USA vs. New Zealand: Date, Time, Live Stream for 2019 Women's Soccer Friendly

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2019

COMMERCE CITY, CO - APRIL 4: Alex Morgan #13 of the United States celebrates with Megan Rapinoe #15 after scoring her 100th international goal against Australia at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 4, 2019 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The United States women's national team hosts New Zealand at St. Louis' Busch Stadium on Thursday for the penultimate game of the send-off series ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.

A 3-0 win over South Africa on Sunday showcased the quality and strength in depth in the reigning champions' ranks.

Coach Jill Ellis has ample talent to call on but will likely use this game to find a winning formula in attack ahead of events in France in the summer.

             

Date: Thursday, May 16

Time: 8 p.m. ET/1 a.m. BST (Friday)

TV Info: ESPN 2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

The need for more goals from those in the final third is obvious after Ellis' team needed a brace from North Carolina Courage defensive midfielder Sam Mewis to beat South Africa.

Although fellow midfielder Carli Lloyd also chipped in with a goal, the U.S. may struggle to get their passing game going between the lines on what looks like a tricky surface in Missouri:

Even so, Ellis will be anxious to see her strikers find the net against New Zealand. The plan appears to be to lean on veteran experience, with 33-year-old Megan Rapinoe again likely to be a key figure.

Rapinoe is enjoying playing higher up the pitch.
Rapinoe is enjoying playing higher up the pitch.Nic Coury/Associated Press

Rapinoe endorsed the tactical changes Ellis has made in recent years during an interview with FIFA, (h/t Philip O'Connor of Reuters, Yahoo Sport UK):

"Traditionally for most of my career with the national team we played a 4-4-2 and only in the last couple of years we changed to more of a 4-3-3. So I'm an attacker, a winger and striker, basically. I think putting me higher on the field and alleviating some of those defensive duties, it puts me closer to the goal."

Rapinoe's ability to link with Orlando Pride star Alex Morgan will define the U.S. forward line this summer. So will the performances of Christen Press, who needs to use this World Cup to showcase her full talents.

All three will view this match as an opportunity to get back among the goals.

Supply shouldn't be a problem considering Tobin Heath's vision and technique can unlock any defence. Meanwhile, Lloyd's well-timed runs can take markers away from Morgan and Co.

Heath and Lloyd combined brilliantly against South Africa:

Keeping this many match-winners quiet won't be easy for New Zealand, even though the Kiwis beat Norway 1-0 in April. It was a fourth win from seven for a team with its own threat in attack thanks to strikers Rosie White and Sarah Gregorius.

Even so, it's likely the U.S. will stand firm defensively and offer enough going forward to run out comfortable winners.

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