While there will be some extra emotions for sure in this match for the Americans, the focus is looking forward and that means getting a result against Japan that will send the U.S. team into its 10th consecutive Algarve Cup Final. Germany and Sweden battle in their final Group A match for a spot in the championship game.
The match will be played at the beautiful Stadium Algarve, a modern facility built for the 2004 European Championships and while the atmosphere will certainly be different from last summer, the U.S. team is looking forward to playing an excellent match on the wide pitch.
The U.S. and Japan are both 2-0-0 (six points) through the first two matches days of the group stage, but the USA holds a significant plus-six goal differential to Japan's plus-three. Therefore, the U.S. can advance to the Algarve Cup final with either a win or a draw against the Japanese. The game kicks off at 9:10 a.m. ET and fans can follow the game via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt. The USA is 8-0-0 for the year and has out-scored its opponents 47-2.
Of the 13 Japanese players who played during the World Cup Final against the U.S., 11 are on the Algarve Cup roster. The only two not in attendance are forwards Karina Maruyama and Mana Iwabuchi, who played as subs during that World Cup Final.
The U.S. team could line up the same starting lineup as it played in the final, minus defender Ali Krieger who is out with a knee injury.
The game will feature two of the top-three finalists for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year in Abby Wambach and Japan's Homare Sawa.
The USA and Japan played in the Algarve Cup opener last year with the Americans coming away with a 2-1 victory.