Democracy Dies in Darkness

Soccer Insider

Victory or bust for USWNT vs. England in SheBelieves Cup

Wednesday kickaround

March 7, 2018 at 6:01 AM

Mallory Pugh (11) celebrates with teammates after scoring against France on Sunday at Red Bull Arena. (Noah K. Murray/Associated Press)

The U.S. women’s national team needs to beat England on Wednesday night in order to win the SheBelieves Cup — and avoid a fourth consecutive shortfall in international competition.

The Americans and English are level on points (four) through two matches apiece, but with a superior goal differential, England would raise the trophy with a draw. Kickoff at Orlando City Stadium is at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNews and ESPN3. Germany (one point) will play France (one) at 4 p.m. (ESPN3).

Last year, the top-ranked Americans finished last in the SheBelieves Cup and second in the Tournament of Nations. In 2016, they lost in the Olympic quarterfinals.

>> With FIFA’s decision about the 2026 World Cup location three months away, the North American campaign shifted gears Tuesday by replacing bid chairman Sunil Gulati with the presidents of the three federations: Carlos Cordeiro (U.S.), Steven Reed (Canada) and Decio de Maria (Mexico). Cordeiro last month was elected president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, succeeding Gulati, who did not seek reelection.

With three figures leading the bid, the North American effort hopes to put forth a more diversified campaign. Gulati will remain on the United Bid Committee’s board of directors.

The move came nine days before the formal deadline for submitting bids. Morocco is the only other candidate seeking to host the first 48-team World Cup. FIFA’s 200-plus members will vote June 13 in Moscow.

The Insider reported in December that the North American bid was in trouble, despite huge advantages in stadiums, infrastructure and economic impact.

>> Americans abroad:

Midfielder Joe Corona logged 70 minutes and scored a tremendous goal in Club America’s 4-0 victory over Tauro (Panama) in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.

Defender Tim Ream played 90 in Fulham’s 3-0 victory over Sheffield United, extending the Cottagers’ unbeaten streak to 14 (11 victories, three draws). They are fourth in the Championship, five points from automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Defender Cameron Carter-Vickers played 90 in Ipswich Town’s 2-1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday.

Defender Ventura Alvarado played 90 in Necaxa’s 2-1 victory over Atlas in Copa MX.

>> Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice and goalkeeper Luis Robles was brilliant as the New York Red Bulls won at Tijuana, 2-0, in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. American Rubio Rubin entered at the start of the second half for Xolos, who had a 30-11 advantage in shots (13-3 on target) and 13-4 on corner kicks. The return leg is next Tuesday at Red Bull Arena.

Wednesday’s CCL first legs:

Toronto FC vs. Tigres, 8 p.m. (Univision Deportes, fuboTV, go90,

Seattle Sounders vs. Chivas, 10 p.m. (Univision Deportes, fuboTV, go90,

Steven Goff has covered soccer for The Washington Post since the early 1990s. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the U.S. national teams. He has been on assignment at every World Cup since 1994, plus four Women's World Cups.

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