Tomorrow, the United States women’s national team takes on Germany in an international friendly in Offenbach, Germany.
The game is the first of a two-match set of European friendlies over the next six days, with the U.S. following up its game against Germany with a match against the Netherlands on April 9.
Here is everything you need to know heading into the match against Germany.
Where to Watch
The game kicks off at 12:15 p.m. ET.
Germany will present one of the stiffest challenges to the USWNT’s dominance over the next few years as the U.S. looks forward to the 2015 World Cup. While the USWNT maintains their stranglehold on the No. 1 ranking from FIFA, Germany is right behind them at No. 2.
Over the past six months, the two teams have met three times. In October, Germany came to the United States to play the USWNT in two games of the Fan Celebration Tour.
Both of those matches were draws, but the Germans controlled the play for long stretches in each match. In the first match in October, Germany outshot the U.S. 12-7, but in the second match, Germany’s dominance was much more pronounced, as they outshot the U.S. 25-14.
Last month, in the Algarve Cup final, the U.S. beat Germany 2-0 to once again claim its ninth championship in the annual tournament on the strength of two first-half goals from Alex Morgan. However, once again, the Americans were outshot by the Germans, this time 12-6.
The U.S. Roster
Following the USWNT’s gold-medal-winning performance at the 2012 Olympics, the team went on a 10-game celebration tour. Because the tour was to celebrate the team’s success at the Olympics, the matches were played using the team’s Olympic roster and not as an opportunity to begin rebuilding the squad for the 2015 World Cup.
However, since new U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni has taken over the squad, he has been quick to bring in many new players.
Only 13 players on the roster that Sermanni has called in for these two friendlies were a part of the U.S.’s Olympic team this past summer.
The 23 women are Nicole Barnhart, Adrianna Franch, Ashlyn Harris, Rachel Buehler, Crystal Dunn, Whitney Engen, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn, Yael Averbuch, Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath, Kristie Mewis, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Abby Wambach.
Amy Rodriguez has not been available for selection since the announcement in January that she is pregnant.
Hope Solo is out injured after undergoing wrist surgery, Carli Lloyd is out injured after breaking a bone in her shoulder in the Algarve Cup, Amy LePeilbet has suffered a torn ACL and had surgery in January and Heather Mitts has retired from soccer.
Jill Loyden, who was an alternate for the Olympic team, played in the Algarve Cup, but broke her hand in the tournament.
If you haven’t seen the U.S. women play since the Olympics, there are several new players to be on the lookout for.
Since Sermanni took over the reins as USWNT manager, center-back Whitney Engen has earned a number of starts and has been particularly strong in the back for the U.S. She will be challenging veterans Rachel Buehler, Christie Rampone and Becky Sauerbrunn for a place in the starting XI.
Crystal Dunn and Julie Johnston have both been called up to several camps under Sermanni after being two of the U.S.’s standout performers at the U-20 World Cup this past fall.
Dunn has incredible speed and attacking ability from the right-back position and played well with the team during the Algarve Cup.
Johnston is a multi-faceted player who has usually been used in the U.S. setup as a center-back. Johnston did not play with the full national team during the Algarve Cup. Instead, she was playing with the U-23 team in the Four Nations Tournament, which the U.S. won.
Meghan Klingenberg, who was an alternate on the Olympic team, missed the Algarve Cup due to a shoulder injury but is now healthy enough to make a return to the team.
Yael Averbuch appears to be the U.S.’s eventual replacement for Shannon Boxx as the U.S.’s holding midfielder. Averbuch earned several starts for the U.S. in the Algarve Cup, including starting in the final against Germany.
Christen Press, another one of the U.S.’s Olympic alternates, has been very strong since coming into the team earlier this year. She already has four goals in 2013.
Some “New” Key Players
With Hope Solo out injured, Nicole Barnhart will likely get the start in the net. Barnhart has 49 caps for the U.S. and played particularly strong against Germany in the final of the Algarve Cup.
And, in case you didn’t notice, Ali Krieger is back with the USWNT. Krieger, who was so strong with the U.S. during the 2011 World Cup, missed the 2012 Olympics after injuring her knee during qualifying. Since returning to the team, fans have been reminded just how important Krieger is to the team. Krieger was terrific in the Algarve Cup, making critical last-ditch tackles when the U.S. defense was broken down, making great overlapping attacking runs from the back and even chipping in with a goal on a fantastic back-post run against China.
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