*The road to Canada
*After a rough start to 2014 with a seventh place finish at the Algarve Cup, USA asserted their dominance over their neighbours once again with a perfect showing at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship 2014, scoring 21 goals and conceding none in their five wins to claim a seventh regional title and a spot at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™.
Veteran defender Christie Rampone picked up her 300th cap in USA's 3-0 semi-final victory over Mexico, Abby Wambach scored seven times in four appearances throughout the tournament, including hitting a hat-trick in the Stars and Stripes 6-0 triumph against Costa Rica in the final, and goalkeeper Hope Solo added four more shutouts in the competition to raise her all-time tally to 77.
*Strengths and style
*USA are expected to be one of the dominant sides at Canada 2015, and for good reason. Coach Jill Ellis will have a strong blend of youth and experience at her disposal throughout the tournament. Former FIFA World Player of the Year Abby Wambach will likely pair up with Alex Morgan to continue their partnership that led the Stars and Stripes to the Germany 2011 final.
And with the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Sydney Leroux, Christen Press and Carli Lloyd supporting that strikeforce, goals can likely come from all over the pitch for the Americans. Youngsters such as Morgan Brian are on the periphery of a star-studded squad and could get their chance to shine as well.
With goalkeeping sensation Hope Solo set for her third Women’s World Cup behind a backline led by veteran Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn and Ali Krieger, the Americans are certainly a force to be reckoned with at Canada 2015, especially with the bitter memory of a second-place finish at Germany 2011 still fresh in the minds of many in the squad.
*Jill Ellis will take USA to Canada 2015 having taken over from Tom Sermanni in May 2014 after the Australian had been sacked one month earlier. Ellis is very familiar with the USA set-up, however, as she has been Director of Devlopment of USA women’s soccer programmes since 2011 and has been heavily involved in all aspects of the Americans’ successes on the senior and youth levels. Though she served as an interim coach for USA in 2012 for seven matches, this is her first appointment as a coach of a senior women’s national team.
*FIFA Women's World Cup record
*- This will be USA’s seventh appearance at a FIFA Women's World Cup
- The United States have won the Women’s World Cup twice, in the event’s inaugural competition 1991 and as hosts in 1999, and the worst the Stars and Stripes have ever finished is third
What they said
*"For me, 2011 was just a heartbreak. The whole motivation now is for that not to happen again and to win a World Cup. For every player in the group, they're believing that [Canada 2015] is our World Cup. This is our World Cup to win and that's how we're preparing," *Tobin Heath, USA midfielder