After the U.S. Women’s National Team beat Sweden 1-0 on Thursday, the focus turns to the next matchup with Norway. This is the first match between the two sides since March 4, 2015, the opening match of the 2015 Algarve Cup. The long-time rivals will meet for the 50th meeting all-time between the countries. The United States holds a 28-19-2 record against the home side.
At the 2015 Algarve, Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberger opened the scoring to give her team a 1-0 lead at the break. Two goals in the second half from U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd gave the Americans the 2-1 win. The U.S. would not lose another game that year until after the World Cup championship.
Thursday’s victory over Sweden was a nice result after a lackluster performance. The U.S. struggled in the first half to connect passes, especially in the final third. This lead to a lot of pressure on the backline. Despite the pressure from Sweden, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and the backline were able to keep the clean sheet, the third of the year for the USWNT.
Two players to keep an eye on in this match are forward Christen Press and midfielder Megan Rapinoe. Both have had very good NWSL seasons so far and will be looking to transfer that success over to the national team. For Rapinoe, this is just her second round of games for the US this year. In two matches versus Russia in April, Rapinoe saw just 26 minutes of action. With Seattle this year, Rapinoe has four goals and one assist in eight games for the Reign. That has already surpassed her marks from an injury-shortened 2016 season. As for Press, she has only seen two starts in six matches played this year. When Press is healthy and on her game, she has the potential to be one of the most dangerous players in the world. For Chicago this season, she has three goals and two assists in eight games for the Red Stars. When both are at the top of their games, they have the potential to bring a spark to the attack for the Americans.
The match against Norway will be the last friendly before the start of the 2017 Tournament of Nations. Although we saw a four-back for the U.S. on Thursday, it will be interesting to see if head coach Jill Ellis goes back to the three-back prior to the upcoming tournament. With players having NWSL games in the States less than a week later, don’t be surprised to see a few changes to the lineup come game time.
Kickoff for this match is 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Fox.