The United States women’s national team begins their preparations for the Olympics when they face Mexico tomorrow in the first of two matches as part of their sending series in Hartford. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski will look at getting his team ready for toughness in the Olympic football tournament as he looks at his formations and rotations and how he plans to deploy the best team on the planet.
Mexico ranked 28th in FIFA world rankings which was released on June 25, is a team that is constantly improving and their team presents a formidable challenge for USWNT. They play with energy and precision, and they seek to make it hard for the # 1 team in the world before USWNT takes flight to Tokyo.
That Olympic list to USWNT:
DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester By), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)
Forward (5): Tobin Heath (unrelated), Carli Lloyd (NJ / NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (unrelated), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign)
OPTIONS: Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Catarina Macario (Lyon), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)
What to look for
How much will Tobin Heath play? Julie Ertz is not expected to show up tomorrow as she recovers from injury, but we will likely see the first of Tobin Heath in a USWNT jersey in 2021. Heath, who has also recovered from an ankle injury that was inflicted Manchester United, seems ready to get a few minutes as she calls up for her fitness for the Olympics. Will we see her for a long time, or will any appearance from her just be a como?
How aggressive will the high press be? Storm is expected on Thursday, so high pressure can be difficult if the weather is really wet. Andonovski will still see how his high pressure will work against a team that is aggressive on the ball and that will quickly have the ball and move it down the field. With 18 players in the Olympics, he looks to see how often he can turn up the intensity and when to call back.
Stay focused. Eyes on the price. USWNT has to work on the things they know they will have to improve if they are to win the gold medal and that must be their focus. Continue the intensity and stardom that has led them so far, but keep refining the details and don’t forget the goal: win gold in Tokyo.
The wet weather is keeping the fireworks in the field at bay and it will be a slow affair. However, USWNT breaks through with a couple of goals to beat Mexico with a well-known result line: 2-0.