The USWNT is a few hours away from taking on China for the quarterfinals, after they beat Colombia by 2-0, and China beat Cameroon by 1-0.
China is a team with a very similar style as the United States. They are very organized and played really well defensively. However, Chinese players are much younger with an average of 23 years old. The U.S. will play without two very important players: California native and left winger Megan Rapinoe and central midfielder Lauren Holiday, as both received their second yellow card during the game against Colombia and were suspended for one game. They are the players that create the most opportunities for the U.S. and Rapinoe was key in the group phase victories. The ones who are most likely going to replace them are Morgan Brian and Californian Christen Press. There will be a lot of pressure on California speedster Alex Morgan to be get creative and score goals now that Rapine is out.
[quote_box_center]”We’re lucky enough that we do have depth in the squad,” defender Ali Krieger said. “We don’t have just 11 starters — we have 23 starters on this team. There is going to be a great energy brought into the squad, and everyone is prepared to play.”[/quote_box_center]
Last time the U.S. played against China in December, they tied 1-1. Even though China is ranked 16th and the U.S. is ranked 2nd, this will not be an easy match, even more considering two key players will be missing. “They don’t give much away,” Coach Jill Ellis said. “They’re a very organized team — probably one of the best organized teams in the tournament. They make it very, very hard for you to break down. I think they’re going to obviously be up for the challenge.”
[quote_box_center]”China is not an easy team,” Wambach said. “There are no easy games left in this tournament. We have to come prepared and we have to come to fight.”[/quote_box_center]
The winner of this match will advance to semifinals and will take the winner of Germany and France, who are also playing today.
[quote_box_center]”We know that we haven’t played our best, and we’re working through that,” defender Becky Sauerbrunn said. “I think it’s gotten better each game, and when it finally does click we know we’re going to be very fearsome.”[/quote_box_center]
If the U.S. wants to win this game, they will have to play with determination, discipline and daring. Kick off is at 4:30 pm PST so make sure to carve out some time to support the USWNT!