The USWNT is looking to make a statement after losing consecutive matches for the first time in five years.
The 2-1 defeat in London on Oct. 7 was a testament to the European champions and the 76,893 that crowded Wembley to roar on England, but the 2-0 defeat to Spain's "B Team" four days later — La Roja's first-ever victory over the U.S. — was enough to set alarm bells ringing within the American camp with the 2023 World Cup only nine months away.
"There's no excuse with the team that we have, because I think we have incredible players," manager Vlatko Andonovski said after the humbling result in Pamplona.
However, Andonovski's squad selection for the upcoming pair of friendlies against Germany shows where the manager believes there's room for improvement.
Up top, Alex Morgan is in line to reach 200 caps if she plays Nov. 10 (DRV PNK Stadium, FL) and Nov. 13 (Red Bull Arena, NJ) against DFB-Frauen. She missed out on the last two games because of a knee injury, but the 33-year-old is coming off a sensational NWSL season with 16 goals and three assists in 19 games.
Sophia Smith led the line in her absence, and the 22-year-old was instrumental in the Portland Thorns' NWSL Championship triumph, but the U.S. attack has looked good with Morgan up top and Smith out wide on the right.
Mallory Pugh has made the left wing her own, but she also missed the last two games because of a family commitment. Megan Rapinoe started in her place but the OL Reign captain is now a much better option off the bench. We'll see how Morgan, Smith and Pugh operate together against a world-class opponent.
The U.S. simply needs to get it figured out in midfield. Sam Mewis' availability for the World Cup remains questionable, Julie Ertz — after giving birth in early August — is in the same boat, and Catarina Macario won't return from her ACL injury until early 2023, so the U.S. needs to find the appropriate balance after some shaky looks from the Andi Sullivan-Lindsey Horan-Rose Lavelle trifecta. 23-year-old Sam Coffey has emerged as an option in the holding position with the USWNT utilizing attack-minded players in the No. 6 and No. 8 roles.
In defense, there's a welcome return for Emily Fox. The 24-year-old Racing Louisville left back was replaced early against England due to concussion protocols. She's back, but we could also see more minutes for Crystal Dunn as she continues to build match fitness after returning from giving birth.
Germany will not be accommodating opponents for a U.S. team looking to find its rhythm. The world's No. 3 ranked team is missing a few big names through injury with Lyon midfielder Sara Däbritz, Bayern Munich striker Lea Schüller and Bayern defenders Giulia Gwinn and Marina Hegering ruled out through injury, but some of the stars from the Euro 2022 runners-up squad will be there.
In midfield, 20-year-old Wolfsburg creator Lena Oberdorf is one of the world's rising stars and 28-year-old Lina Magull is at the top of her game. Up top, captain Alexandra Popp needs no introduction, but her heir apparent is 21-year-old Bayern forward Klara Bühl.
The USWNT and Germany have a long history — 33 previous meetings with the U.S. holding a 22-4-7 edge — but they haven't faced off in four years.
The U.S. is preparing for action at the World Cup in Group E alongside the Netherlands, Vietnam and a playoff winner. Germany has been drawn in Group H with Morocco, Colombia and South Korea. The USWNT and Germany couldn't possibly meet until the final, but that's a very real possibility.
How to watch USWNT vs. Germany friendly
Date: Thursday, Nov. 10 | Time: 7 p.m. ET | TV: FS1
Location: DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Date: Sunday, Nov. 13 | Time: 5 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN
Location: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.