Team USA closes out the Group Stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup this week. A late-night fixture for those watching stateside sees the Americans line up opposite another European power in Portugal. It’s a must-win for the U.S. Women, with three teams in Group E in position to move on to the knockout rounds.
The Matchup: #USAvPOR
- Stage: Group E, Matchday 3
- 12:00 AM PT kickoff
- Venue: Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
- Watch: FOX40
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The final matchday in any World Cup group stage always brings drama. Simply, if the U.S. are to win or draw, they would secure a spot in the knockout stage. Should they fall, an unlikely Vietnam win over the Netherlands would send the USWNT through. Currently, the Americans sit atop Group E with four points and a +3 scoring differential, followed by the Dutch with four points and a +1 scoring differential.
Outlook: United States
After coming out of the gates a bit slow on Matchday 2, Team USA bounced back in the second half to secure a result against the Netherlands. Team USA found their form after Rose Lavelle entered off the bench in the 51st minute and gave the attack a jolt. Just after the hour mark, Lindsey Horan got her head on the end of a corner kick to level the scoreline. The offside flag denied Alex Morgan of what could have been a winner six minutes later, before strong defense from both sides in the final half hour sent each back with a point.
All the focus for the United States is on one thing – moving on to the knockout rounds. It’s a destination the squad has reached in each tournament since the inaugural 1991 competition. To do so against a tough Portugal team with a lot to play for, the defending champions will need to maintain their defensive form that’s seen them concede just once in two matches. Opportunities will continue to come on the attacking end, where Team USA has been very active both against Vietnam and the Netherlands.
Portugal bounced back from its tournament-opening loss to the Netherlands with a strong 2-0 win over Vietnam. Similar to the United States’ performance against the Golden Star Women’s Warriors, Portugal dominated on the attack with 30 attempts at goal. It should provide a wealth of confidence to the squad heading into possibly their toughest contest of the tournament against the defending champions twice over.
Only a win can send the European nation through. Against the U.S., they’ll have to be at their best – especially early in the match. Each contest they have played has been decided early on, with the only score against the Dutch coming in the 13th minute, and both scores against Vietnam coming in the opening 21 minutes.