The Americans are expecting a sold-out crowd when they face Colombia this weekend in their second Women's World Cup game.
If there's one thing the U.S. women's national team knows, it's how to handle the pressure of playing on the world's biggest stage.
The Americans have a lot of eyes on them not only at home but also in packed stadiums throughout the Women's World Cup in Germany, where they will play their second Group C game against Colombia on Saturday.
“I think there’s pressure on us but I love that we have the pressure to do well," U.S. midfielder Shannon Boxx said. "I think we do from back home, our fans back home, and from within ourselves, we feel pressure to do well because the U.S. has always been a top team. I think that’s why we play this game at this level. These are the big events that you want to play for.”
The U.S. is set to face the South American nation with a chance to advance to the quarterfinals in front of a sold-out crowd in a two-year-old stadium in Sinsheim that seats 25,641. Many of the fans are expected to be U.S. military members stationed nearby.
This will be the first time the U.S. will meet Colombia, which currently ranks 31st and is making its Women's World Cup debut. While the Americans are coming off an impressive 2-0 victory over North Korea, Colombia is looking to recover from a 1-0 loss to Sweden in its Group C opener.
“We’ve just recently focused our attention on Colombia," midfielder Heather O'Reilly said. "We’ve already seen some clips of them, some video. We’re getting ourselves accustomed to the way that they play, and they have been very impressive so far. That was a strong opening match for them, so we’re going to be ready.”
Colombia's roster is featured by midfielder Yoreli Rincon, who at just 17 years old entered the tournament as one of the top players. But after being less than impressive against fifth-ranked Sweden, head coach Ricardo Rozo said she probably won't start against the United States.
The U.S., meanwhile, could also see some lineup changes on Saturday, as head coach Pia Sundhage hinted at making some adjustments entering the match. There may not be a better chance for the remainder of the tournament to rest starters.
“We’re always thinking about resting players. We haven’t changed the starting lineup that much from the Japan game," she said. "If there’s a change to be made in the starting lineup, it is likely against Colombia. Further down the line, I don’t think we’d have the chance to do that. It’s so important to have many players playing minutes. I truly believe that if we play many games, it is important to use the whole bench.”
It is likely that Boxx could be benched in favor of Lori Lindsey, who took her place in the lineup during Thursday's training session. Boxx looked out of place against North Korea in her defensive midfield position and there may not be a better time for Sundhage to experiment with the lineup as well as rest players. Carli Lloyd is another player who could be replaced.
Kick off is set for 12 p.m. ET.