The US is in a great position to make the World Cup in a couple of years, and this weekend’s matches are really about just gaining momentum towards to cup. Though Russia is a formidable opponent, the US should make up for their performance in the SheBelieves Cup, and show off the skills that they showed in the Olympics last year in Rio. With a few Midfielders out for the US, this would be a very good time to demonstrate the depth of this team. Ellis will be looking to see if breakout star Rose Lavelle, Allie Long, and Megan Rapinoe to step up against this Russia team really. Coming off an incredible performance in the 2015 World Cup, Carli Lloyd looks to continue her hot streak when it comes to scoring goals. Lloyd scored 6 goals in the tournament and finished the tournament on a four-game goal scoring streak that spanned the knockout stage and that culminated in a hat-trick in the game’s opening 16 minutes during the final against Japan.
As mentioned, the US should not have any problem with Russia tonight, but Russia is an exceptional opponent for the US and features a couple of weapons that the US could have a tough time containing tonight in Frisco. Russia’s attack features forward Olesya Kurochkina, Midfielders Ekaterina Sochneva, and Elena Morozova. Russia has gone through a lot of ups and downs over the years, and have a tall task tonight to stop a tough US National Team. Head coach Elena Fomina hopes that this win can build some momentum and refine the players for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro this summer in the Netherlands. Russia was drawn into a tough Group B with Germany, Italy, and Sweden. Russia qualified for the tournament by finishing second behind Germany in Group 5 of the qualifying process. Coach Fomina hopes that Russia can benefit from the US holding a few stars out of the lineup.
US and Russia will also face off Sunday in Houston, Texas at BBVA Compass Stadium as well. That will be a homecoming of sorts for players such as Carli Lloyd, (currently playing for Manchester City) Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, and Forward Kealia Ohai. All in which have either play or currently play, for Houston’s women’s professional soccer the Houston Dash. This will surely be a fun game to watch. Should be a high scoring game for both teams, and should provide many fireworks in tonight’s game, as well as Sunday’s game.
Prediction: My prediction is a 3-2 win for the US. I think the US will come out in attack mode early, and score their goals in the first half. The second half Russia will wake up, and be aggressive and start to press. I think the US will take this game seriously as they’re looking to make up for their recent performances. Be back tonight with my post-game report!