USA vs Australia, Tournament of Nations at CenturyLink Field

USA vs Australia, Tournament of Nations at CenturyLink Field
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For the second time U.S. Women’s Soccer will host its four-team elite international tournament of the year as Australia, Brazil and Japan travel to the USA for the inaugural Tournament of Nations.

Tonight the U.S will kick off against Australia at 7 pm at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The round-robin tournament will feature three doubleheaders and will take place in three venues along the west coast; CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Qualcomm Stadium San Diego and at StubHub Center in Carson, California from July 27 to August 3.

The USA is currently ranked first in the world, Japan is sixth, Australia is seventh and Brazil is eighth. U.S. Soccer is planning on hosting this tournament every summer during the years that do not feature a World Cup or Olympic Games. Next year’s tournament will feature the same four teams.

The last time the United States played Australia was the 2015 Women’s World Cup, beating them 3-1 in Winnipeg. Since then Australia has had a very decent run at the 2016 Olympics (ultimately getting knocked out by Brazil on penalties in a heart crushing quarterfinal match). Overall they’ve brought a fairly experience roster to the United States for this matchup.

On the American side, there are some points of interest at every position to consider. Some of the bigger ones to consider are whether Ali Krieger gets any field time and at what position; whether Sydney Leroux gets a chance to demonstrate if she’s still WNT-level; and if standout Morgan Brian is asked to play while carrying an injury. We’ll also see if new callups Taylor Smith and Margaret Purce can implement the high-pressing flank attack that Head coach Jill Ellis seems to like. Ellis will likely set up here team in a 4-4-2 (four defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards) against Australia. The formation has been working well for Ellis and her team in recent games.

If the game is battled out in the midfield, Australia has Katrina Gorry to marshal the troops; Elise Kellond-Knight is also one to watch as someone who can dislocate US possession and flip the Australian counter. Australia can take the pressure and give it right back, so possession will need to be sharp, or else this game could turn into real end-to-end stuff.

Final Score: USA 0 Australia 1