The United States women's national soccer team will host New Zealand twice over a four-day span this October. The two sides will first square off in friendly match No. 1 on Sunday evening in San Francisco.
This weekend's clash at Candlestick Park marks the first meeting between the two sides since August 2012, when the U.S. earned a hard-fought 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympics in London.
Team USA has yet to lose a single match in 2013 and will be looking to extend its winning streak over the Kiwis to 10 games on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Football Ferns have won their last two matches and are unbeaten over their last four.
Below, we'll get you set with everything you need to know for this weekend's friendly showdown in San Francisco.
Date: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Live Stream: USSoccer.com
Top Storyline: Will U.S. Fend Off Revenge-Minded Kiwis?
The U.S. broke the hearts of New Zealand the last time these two squads met, and that memorable result will be the most talked-about storyline coming into this weekend's friendly.
Abby Wambach and Sydney Leroux each found the back of the net in the Americans' 2-0 victory. Six days later the U.S. topped Japan in the gold-medal match to complete the unforgettable run.
Although the final score doesn't suggest it, the matchup with New Zealand was one of the Americans' toughest games in London. Prior to Leroux's 87th-minute strike that finally put the match out of reach, the U.S. was clinging to a slender 1-0 lead.
Now, just as it was two summers ago in Newcastle, the pressure is on the No. 1-ranked U.S. team, who will be playing on its home soil this weekend against a "much-improved" squad, according to U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni via USSoccer.com:
New Zealand is a much-improved side over the past few years. Qualifying for World Cups and Olympics have helped them significantly, and now they are a very composed and competitive team that plays with a great deal of confidence.
The Kiwis have qualified for each of the past two World Cups and Olympics and have climbed all the way to No. 19 in the world, per the latest FIFA world rankings.
Although New Zealand is a team on the rise, as Sermanni points out, the U.S. women are still the best national team the world has to offer.
The Americans are 11-0-2 in 2013 and have outscored their opponents 47-8 over that time. It doesn't get much more dominant than that, and that's why you've got to like their chances this weekend.
If that doesn't convince you that this friendly is the U.S.' to lose, keep in mind that the Stars and Stripes have won nine consecutive matchups with New Zealand since losing the sides' first-ever meeting back in 1987.
Having won their last three matches by a combined score of 16-0, the U.S. is a lock to win, and likely to deliver another shutout performance.
United States 3, New Zealand 0
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