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Match preview: United States vs England in SheBelieves Cup

The US heads to New Jersey to face the Lionesses

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David Musante

Game: United States Women’s National Team vs. England (SheBelieves Cup)

Date: Saturday, Mar. 4

Time: 5:00 PM Eastern, 4:00 PM Central, 2:00 PM Pacific, 10:00 PM UTC

Venue: Red Bull Arena, (Harrison, N.J.)

Television: FOX

Streaming: Fox Sports Go, fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription

All-time record: 9-3-1(Last meeting, 1-0 USA, Mar. 3 2016, SheBelieves Cup)

The United States Women’s National Team continues the SheBelieves Cup today when it faces world No. 5 England at Red Bull Arena. The USA is tied at the top of the group with three points after its 1-0 win over Germany on Wednesday, while England is at the bottom with zero after surrendering a stoppage time goal to France in a 2-1 loss. The English are the least talented team the Americans will see at the Cup, but still a stiff challenge nonetheless.

What to watch for England

England has made the leap from being a solid women’s international team to one of the best in the world in recent years capped off by an impressive third place finish at the 2015 World Cup. Ranked fifth internationally, they have an experienced roster which features 15 players from that 2015 run.

Karen Bardsley is a solid goalkeeper and leads the way in the back for England along with experienced defender. Up front, the Lionesses have two extremely potent options in Karen Carney and Fara Williams who have over 70 goals and 275 caps between them.

England also uses a three-back defense which will neutralize the gimmick factor of the USA’s similar shape, and the numbers advantage in the midfield. The English also are more likely to press than Germany and put stress on the Americans trying to pass out of the back.

What to watch for the USA

This match is a continuation of the process for head coach Jill Ellis, who is trying to rebuild confidence after last year’s disappointing Olympics and elevate the USA’s level of play. In the new-look 3-4-1-2, the Americans were solid in the back against Germany despite a sloppy press in the first half that yielded some chances.

Offensively, the Americans will need to be sharper in possession and play with more intent than they did on Wednesday, even if England is less talented than Germany. Behind Carli Lloyd, the central midfield duo of Samanta Mewis and Morgan Brian can grow slightly stale, and will need to probe for openings more often.

The USA should look to just continue their upward trajectory and focus on playing a better brand of soccer than on Wednesday, while trying to take a positive result.

What to expect

Like Germany, England has a squad with weeks of experience in domestic leagues this year while the majority of the US roster has not even had training camp. The fitness required of playing two games with two days in between might catch up to the side with less matches under its belt, but the Americans should still have the overall advantage in talent.

Prediction: 1-0 USA. The Americans have proved their defense to be extremely hard to score on, but still need offensive improvement. They should be able to scrape one goal by with Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan around.