The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team makes it look so easy at times. However, heading into Thursday’s match against Sweden, things will be anything but a walk in the park. Currently, most sportsbooks have the U.S. as favorites at -2.
Tale of the tape
Sweden is perhaps one of the more difficult opponents the U.S. will have to face during this World Cup. In their most recent head-to-head game, Team USA defeated Sweden by a 1-0 margin. That came on June 8, 2017, in a friendly match.
Sweden has had tremendous success against the United States in their last five games head-to-head. Posting a 3-1-1 record, the U.S. has certainly been faced with a challenge.
Overall, however, the advantage goes to the U.S. They hold a 20-11-7 mark in 38 all-time head-to-head matches against Sweden. I would expect another close game on Thursday. These two teams are talented across the board.
Mistakes Could Be Crucial
With both of these teams possessing tremendous talent, they need to make sure they do not give the other team opportunities to score. Taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers is paramount. Failure to do so could result in a win for the benefiting side.
Balance has been name of the game
The U.S. has been extremely strong with their defensive play. They have not allowed a goal in the Women’s World Cup yet. On the other side of the ball, they have shown tremendous offensive firepower, beating opponents by a 16-0 margin over the course of the first two games they have played.
They will need to be balanced again on Thursday. Alex Morgan has been one of the most dominant players in this World Cup. She has five goals, which is tops among all scorers. Her three assists rank tied for first with Manuela Giugliano of Brazil.
Everyone needs to contribute
Part of what makes the United States team so special is the fact that they have talented skill players across the board. Whether it be Tierna Davidson, Sam Mewis, or Megan Rapinoe, the United States has several ways that they can beat you.
Davidson, Mewis, and Rapinoe are all in the top five in assists for this World Cup. That speaks to the fact that they have been sharing the ball, and how all players have been constantly attacking every chance they get.
Anna Anvegard is a player to watch for Sweden. She has been very active and tries to make the most of her touches. In two games, she has one assist and five shots. Magdalena Eriksson is another player that makes the most of her opportunities. She has two points and an assist so far. She will look to add to that total on Thursday.
I would take the United States -2 in this one. I do think it will be a close game, but the United States has too much talent and skill for Sweden to pull out the upset. This is an experienced United States team who has been through these opportunities before. They know what is at stake here.