The U.S. women’s national team returns to Women’s World Cup play against the Netherlands on Wednesday night in a match that will serve as the first major test as the reigning champions eye an unprecedented three-peat.
A trio of players who had fitness concerns all played in the team’s 3-0 win over Vietnam last week and are expected to be available for a rematch of the 2019 final. Julie Ertz started and played 90 minutes in the USWNT’s opening game, while Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle each came off the bench in the second half. Trinity Rodman will also likely be an option for the team after playing 75 minutes against Vietnam and has seemingly overcome a potential back injury after being involved in a tackle in the first minute.
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It means head coach Vlatko Andonovski has a chance to name his first-choice lineup against the Netherlands, but he may need to make changes from the lineup against Vietnam after an inconsistent offensive effort. The team scored only three times after posting 28 total shots, seven of which were on target, and they’ll aim to improve from an attacking standpoint to ensure they can claim top spot in Group E.
Here’s a look at who could start for the USWNT against the Netherlands:
Projected Starting XI
USWNT: Naeher; Fox, Ertz, Girma, Dunn; Lavelle, Sullivan, Horan; Williams, Morgan, Smith
Andonvoski might make two changes to the team that started against Vietnam, choosing Lavelle over Savannah DeMelo and Lynn Williams over Rodman. Lavelle is destined to be a mainstay in the lineup if she stays fit, and her creativity in midfield could help the USWNT improve their attacking performance against a Dutch team that will be organized in defense.
Williams could also slot in after Rodman’s quiet performance last week. Rodman did not register a single shot during her 75 minutes on the pitch against Vietnam, which may open up the door for Williams to bring her NWSL hot streak to the World Cup — she has seven goals for NJ/NY Gotham FC this season.
Date: Wednesday, July 26 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Wellington Regional Stadium — Wellington, New Zealand
TV: Fox | Live stream: Fox Sports App and fubo (Try for free)
Odds: USA: -150; Draw: +250; Netherlands: +420 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Read full post on CBSSports.com Headlines