(MCH Information Native)- America Ladies’s Nationwide Staff (USWNT) kicks off its quest for the Olympic gold medal within the early morning hours of Wednesday when the crew takes on Sweden in group stage play at 4:30 a.m. Japanese Time. The U.S. enters the match as heavy favorites and Vlatko Andonovski’s crew is hoping to avenge its fifth place outcome from Rio in 2016.
The USWNT has gone unbeaten in 44 straight matches however MCH NewsSports.com soccer author and host of the Attacking Third podcast, Sandra Herrera, says the U.S. efficiency of their final 5-10 video games has been significantly spectacular answering a number of the questions individuals had in regards to the crew.
“This can be a crew led by head coach Vlatko Andonovski that wished to see sure issues come to mild forward of this Olympic Video games and we began to see that after they began getting again into camps and getting again into worldwide friendlies as a result of loads of these gamers needed to cope with sure issues amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic,” Herrera mentioned in an interview with MCH Information Native’s Ryan Mayer. “Coming away with all of those wins and all of those outcomes, they have been getting some questions answered. A participant like Tobin Heath who had been injured, an integral a part of this assault. Was she going to be match? Was she going to be prepared in time for the Olympics? Right here she comes within the closing two matches, lighting issues up and letting all people know she has returned. There’s loads of strengths throughout this 22 participant roster. They’re the crew to compete towards in these Summer time Video games.”
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There are various acquainted faces on this Olympic squad from each the 2019 World Cup successful crew and the Rio 2016 Olympic crew, so followers can have loads of recognizable names to cheer for. One which Herrera thinks might develop into extra of a family title on this match as a latest returnee to nationwide crew play is Kristie Mewis.
“She hasn’t been concerned with the nationwide crew for the final six years. She actually performed her manner again into this stage off of the again of spectacular membership play,” Herrera mentioned. “We’re speaking membership play with the Houston Sprint of the NWSL the place they went on to win the 2020 Problem Cup closing. Spectacular within the midfield, was an enormous piece of that crew, integral in that championship closing. She’s a participant that might attainable have an effect on this Olympics.”
Whereas lots of the questions have been answered and the U.S. enters with clear strengths at each stage of the sphere, Herrera factors to the again line as an space that opponents might look to take advantage of in the event that they’re searching for weaknesses.
“In the event you’re seeking to attempt to discover somebody, it’s so exhausting however when you’re the opposition, you’re wanting perhaps at that again line. Crystal Dunn is kind of frankly one in every of their higher defenders. She’s an attacking outdoors again, she has the flexibility to cowl loads of house out on the flank,” Herrera mentioned. “However, if you’re wanting on the middle again duo or perhaps the veteran outdoors again in Kelley O’Hara, there may be some seems to be from the opposition the place they are saying, ‘hey, there’s perhaps a bit of little bit of lack of pace, perhaps a scarcity of tempo, perhaps we are able to attempt to expose these areas.’ However, we’ll see. They’re going to must catch these defenders on an actual off day.”
All that mentioned, the U.S. as Herrera famous, is the crew to beat getting into the match. The group stage will see them face Sweden, New Zealand and Australia and it’s the Swedes that Herrera factors to as the largest risk to a U.S. medal.
“Arms down it’s completely Sweden. They’ve been a rival of the USWNT for a few years,” Herrera mentioned. “There’s loads of historical past there between these two sides. Their video games have at all times been very tense, shut, tightly contested matches and we’re most likely going to see one thing just like begin off this group stage. If I’m the USWNT, I’m taking a look at this and embracing it for the problem that it’s as a result of these two groups are going to be kicking off their Olympic journeys going head-to-head in that very first group match. It’s most likely going to inform us lots about how that group shakes out.”
Right here is the USWNT’s full group stage schedule together with the channel you’ll be able to catch them on.
Wednesday, July 21 vs. Sweden 4:30 a.m. EDT (USA Community)
Saturday, July 24 vs. New Zealand 7:30 a.m. EDT (Market Espresso Home Sports activities Community)
Tuesday, July 27 vs. Australia 4:00 a.m. EDT (USA Community)