US Women's National Team will look to advance to the knockout stage with a victory tonight. Despite a scoreless draw against Sweden on Friday night, US are in a very good position to advance, sitting at the top of Group D currently with 4 points. Behind The Red, White, and Blue, are the Australians with 3 points. Sweden follow with 2 points. Nigeria is 4th with 1 point. With 3 points awarded for a win and 1 for a draw AND that the next two contenders (Australia and Sweden) are playing one another, the only way that the US will not advance is for Nigeria to beat the US women AND make up the 4 goal differential (the tie-breaker) between the two countries. Since they are playing one another, Nigeria would just need to beat US by more than two goals.
Nevertheless, this is still very much an important game for the US women as they are struggling to find their stride offensively. Head coach Jill Ellis had tried to switch things up by bringing on US veteran (and all time scorer) Abby Wambach off the bench against Sweden. Will this be the game when Alex Morgan regains her starting spot, after coming in as 75' minute substitute for the first two matches? Recovering from a leg injury, Morgan's fitness should be constantly improving. The US would also love to win the group to have a better draw for the knock-out stage.
Alex Morgan is prominently featured in the new Nike Soccer ad, which also features the recently graduated Taylor Comeau, who now plays on Portland Thorns FC, the same club that Alex Morgan play for in the NWSL. Another recent Cal grad, Emily Krueger (who graduated in 2014), is the back-up goalie on that squad.
In other Cal Bears in 2015 Women's World Cup News:
Betsy Hassett and her New Zealand Football Ferns are knocked out after a 2-2 draw with China on Monday. New Zealand finished with a 0-2-1 record. Hassett has started two of the three matches (coming in as a late sub in their opener against Netherland), but was substituted off Monday's match at the half.