The United States Women's national team will play its final two matches of 2017 against neighbours Canada, starting with a meeting in Vancouver on Thursday before the two face off in San Jose, California.
As shared by U.S. Soccer WNT, the Stars and Stripes have rotated and experimented a lot of late, and these two matches should provide another opportunity to do so:
With multiple players in the squad vying for their first cap, expect manager Jill Ellis to shuffle things around for the clashes against the talented Canadian squad. Here's a look at the first of those outings.
Date: Thursday, November 9
Time: 10 p.m. ET
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver
TV Info: ESPN 2 (U.S.)
Live Stream: WatchESPN
The USA and Canada haven't met since the final of the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship―a tournament the USA won―despite both being ranked among the world's top five nations.
The two matches will be the 57th and 58th meeting between the two, respectively, making Canada the Stars and Stripes' most frequently played opponents.
Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh and Sydney Leroux are all not part of Ellis' squad, while Adrianna Franch and Chioma Ubogagu chase their first cap. With the exception of Sydney FC's Emily Sonnett, all of the USA's players play their football domestically.
Sophie Schmidt is not part of the Canadian team, but the hosts will be able to call on most of their experienced veterans in Vancouver, including star forward Christine Sinclair. Homefield advantage could play a big role, as the frigid temperatures appear to favour the Canadian side. Kelley O'Hara didn't hide the fact it was cold in Canada:
Canada have won their last two friendlies―both against Costa Rica―but 2017 has not been a great year for the side. The loss against Spain in the Algarve Cup was unexpected, and the side couldn't even get past Portugal in the group stages.
On paper, the Stars and Stripes should grab a win, expanding their advantage in the all-time series―the USA have taken 47 wins over Canada so far.
Ending the year on a high note is important, but Ellis could opt to save her strongest XI for the second match in San Jose, in front of the home fans.