The United States women's national team continues the run-up to the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup on Thursday against one of the top squads in the world.
Vlatko Andonovski's side will test itself versus Germany, which comes into the two-game set on American soil ranked third in the world.
The USWNT sit in a rare spot in need of a bounce-back performance after the two September friendlies in Europe did not go its way.
With defeats to England and Spain, the Americans lost consecutive games for the first time since 2017, and it needs a better showing against Germany to close out the calendar year.
Date: Thursday, November 10
Start Time: 7 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports app & FoxSports.com
The USWNT comes into Thursday's game at DRV PNK Stadium, the home of Major League Soccer's Inter Miami, with something to prove.
That has not been the case for most of 2022, as the Americans ran rampant through the North American competitions and against weaker foes.
The losses against England and Spain likely lit a spark under the team when it comes to improvements that must be made ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup next summer in Australia and New Zealand.
Against England, the USWNT conceded early before Sophia Smith knocked in an equalizer, but the Lionesses were back in front five minutes later and held on for the victory.
The pain cut much deeper against Spain because the 2-0 defeat to the European side came against a weakened lineup. Some of Spain's top players were not in action because of a dispute with the federation.
The USWNT was understandably drained on an emotional level during its European trip because it occurred on the heels of the release of the Yates Report, which detailed years of abuse and misconduct throughout U.S. Soccer.
The usual high level of play was not there for patches of the two games in Europe, and the weight of the off-field situations could have affected the team, especially on the back end of the European trip.
The American players have had a chance to reset over the last month and turn their focus to the pair of matches against Germany, which will serve as yet another test ahead of the World Cup.
Germany is ranked third in the world, and it has two opportunities to defeat the Americans on its own soil. The two squads will meet again on Sunday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
Germany reeled off three dominant wins after losing in the UEFA Euro 2022 final to England. The Germans beat Turkey and Bulgaria by a combined 11-0 scoreline in World Cup qualification and downed France, 2-1, in an October friendly.
Alexandra Popp leads a dangerous German attack that contains four players with a double-digit goal tally in international matches. The rest of the German squad carries a bit of inexperience. Seven of the nine midfielders and five of the nine defenders in the squad are 26 or younger. Only one defender and three midfielders have more than 30 caps.
Germany will pose a tough challenge because of the high quality of play it has displayed throughout 2022. It did not give up a goal at Euro 2022 until the semifinal round, and it conceded three goals in its last nine matches.
The USWNT had a similar streak in place before its trips to England and Spain. It produced nine consecutive clean sheets, including five at the Concacaf W Championship this summer.
Smith will once again be the USWNT's top threat up top. She has been in fantastic form all season long and will likely lead the forward line at the World Cup. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh will also contribute up top, but Smith has been the best forward in American soccer this season.
The concern for the Americans will come in defense. Becky Sauerbrunn and Crystal Dunn are in the squad, but after that, there are zero players with more than 25 caps. Some of the newer defenders to the program will get a chance to make their case for inclusion in the World Cup squad versus a tough opponent.
The Americans might hold an edge because the match is on home soil, but this is about as even as it gets in terms of a matchup in women's soccer, and it is a fantastic tune-up for the USWNT ahead of the World Cup.
Prediction: USWNT 1, Germany 1