USWNT with Morgan and Rapinoe ought to dominate the SheBelieves Cup in 2021. Olympics subsequent?

As we headed into the SheBelieves Cup, 2021 edition, we knew it was going to look different than the 2020 version. And, to be honest, it’s impossible to do justice to this 2020 version featured in their final USWNT -Game against Japan on March 11th, the day the sports world literally creaked. So we’re here almost a year later – yeah, it felt like FIVE – and instead of teams like England, Spain and Japan, this edition is Canada (minus seven of its stars), Brazil (trained by Pia Sundhage) . .. yes, this Pia Sundhage) and Argentina (because Japan pulled out due to COVID-19 concerns).

It’s not the standard of teams we’ve seen over the years, but I’m just impressed that US Soccer can even win a SheBelieves Cup.

– Sam Mewis from the SheBelieves Cup with an injury
– Morgan, press release for USWNT in the SheBelieves Cup
– Trinity Rodman is ready to leave his own legacy in women’s football

Where do we start with so much to talk about? Let’s start assessing the U.S. team after a full year of COVID-19 changing our lives and the Olympics only five months away … assuming the Olympics actually happen.

I would say the US is the favorite to win the Olympics. About a mile. Yeah, I said a mile. This is really remarkable given the challenges of scoring consistent games in the US over the past year. How is that possible, you ask? Calm, mentality, depth – in that order.

Rest: The delay in the Olympics means this team has been able to rest and recover. All of this would be impossible under a normal schedule. I think that’s why no women’s team has won a world championship and won the Olympics next year. Ultimately, it’s too tight a turn for the winners. That delay could be huge for the US as a whole – just ask Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Megan Rapinoe.

Mentality: This US team always finds a way to pandemic damn it. You will find a way to train, compete, grow, and minimize the disadvantages of a pandemic. You saw it end 2020 when you beat the Dutch in November. This was basically the USWNT’s first real game during the quarantine, then again in the two victories against Colombia in January. The first game was a 4-0 win for the US and the second a 6-0 win.

It was a worn out Colombian team, yes, but it also gave USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski a chance to see some of his younger players, Catarina Macario, who was recently approved by FIFA, to join the US instead of her native Brazil play . And let’s just say Macario looked like one of them.

Depth: For the three SheBelieves Cup games, the US will still not be at full strength due to injuries (Tobin Heath and Sam Mewis) and clubs unwilling to release their players (Alana Cook at PSG). But even with reduced violence, the US is full of options and has the gift of a deep cadre.

Morgan, right, is back in the USWNT group for the SheBelieves Cup, along with several big names who will all make the US an instant favorite for the Olympics when the tournament takes place. Rico Brouwer / Soccrates / Getty Images

Alex Morgan is back. After pregnancy, after knee injury, after the Tottenham loan and after the coronavirus diagnosis, she’s back and, as you can imagine, happy to play. Lloyd and Rapinoe are also playing again and looking good. Both missed most of 2020 due to injuries and absenteeism. In any case, these two stars returned to the January friendlies which were revitalized, fit, and most importantly, hungry.

Christen Press is also back after missing the January friendlies for Manchester City due to a prolonged illness (unrelated to COVID-19) in England. Kristie Mewis wants to prove that 2021 can be as magical as 2020, and we already mentioned how good Macario looked. Add another youngster on the radar, Sophia Smith, the Stanford star who was number 1 in the 2020 NWSL draft. She will get a good impression at the SheBelieves Cup tournament.

In terms of competition, unfortunately, Canada is missing some of its biggest stars due to injuries (Christine Sinclair, Erin McLeod, Diana Matheson and Bianca St-Georges) and clubs not releasing them (Kadeisha Buchanan, Jordyn Huitema and Ashley Lawrence) is a bummer . But I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to the matchup between Pia Sundhage and Brazil. Can Pia transform a Brazilian team that has always been the bridesmaid? Can it bring you the long awaited first gold medal at world level?

I think it’s too little, even too late for Brazil, but it’s a compelling story. At least I hope Pia pulls out her guitar, plays a few notes, serenades us, and puts the world back on its feet. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

Perhaps the 2021 SheBelieves Cup is exactly what we need to get back to normal. It was the last bit of normality we had before the world was turned upside down, after all. So let’s start realizing your potential in 2021.

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