Thursday, May 13, 2021

USA vs Sweden: Match preview and how to watch

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The USWNT begin their Eurotrip against Sweden.

The United States last saw Sweden when they were beating them 3-2 in a friendly in Columbus in 2019. Prior to that, they beat Sweden 2-0 in the group stage of the 2019 World Cup in Le Havre. And before that they beat them 1-0 in their own country in Gothenburg in 2017. So perhaps any narratives about lingering tension from that time Sweden ignominiously booted the United States from the Olympics are well and truly over. Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a competitive game; you don’t haul a whole team over to Europe during COVID just to enjoy a relaxed friendly. There’s serious Olympic slots on the line with just one more FIFA window after this before things kick off in Japan, although USSF may be pulling players outside of the window to prepare.

Looking at Sweden

Iconic Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl is out for this game, after positive COVID tests at her club, Atletico Madrid. She was replaced by 23-year-old Emma Holmgren, currently uncapped for the WNT. Holmgren is one of several young and relatively untested players on this squad, although they are certainly backstopped by a core of mega-experienced players like Nilla Fischer, Linda Sembrant, Kosovare Asllani, Sofia Jakobsson, and Caroline Seger.

Asllani and Jakobsson have been having an overall decent time of it in Spain with Real Madrid, and alongside Blackstenius, create an obvious offensive core to watch. On the other end of the field, center back Magdalena Eriksson could be a target for the United States’ high attacking pressure, stopping her from using her ability to cycle the ball out from the back and limiting Sweden’s ability to work out of pressure deeper in their own territory. And in the middle, even at 36 and 211 caps, Caroline Seger is still one to watch as a two-way midfielder whose defensive work and passing can help flip the team from being on the back foot to transitioning in attack.

Sweden roster: Jennifer Falk, Emma Holmgren, Zecira Musovic, Jonna Andersson, Magdalena Eriksson, Nilla Fischer, Hanna Glas, Amanda Ilestedt, Emma Kullberg, Josefine Rybrink, Linda Sembrant, Jessica Wik, Filippa Angeldal, Kosovare Asllani, Hanna Bennison, Stina Blackstenius, Rebecka Blomqvist, Filippa Curmark, Lina Hurtig, Sofia Jakobsson, Madalen Janogy, Fridolina Rolfö, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Olivia Schough, Caroline Seger

Hard roster decisions for the United States

So you’ve got too many Olympic caliber players on your roster. Who weeps for Vlatko Andonovski?

Probably one of the players who he’ll be forced to cut, given there’s depth at every position with this bunch. Look at this roster and choose who gets viciously cut to make the roster fit the 18-player maximum?

USA roster . . .

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