The United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) are in action this week, with the first instalment of their international friendly double header against Switzerland taking place at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah on Thursday (9pm ET on ESPN 2).
Team USA have, to some extent, recovered from their disappointing showing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in the summer, when they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Sweden on penalties.
A 9-0 victory over Thailand and a 3-1 defeat of the Netherlands in friendly matches last month suggest that Jill Ellis’ side are beginning to get back on track. These two clashes with Switzerland will provide another test of their quality as they continue to rebuild at the beginning of a new competitive cycle in the women’s game following the 2016 Olympics and World Cup in Canada last year. The U.S. remain one of the best women’s soccer teams on the planet, though, and they head into this week’s meetings as heavy favourites to come out on top against the Swiss on both occasions.
Switzerland, who are currently ranked 15th in the FIFA World Rankings, did not take part in the Olympic Games in Brazil, with France and Germany heading across the Atlantic Ocean as Europe’s representatives. Their summer was instead taken up by the conclusion of the qualification campaign for the 2017 Women’s European Championship. Switzerland booked their place at the competition in the Netherlands in style after victories over the Czech Republic, Georgia and Northern Ireland made it eight wins from eight games for Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s charges.
The Swiss had a rather disappointing World Cup in 2015, losing to hosts Canada in the first knockout round having only amassed three points in the group stage. Even an extraordinary 10-1 thrashing of Ecuador did not really cancel out defeats by Japan and Cameron. Now things are starting to look up again after 10 victories in their 12 outings since then.
Ellis’ 24-woman squad is, on the whole, a relatively young and inexperienced one. She recently justified her selection choice by stating it was all about current form rather than past performance or reputation. Veteran captain Carli Lloyd (pictured) remains involved, as do fellow familiar faces Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Becky Sauerbrunn. A total of 11 players – Jane Campbell, Abby Dahlkemper, Arin Gilliland, Merritt Mathias, Casey Short, Danielle Colaprico, Andi Sullivan, Shea Groom, Lynn Williams, Ashley Hatch, Kealia Ohai – will be looking to win their first international caps.
Switzerland have the likes of Fiorentina goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann, Bayern Munich duo Caroline Abbe and Vanessa Burki, and Wolfsburg’s Noelle Maritz, Vanessa Bernauer, Lara Dickmann and Ramona Bachmann to call upon this week. La Nati have scored 12 goals in their last three games and will pose a threat to the United States in an attacking sense at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
As for this preview’s betting picks’ predictions, unsurprisingly we do expect USWNT to get the better of Switzerland in their first head-to-head. The hosts will have the benefit of a partisan home crowd in Utah. They have plenty of quality to call upon right across the pitch and are likely to be in confident mood after their back-to-back triumphs against the Netherlands and Thailand last month. All these factors should put the USA out of reach of the visitors. A 3-1 victory could be the way to go in this one, with Lloyd an astute choice to grab the first goal of the game.
Not for the first time, our preview and picks guide on a U.S. women’s international precedes any odds being offered by the best of the U.S. offshore sportsbooks. But here is a summary of our betting predictions for when they do wake up:
- Correct Score Betting Pick: We expect USWNT to beat Switzerland by a correct score marging of 3-1.
- First Goalscorer Betting Pick: We fancy Carli Lloyd to score the first goal of the game in this international friendly women’s soccer game.