The biggest FIFA Women’s World Cup is upon us, and the USA women’s national team is one of the favorites to be in the final on July 5th as they attempt a record third title.
Team USA’s roster has more than enough experience, talent and flexibility to beat any of the 23 teams standing in the way of its first world championship since 1999.
More important than these factors is their shared hunger to succeed this time around. Of the 23 players head coach Jill Ellis selected, 15 have played in previous World Cups, including 14 who were part of the United States team which lost to Japan on penalty kicks in the final of the 2011 tournament.
Team USA won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Coach Ellis picked 14 players from the 2012 winners to represent the United States this summer. This group of American players can etch itself into history as perhaps women’s soccer’s most dominant sides. Winning the World Cup in Canada can grow the market for women’s soccer in America at both amateur and professional levels.
The chances are very good for the USWNT to at least make it to the semifinals: They’re the only team ever to reach the semifinal stage of all six Women’s World Cup editions, reaching the final on three occasions.
If the USA finish second in Group D, they would have to travel across Canada to Moncton, where they would likely take on Brazil and potentially face Japan in the quarterfinals. The only time the US did not finish first in their group was in 2011, but they still made it to the final, losing to Japan on penalty kicks.
The USWNT always creates opportunities, but they need to finish more accurately and consistently and put their chances away earlier in matches.
The USA team’s scoring success rides heavily on the playing time of Alex Morgan, who has not yet started in 63 days due to injury.
The USA still has various strong options up top, with Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez, Press and Leroux who can all make a great impact on the pitch.