The United States women's national team will look to continue its perfect start to 2014 in the second of two matches against Russia. The sides played over the weekend and the Americans were on cruise control en route to a 7-0 win.
While the second match was scheduled for Wednesday, a winter storm in the area forced a one-day delay. U.S. Soccer's official site passed along comments from director of communications Neil Buethe, who said the decision was made to ensure the safety of the fans:
After thorough discussions, we decided the best course of action was to delay the match considering the challenges our fans would likely encounter due to the snow and icy conditions. Our goal is to always provide the best experience for the fans and postponing the match for 24 hours will provide the 14,000-plus individuals who already purchased tickets with the best opportunity to attend the match.
What's your prediction for the rematch?
It's an important match for both sides as they prepare for the Algarve Cup in Portugal next month. So let's check out all of the key information for the friendly clash, followed by a preview of the rematch and a prediction.
Where: Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.
When: Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: Sport 1 (Live stream only in U.S.)
Live Stream: USSoccer.com
The United States opened the 2014 campaign with a sluggish 1-0 win over rival Canada. It appeared the Americans were on track for another frustrating attacking performance in the first match against Russia before the floodgates finally opened just inside the half-hour mark.
Carli Lloyd scored the first of her two goals in the 29th minute, Heather O'Reilly found the net three minutes later and the squad was basically unstoppable from there. Christen Press scored twice while Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach also added to their international goal totals.
Six of the team's seven goals came in a 30-minute span. Part of the reason for that was the U.S. taking its foot off the gas in the latter stages, but Russia also started to play a little better defensively. That should give the underdogs something to build off heading into the second meeting.
It's still very much an uphill battle for the Russians, though. As Paul Carr of ESPN points out, the Americans are currently riding a 79-match unbeaten streak at home and have gone 41 matches without dropping a game overall:
#USWNT beats Russia 7-0, extending its home unbeaten streak to 79 games & its overall unbeaten streak to 41.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) February 8, 2014
The biggest question mark for the rematch is which Russian squad will show up. The one that allowed just one goal for a majority of the match or the one that gave up six goals in 30 minutes. That will determine whether it's another blowout or a competitive fixture.
Ultimately, the trio of Wambach, Leroux and Press is too much for the Russia back line. That's especially true since the Americans should be able to control possession again, putting added pressure on Ksenia Tsybutovich and her fellow defenders.
Although it probably won't be a blowout on the same scale as the first match, the United States should still roll to a convincing triumph.
Prediction: United States 4, Russia 0