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U.S. Women’s National Team to kick-off 2019 against 4th-ranked France

In January 2019, we’ll see a rematch of 2018 SheBelieves Cup. Colorado’s Mallory Pugh scored for Team USA.

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will travel to Europe in January to hold its annual training camp. Colorado’s Lindsey Horan and Mallory Pugh are expected to join squad abroad. The camp will include a friendly against 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup host France on Saturday, January 19th in northern coast city of Le Havre, France. A second friendly will be played soon thereafter in Europe, but the opponent and location have not been announced yet.

”Typically, we have our training camp in California to start the year, but with two high-caliber matches we now we have the opportunity to spend that time in southern Europe and dovetail our camp into the FIFA window. We will maximize our time on the training pitch and build on the foundation we have established this past year,” said Jill Ellis, Head Coach of the USWNT.

This first friendly will be a rematch of a group stage game during the SheBelieves Cup. On March 4, 2018, it ended in a 1-1 draw before a crowd of over 25,000 supporters at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

Playing in what was then her 32nd cap for the Lady Yanks, former Colorado Real star Mallory Pugh scored in the 35th minute off of a Megan Rapinoe free kick. After a frenzy for the free ball inside the box, France tried to clear it, but the ball hit the post and bounced back out to Pugh, who took the shot. France’s keeper, Sarah Bouhaddi, got a hand on the ball but couldn’t stop the shot from bouncing into the back of the net.

France is currently fourth in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings and is one of the heavy favorites on home soil next summer.

“To play France in France was an essential part of our scheduling preparations for next summer, and it will be an exciting and challenging match to kick off the year,” U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis said. “They are a top team, in the middle of their domestic league, and playing on home soil, so this is the type of experience we need to be ready for the World Cup in 2019.”

The USA opened its 2015 Women’s World Cup year in France, falling 2-0 in Lorient. A month later, the USWNT evened up the series, beating France 2-0 in the championship game of the Algarve Cup.