Sweden ‘Hands Down’ Biggest Threat To USWNT In Group Stage

The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) begins its mission for the Olympic gold medal in the morning hours of Wednesday when the group handles Sweden in group phase play at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The U.S. enters the competition as hefty favorites and also Vlatko Andonovski’s group is intending to avenge its 5th area arise from Rio in 2016.

The USWNT has gone unbeaten in 44 straight matches but CBSSports.com soccer writer as well as host of the Attacking Third podcast, Sandra Herrera, says the U.S. performance in their last 5-10 games has actually been especially remarkable answering a few of the questions individuals had about the team.

” This is a team led by head coach Vlatko Andonovski that intended to see specific points emerge in advance of this Olympic Games as well as we began to see that when they started getting back right into camps and also coming back right into worldwide friendlies due to the fact that a lot of these players needed to deal with specific things amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” Herrera stated in a meeting with CBS Local’s Ryan Mayer. “Coming away with every one of these success and also all of these results, they were getting some questions addressed. A gamer like Tobin Heath that had been injured, an indispensable part of this attack. Was she going to be fit? Was she going to be ready in time for the Olympics? Below she is available in the last 2 matches, lighting points up and letting everyone understand she has actually returned. There’s a lot of strengths throughout this 22 gamer roster. They’re the team to contend against in these Summer Games.”

There are numerous familiar faces on this Olympic squad from both the 2019 World Cup winning team and the Rio 2016 Olympic group, so fans will certainly have a lot of recognizable names to cheer for. One that Herrera thinks could come to be even more of a house name in this tournament as a current returnee to national interplay is Kristie Mewis.

” She hasn’t been entailed with the national team for the last six years. She really played her back right into this phase off of the rear of remarkable club play,” Herrera stated. “We’re speaking club play with the Houston Dash of the NWSL where they went on to win the 2020 Challenge Cup last. Outstanding in the midfield, was a big item of that team, indispensable because champion last. She’s a player that can possible have an influence in this Olympics.”

While a number of the concerns were addressed and the U.S. enters with clear staminas at every level of the field, Herrera points to the back line as a location that opponents could seek to manipulate if they’re trying to find weak points.

” If you’re aiming to try to find a person, it’s so tough yet if you’re the opposition, you’re looking possibly at that back line. Crystal Dunn is quite honestly among their far better protectors. She’s a striking outside back, she has the capability to cover a lot of room out on the flank,” Herrera said. “But, when you’re considering the center back duo or possibly the professional outside back in Kelley O’Hara, there may be some looks from the resistance where they state, ‘hey, there’s possibly a bit of absence of rate, perhaps a lack of speed, perhaps we can attempt to subject those areas.’ We’ll see. They’re going to need to capture these defenders on an actual off day.”

All that said, the U.S. as Herrera noted, is the team to defeat going into the tournament. The team stage will see them deal with Sweden, New Zealand and Australia as well as it’s the Swedes that Herrera points to as the greatest danger to a U.S. medal.

” Hands down it’s definitely Sweden. They’ve been a rival of the USWNT for many years,” Herrera claimed. “There’s a great deal of background there in between these two sides. Their video games have actually constantly been very tense, close, securely disputed suits as well as we’re most likely visiting something similar to start off this group stage. If I’m the USWNT, I’m looking at this and also welcoming it for the challenge that it is since these two teams are mosting likely to be kicking off their Olympic trips going head-to-head in that really first group suit. It’s possibly mosting likely to tell us a lot about exactly how that group cleans.”

Here is the USWNT’s complete team stage timetable including the channel you can catch them on.

Wednesday, July 21 vs. Sweden 4:30 a.m. EDT (USA Network)

Saturday, July 24 vs. New Zealand 7:30 a.m. EDT (NBC Sports Network)

Tuesday, July 27 vs. Australia 4:00 a.m. EDT (USA Network)

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