The USWNT will begin their defense of the 2015 World Cup title against Thailand. Today’s opening match for the USA starts at 3 p.m. Eastern on Fox. The pregame coverage will begin at 2 p.m.
The U.S. squad enters the match as a heavy favorite against Thailand. While the team is one of the favorites heading into the World Cup, there are questions about the team’s defense, especially with Hope Solo no longer in goal. Alyssa Naeher is expected to get the start as goalkeeper and today’s match offers a big opportunity for her to build momentum for the rest of the tournament. Becky Sauerbrunn will not be starting today’s match.
“Becky Sauerbrunn not starting, has a mild quad issue per US Soccer. Julie Ertz moves to centerback, Sam Mewis starts in midfield,” Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl tweeted.
Soccer fans will still see familiar faces with Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe leading the squad up front. After Morgan’s 2015 World Cup was derailed with injury and the forward is ready to be an integral part of this team’s success.
“I think that having been on this team for nine years and having that consistent core of players who’ve also been on this team like Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Kelley O’Hara — some of these players I remember have been there since the 2011 World Cup and possibly even before, I feel like we’ve really gotten to know each other,” Morgan told Pro Soccer USA. “We know exactly what each other is going to do on the field and that’s definitely helped.”
The USA is the favorite to advance out of Group F as they compete against Thailand, Chile and Sweden.
Jill Ellis Responded to Hope Solo’s Criticism
It would not be a World Cup without controversy surrounding Solo, even though she is not competing in the tournament. During a BBC interview, Solo was critical of U.S. manager Jill Ellis describing her as someone who “cracked under pressure”. Ellis responded to the criticism by pointing to her track record.
“For me, personally, I feel over the past five years I’ve made a lot of important decisions and I have processes to make those decisions, and I own those processes,” Ellis told Fox News. “At this point, everything and every focus is about this group of players that are here and now. Pundits, out there, that’s part of it. And part of the message is always to make sure that the focus is on the internal part of the game. And that’s where we are.”
Here are the details on the USA’s projected starting lineup against Thailand.
USA vs. Thailand Starting XI
Here is the USWNT starting XI, per Fox Sports. The U.S. is expected to start out in a 4-3-3 formation.
Here is a look at the starting XI for Thailand.