On Saturday at 3:30 PM ET, the U.S. women’s national team will take on Russia in a showdown on home soil. While their Team USA compatriots are earning medals in Sochi, the match at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. promises to be a bit warmer.
After defeating Canada in a friendly 1-0 on January 31 in Frisco, Tex., the U.S. is hoping to head into cruise control mode against Russia prior to the start of the Algarve Cup. Russia should not be underestimated, however, considering the surprising performance they put in at the 2013 Euros. They drew against the likes of Spain and England, in addition to a 3-1 loss against France.
As reported yesterday from open practice by The Equalizer’s Jess Fainberg:
Kelley O’Hara expects to be 100% for Algarve Cup in Portugal. Dunn still out with a high ankle sprain. Still sporting the boot.
— Jess Fainberg (@JessFainberg) February 7, 2014
Head coach Tom Sermanni could end up with a backline similar to the one used in Texas without Dunn and O’Hara’s return still a work in progess. Becky Sauerbrunn should earn herself another start after her MVP performance in Texas, though Rachel van Hollebeke (née Buehler) has returned to the team after having to miss time in Frisco.With Alex Morgan also still in the middle of her recovery process, Sydney Leroux got the nod in Texas to start. With both Christen Press and Whitney Engen heading back to Tyresö after this series of matches versus Russia, Press could get more significant minutes or the start in Boca Raton or Atlanta.
Carli Lloyd has now served her suspension for her red card earned against Brazil, and is available for tonight’s game.
The U.S. has not played Russia since 2002. Russia is ranked 21st in the world, though they do show flashes of play higher than that ranking would indicate.
Ticket sales for today’s match have been anemic at best, with roughly 6,000 sold so far. FAU Stadium has a capacity of 30,000. There are a number of challenges to selling tickets for this match: the announcement for the match left a short turn-around time for planning and travel for group sales, the game is up against the Olympics, and Russia’s ranking and reputation won’t draw people out like the likes of Canada, Germany, or France.
Notably, this is also the fourth time the U.S. women’s national team has played in the state of Florida in the last 13 months.
The game will stream today at 3:30 PM ET on ussoccer.com.
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