Team USA do battle with England in their second women’s soccer matchup of this year’s SheBelieves Cup and look good to make it two wins from two (5pm ET Saturday live on Fox Sports 1).
Jill Ellis’ women got their campaign off to a perfect start last time out, beating Olympic champions Germany by 1-0 at the Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania on Wednesday evening. It was an impressive victory for the Lady Yanks, particularly as they have not played a competitive game in a number of months and had spent the weeks leading up to the tournament experimenting with a number of different personnel and systems.
The United States were certainly not at their best in their first encounter of the competition – the Germans could certainly have earned a draw on another day – but that can be spun as a positive rather than a negative. Ellis will have been delighted with her team’s resilience and character in their clash with one of the best women’s sides on the planet. That performance makes it hard to get away from USWNT as a pick for this matchup when it comes to our betting predictions at the conclusion of this preview.
England took the lead in their opening encounter against France, but late goals from Marie-Laure Delie and Wendie Renard meant they left Chester on the wrong end of a 2-1 reverse. Mark Sampson’s side started the game strongly and looked to be headed towards an important three points as the match entered its final quarter, but England’s failure to keep their focus and concentration ultimately proved costly against their fellow European outfit.
Performances are more important than results at the SheBelieves Cup for England, with the Three Lions using the tournament as a way to prepare for this summer’s European Championship. It was still a major disappointment for the nation to succumb to defeat when a triumph against the French appeared to be more than likely.
Ellis will stick with the 3-4-1-2 formation she has been moving towards in the last few months, with USWNT looking a lot more comfortable in that setup against Germany than they had in previous matches. The United Kingdom-born head coach has been trying to move her side away from a more direct style of play and towards a more patient, possession-based approach, which was at times in evidence in the defeat of the Germans.
A fluid front three of Carli Lloyd tucked behind Lynn Williams and Christen Press could cause problems for England. Midfield duo Samantha Mewis and Crystal Dunn will look to take control of the match in the centre of the park. Williams netted the only goal of the game on Wednesday night and will no doubt be a threat to England in this game.
Sampson opted for a 4-4-2 configuration with a diamond in midfield against France. Jodie Taylor and Ellen White will probably continue alongside one another at the top of the pitch, with Jill Scott set to provide the support in the No. 10 position. Jade Moore will assume an important role in front of the back four as England’s sole holding midfielder. Millie Bright and Steph Houghton will be tasked with keeping Press and Williams quiet as Sampson’s two central defenders.
Our Preview’s USA vs England Women’s Soccer Predictions & Picks
It is difficult to look past another USWNT victory, particularly as the host nation will again be backed by a partisan crowd at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Ellis’ charges are generally of a higher standard than their English counterparts and should have enough quality to get the job done and make it six points from six at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup.
None of the United States friendly online bookies are betting on this game at the time of writing this preview, but as for our picks and betting predictions, a United States victory is our choice on the moneyline. It could also be worth backing Williams to add another goal to her individual tally for the tournament.