Yalla Shoot News

Yalla Shoot :USWNT vs. Wales: Top Storylines and Predictions for 2023 Friendly | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

USWNT vs. Wales: Top Storylines and Predictions for 2023 Friendly

0 of 3

    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 11: Alex Morgan #13 of the United States dribbles looking for an open man during an international friendly game between Ireland and United States at CITYPARK on April 11, 2023 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

    Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images

    The United States women’s national team plays its final game before the 2023 Women’s World Cup on Sunday against Wales.

    Vlatko Andonovski’s side comes into Sunday with a perfect 7-0 mark in 2023, and it outscored opponents 16-1 in that stretch.

    The 23 players on the World Cup squad are confirmed, but there are still some decisions to be made in the starting XI, especially at center back, where Becky Sauerbrunn is out of the competition with an injury.

    The Americans are expected to win their tune-up against a Welsh side that did not qualify for the World Cup, but they need to be on guard after one of their biggest rivals to win in Australia and New Zealand suffered a surprising setback earlier in the week.

All Eyes on USWNT Defense

1 of 3

    AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 8: Naomi Girma #27 of the United States looks to pass the ball during a game between Ireland and USWNT at Q2 Stadium on April 8, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

    Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images

    The USWNT’s biggest question mark is in defense, where Sauerbrunn is out injured and Tierna Davidson was left off the World Cup roster.

    Naomi Girma and Alana Cook are expected to be the center-back starters in the World Cup opener against Vietnam. Emily Sonnett will be mixed in at the position as well.

    Girma and Cook have 39 international appearances between them. Sauerbrunn has 216 caps and Davidson appeared in 49 USWNT matches.

    Andonovski is taking a big risk by not having much experience in the middle of defense, so a strong showing against Wales would do wonders for the team’s confidence before they fly halfway around the world.

    Wales’ biggest threat is OL Reign’s Jess Fishlock, who has 34 goals in 134 appearances.

    The USWNT defenders have experience containing Fishlock from their time in the NWSL, so that should help with a strong 90 minutes in San Jose.

    A win and a clean sheet is the expectation, and if that occurs, some concerns about the defense will at least calm down for a few weeks.

USWNT Must Guard Against Upset

2 of 3

    ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 11: Sophia Smith #11 of the United States dribbles the ball during an international friendly game between Ireland and the USWNT at CITYPARK on April 11, 2023 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by John Todd/USSF/Getty Images).

    John Todd/USSF/Getty Images

    The Americans must be on high alert for an upset after what happened to Germany, the No. 2 team in the FIFA World Rankings, in its World Cup tune-up matches.

    Germany barely beat Vietnam, the USWNT’s first group-stage opponent, and lost to Zambia in a wild 3-2 match on Friday.

    The two results were uncharacteristic of a team that is expected to challenge for the World Cup title.

    The USWNT can learn from Germany’s mistakes and play a clean 90 minutes without much concern with the World Cup on the horizon.

    Wales will go all out for the result since the European side is not headed to the World Cup. A win over the USWNT would do wonders for the Welsh to kickstart their next World Cup cycle.


3 of 3

    FRISCO, TX - FEBRUARY 22: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States moves along the sideline during the SheBelieves Cup game between Brazil and USWNT at Toyota Stadium on February 22, 2023 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Erin Chang/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

    Erin Chang/ISI Photos/Getty Images

    United States 2, Wales 0

    A clean sheet is the most important thing for the USWNT to produce on Sunday.

    The Americans have six shutouts in 2023, and a scoreless 90 minutes in San Jose would provide a necessary boost for the inexperienced center back duo at the World Cup.

    The USWNT’s attack produced multiple goals in five of the seven games this calendar year. There should be no shortage of chances for Alex Morgan, Sophia Smith and Co.

    It would be nice to see Megan Rapinoe find the back of the net one day after she announced that 2023 would be her final professional season.

    Rapinoe has limited matches left on American soil, and a goal would be a perfect way to start her retirement tour.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button