The U.S. women’s national team is set to square off against Canada on Thursday night at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The SheBelieves Cup is in its sixth year, and the match between CONCACAF rivals is the first for both teams to start the tournament. It’s the first game for Canada’s women’s national team in 2021 under their newly appointed coach Bev Priestman.
USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski has these next few months to evaluate and help narrow down a potential Olympic roster. This tournament will also see the return of striker Alex Morgan, who was absent from the January camps and friendlies after a battle with COVID-19.
Here’s how you can watch the match and what to know:
Viewing informationDate: Thursday, Feb. 18Time: 7 p.m. ETLocation: Exploria Stadium — Orlando, FloridaTV: FS1Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)Storylines
USWNT: The team is has been in good form to start 2021 after with wins over Colombia back in January. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski will likely use this tournament to get better evaluations of players ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Veteran players Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd had been back in camps with the team since January, and each saw significant time on the pitch in the Colombia friendlies. Lynn Williams has also featured significantly in the attacking line under Andonovski’s reign, and could continue to see more time during this tournament. Strikers Alex Morgan and Christen Press return to the mix after missing January camps and friendlies last month.
Canada: The team is viewed as the biggest rival for the USWNT during this SheBelieves tournament. The competitive tempo could feel very different between the two teams as Canada will be without several key player due to injury. The most notable absence will be Christine Sinclair, the all-time leading international scorer in the history of the world with 186 goals and veteran midfielder Diana Matheson due to injuries. Canada will also be without midfielder Ashley Lawrence (PSG) defender Kadeisha Buchanan (Olympique Lyonnais) and Jordyn Huitema (PSG), all players who weren’t released by their French clubs due to a new FIFA statute which allowed clubs to deny call-ups due to the pandemic if a player had to undergo a five day or more quarantine upon return to their clubs. The team will have to make due without so many key players, which could give opportunity to the rosters younger players during the tournament.
USWNT vs. Canada prediction
Canada is spread thin, but always plays physical against USWNT. It’s likely there won’t be pretty soccer, but there will be a win for USA. Pick: USWNT 2, Canada 0.