The US Women’s National Team returns to the Queen City in their final of two matches with the New Zealand Women’s National Team. US midfielder and Cincinnati native Rose Lavelle returns to her hometown to don the Red, White and Blue in front of what will be a large and raucous crowd in Nippert Stadium. Check out our 5 Things to Know for Tuesday night’s match as well as tips on how best to observe the match.
Where: Cincinnati, OH – Nippert Stadium
When: Tuesday, September 19th at 7:30 p.m. EST
TV: FS1 (national)
5 Things to Know:
Homecoming: Let’s face it. This is the main storyline going into Tuesday night’s match vs. New Zealand. The return of Cincinnati-native Rose Lavelle to the Queen City. The Boston Breakers star has shined as a member of the USWNT in her 6 appearances with the team. Rose has scored 2 goals for the US but has not featured since injuring her left hamstring in a June friendly vs. Norway. Look for the former Cincinnati United midfielder to put on a show in her hometown.
Near Sellout: According to Friday night’s release from US Soccer, there were approx. 4,000 tickets remaining to Tuesday night’s friendly. By my estimation, that would put attendance at around 30,000 before any walk-ups Tuesday evening. This would be the best attendance for the US Women in 2017 and could make a run at the 4th highest attended event among the US Men and Women if it would surpass 31,615 (2017 Gold Cup QF, Philadelphia). Regardless, the soccer fans in Cincinnati will again show that the Queen City is a great soccer town.
NWSL Future: Could the great crowd on Tuesday spur even greater growth of soccer in the area? The growing National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is looking to expand and could Cincinnati be a fit? If FC Cincinnati is awarded an MLS expansion franchise, it could also make sense to add an NWSL club. The ownership could look at an NWSL club to fill empty dates in a new soccer-specific stadium and with many soccer supporters in the area, Cincinnati could have one of the best-attended clubs in the league (avg. 5001). Cincinnati also boasts a wonderful female Cincinnati Development Academy which in theory could lead to an influx of quality local talent in the future.
Stars are out: While US Head Coach Jill Ellis will only dress 18 players for Tuesday’s match, there is a high likelihood that we see a quality group of players. Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, Ashlyn Harris and Lynn Williams were all held out of Friday’s match so I believe they will feature Tuesday. Both Lavelle and Heath are returning from injury so their action could be limited. Christen Press, Crystal Dunn, Morgan Brian, Allie Long and Casey Short only featured in limited minutes as subs, so they could also conceivably be called upon Tuesday. The only questions I may have are the availability of Kelley O’Hara and Alex Morgan. Morgan played all 90’ on Friday while O’Hara left the game after picking up a knock late. There is still plenty of Star Power that will be featured Tuesday night in Cincinnati.
What to Expect from New Zealand: Ranked 19th in the most recent FIFA Rankings, New Zealand is the current OFC (Oceania Football Championship) Champion. Three players on the New Zealand’s roster that will face the USA are currently playing in the NWSL: Rosie White (Boston Breakers), Katie Bowen (FC Kansas City), and Rebekah Stott (Seattle Reign). Additionally, two players currently play for American colleges: midfielder Daisy Cleverly at UC Berkeley and forward Martine Puketapu at the University of Colorado. The US has defeated NZ in their last 3 meetings (3-1 on Tuesday, 2-0 in the 2016 Olympics, and 4-0 in 2015).
Q&A with Stephanie Yang of StarsandStripesFC.com
Check out our interview with Stephanie Yang, co-manager of StarsandStripesFC.com a SB Nation blog. Stephanies gives us some insight into the USWNT and who she wants to shine on Tuesday night.
We encourage all fans to get down to Clifton early and enjoy themselves at the areas many restaurants and pubs. Many supporters hang out in the “Short Vine” area where you can join in the march to Nippert Stadium. Some of these locations can be rowdier than others, but families and opposing fans are encouraged to come out and join the various groups. The Supporters March Should begin at approx. 6:30 p.m.
American Outlaws: Mecklenburg Gardens – 302 E University Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219 – Tailgate is NOT allowed in the University of Cincinnati parking lots. $1 off drinks and 50% off all apps on Mecklenburg Garden’s game day menu.
TV: This contest is set for an 7:30 p.m. EST kickoff Tuesday evening. The match will be broadcast live nationally on FS1.
@bryanweigel for @CincySoccerTalk