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Game Preview: USWNT hosts FIFA 8th-ranked Brazil in SheBelieves Cup Tournament

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Colorado’s Lindsey Horan, Sophia Smith, and Jaelin Howell will suit up again. 

2021 SheBelieves Cup - United States v Canada Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) will kick-off their second match of three this afternoon against FIFA 8th-ranked Brazil at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The Lady Yanks will close out the 2021 SheBelieves Cup on Wednesday against Argentina (FIFA 31st). It will be their third game in seven days, mirroring a typical Olympics qualifying schedule.

Included in this SheBelieves tournament and on the 23-player roster are U.S. Olympics hopefuls and Colorado natives Lindsey Horan, Sophia Smith, and Jaelin Howell. Horan played 81 minutes in the tournament’s opener against Canada.

Team USA edged the tough Canadian side 1-0 in a brilliant goal from fan-favorite Rose Lavalle. Horan was credited with an assist on the goal that found the lower right corner.

Neither Smith nor Howell saw playing time. The trio is expected to suit up against the formidable As Canarinhas side. Brazil whipped Argentina 4-1 on Thursday, February 18.

After the tense match with Canada, Andonovski said, “When we create 10 opportunities to score and we score one, I’m disappointed because I want us to score more goals and on top of that, if we allow any shots to goal, I’m not going to be happy and I thought that tonight they had a couple of good opportunities to score. We’re going to look into it. We’re going to look into a little bit deeper why that happened.”

Canada deserves considerable credit for how they played against the world’s best. The Canadian side was without several players who typically occupy starting positions during international friendlies including captain Christine Sinclair, Bianca St. Georges, Diana Matheson, and Erin McLeod who were all recovering from injuries. Acclaimed defenders Kadeisha Buchanan, Jordyn Huitema, and Ashley Lawrence were unavailable for call-up because their professional teams would not release them for the tournament.

Brazil vs USA

Brazil is ranked 1st in their CONMEBOL FIFA region. The yellow and green are making the second appearance in the SheBelieves Cup. They are lead by former USWMT head coach Pia Sundhage and their deep roster boasts players from around the globe, including current NWSL stars Marta (Orlando Pride) and Debinha (North Carolina Courage). Camila and Andressa previously played in the NWSL. Ten of the 23 players on their roster play club soccer domestically. Brazil’s women’s team has played in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics.

This afternoon’s match will be the 38th meeting between the North and South American rivals. The U.S. leads the overall series 29-3-5 and is 6-1-2 in the nine meetings between the teams since the start of 2012. The most recent face-off between the duo came at the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. The U.S. won 1-0.

In a pre-game press conference, Andonovski said, “I am extremely happy that we have a chance to play a friendly against a squad like Brazil ... It’s going to be a great test for us. It will expose some of our weaknesses that we may still have to work on or fix before we go to the Olympics.” The manager complimented not only Martha but also NWSL star striker, Debinha. “I’m pretty sure of what I’ve seen, the whole world has seen it ... she is an incredible player. Her creativity and ability to change and play in between the lines in the middle of the field, but also, make runs behind the line and decide games, is incredible.” He then added, “I think she is one of the best players in the world.”

How to Watch: USWNT vs. Brazil

Match Date/Time: Sunday, February 21 at 1 p.m. MT

Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando, Florida

TV Information: FS1 and TUDN

Follow along on Twitter @USWNT or Instagram @USWNT or Facebook

U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM 2021 SHEBELIEVES CUP ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB/UNIVERSITY; CAPS/GOALS)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 4), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 66)

DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 64/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 27/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 108/24), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 33/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 133/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 5/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 180/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 49/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 106/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 89/20), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; 1/0), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG; 49/14), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA; 3/1), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 19/3)

FORWARDS (6): Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 297/123), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 171/107), Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG; 140/58), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 171/54), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 32/10)

BRAZIL WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Bárbara (Avaí Kindermann FC), 12-Aline (UD Granadilla Tenerife, ESP), 22-Leticia (Benfica, POR)

DEFENDERS (8): 2-Kathellen (Inter Milan, ITA), 3-Bruna (Internacional), 4-Rafaelle (Changchun Dazhong, CHN), 6-Tamires (Corinthians), 18-Camila (Palmeiras), 20-Gio (FC Barcelona, ESP), 21-Tainara (Palmeiras), 23-Jucinara (Levante UD, ESP)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 5-Geyse (Real Madrid, ESP), 7-Andressa (AS Roma, ITA), 8-Ivana (Manchester United, ENG), 13-Júlia (Avaí Kindermann FC), 14-Adriana (Corinthians), 15-Chú (Palmeiras), 17-Andressinha (Corinthians)

FORWARDS (5): 9-Debinha (NC Courage, USA), 10-Marta (Orlando Pride, USA), 1