and fast Swedish team. If the U.S. controls the game early, a second half appearance by Morgan will give her a solid starting point in the tournament.

The US Women’s National Team game against Australia will be shown live at 7:30pm ET on FOX Sports 1 for viewers in the United States.

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. john

    June 8, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    usa by -2

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