Following on from the disappointment of failing to retain the SheBelieves Cup title, the U.S. women's national team will take on Australia in a friendly at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Colorado as part of a three-match series where Jill Ellis will likely finalize her roster for this summer's World Cup.
A leaky defense meant that the USWNT was unable to win the SheBelieves Cup on home turf for the third time as England was named champion. Despite boasting the all-star likes of Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath, the USWNT settled for draws in their first two matches and only won their last game of the tournament – a 1-0 victory over Brazil.
The Matildas will ready themselves to face the three-time World Cup winner on Thursday evening as they look to build momentum from a 4-1 victory over South Korea and a 3-0 win against Argentina in FFA Cup of Nations fixture in early March.
|Game||USWNT vs Australia|
|Date||Thursday, April 4|
|Time||2am BST / 9pm EST|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched on Fox Sports 1 and livestreamed on FOX Sports Go.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|Fox Sports 1||FOX Sports Go|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be livestreamed or broadcast on television.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Campbell, Franch, Harris, Naeher|
|Defenders||Dahlkemper, Davidson, Dunn, Krieger, Sauerbrunn, Short, Sonnett|
|Midfielders||Ertz, Horan, Lavelle, Long, Mewis, Sullivan, Zerboni|
|Forwards||Heath, Lloyd, McDonald, Morgan, Press, Pugh, Rapinoe|
Alyssa Naeher and Ashlyn Harris remain the top two goalkeeping choices that Ellis will have to choose from, while Adrianna Franch and Jane Campbell will compete for the third spot.
Kelley O'Hara is out injured, prompting the return of 34-year-old Ali Krieger. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath are all guaranteed to start the game against the Matildas.
Potential USWNT starting XI: Naeher; Sauerbrunn, Krieger, Dahlkemper, Dunn; Ertz, Horan, Mewis; Heath, Rapinoe, Morgan.
|Goalkeepers||Williams, Micah, Arnold|
|Defenders||Simon, Polkinghorne, Alleway, Catley, Kennedy, Carpenter, Ralston, Allen|
|Midfielders||Luik, Logarzo, Kellond-Knight, van Egmond, Butt, Gorry|
|Forwards||Foord, De Vanna, Gielnik, Raso, Fowler, Kerr|
Teenage talent Mary Fowler has been included in the squad to face the USWNT, while Amy Harrison, Princess Ibini, Teresa Polias and Eliza Campbell have missed out. Kyah Simon is missing due to injury but still remains in contention to travel to France for the World Cup.
Potential Australia starting XI: Williams; Polkinghome, Alleway, Catley, Kennedy; Kellond-Knight, Van Egmond, Logarzo; De Vanna, Foord, Raso.
Betting & Match Odds
The USWNT are priced at odds of winning 7/5 according to bet 365 , while a draw is available at 13/5. A win for Australia is priced at 9/5.
The USWNT's triple-header of matches against Australia, Belgium and South Africa will give head coach Ellis the final chance to shape her roster ahead of the World Cup this summer. Though she phased out a number of veterans following their failure at the 2016 Summer Olympics, 34-year-old Ali Krieger has been awarded a surprise recall, possibly earning her first involvement with the team on the pitch in nearly two years.
“Ali has never been off the radar,” Ellis told reporters. “I would say that players who have played at that level are never off the radar.
“When you get close to a World Cup and seeing Ali training at outside back, I know she’s fit. With Kelley not being here, sometimes the experience piece is something you have to take into consideration going into a massive event like this.”
Ellis' roster is, for the most part, likely finalized save for a few injuries and suspensions, but these last three fixtures will allow her some final fine-tuning.
Which goalkeepers she decides to bring with her to France remains one of the biggest questions. Franch has been NWSL's Goalkeeper of the Year for the last two seasons, but she made a huge error against England in the SheBelieves Cup in her bid for a spot on the roster during her first cap after years of waiting.
Thursday's meeting will be the 14th fixture between the USWNT and Australia, with the most recent a draw in July 2018 during the Tournament of Nations when Lindsey Horan scored a late equalizer. The draw enabled the USWNT to keep its tournament winning hopes alive. Those hopes were then secured when they went on to beat Brazil 4-1.
Australia, meanwhile, has proven to be a threat on the pitch, having won its last four games in a row, outscoring its opposition 14-1 in that time. It is the best run of form since an eight-game streak from July 2017 to March 2018.
Matildas captain Sam Kerr will be the biggest danger to the USWNT, as she has scored three goals in her last two games. The last time she scored in more consecutive games was a seven-game stretch from July 2017 to February 2018.
USWNT star Morgan, on the other hand, is chasing a historic 100th USWNT goal.