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Here’s an expected USWNT starting XI vs. Vietnam in their Women’s World Cup opener

United States women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski is set to put out his first-ever World Cup starting XI on Friday against Vietnam. Here’s an idea of the expected USWNT starting XI vs Vietnam that Vlatko might field.

It’s no secret that the USWNT are heavy, and we repeat, HEAVY favorites against Vietnam. One Vietnamese reported even asked Vlatko if his team was going to do to Vietnam what they did to Thailand in the last Women’s World Cup (win 13-0).

Anything can happen on the World Cup stage and to ensure victory, this is the starting squad we predict Vlatko should use.

Predicted USWNT starting XI vs Vietnam

Predicted USWNT starting XI vs Vietnam

Let’s start from the top and work our way down.


Alex Morgan and Sophia Smith are locked in starters for any USWNT fan’s starting XI. With Mallory Swanson out injured the choice of left wing is more of a debate.

Lynn Williams and phenom Alyssa Thompson each provide a dangerous spark to the attack, but for the opening game of the World Cup we’re going with the hot hand (or foot) of Trinity Rodman.

It was Rodman’s brilliance in the sendoff game vs. Wales that got the USWNT the victory. Put her in the starting XI!


One big question mark hovers over the USWNT midfield and that is the health of Rose Lavelle. The star midfielder has been nursing a knee injury since April and isn’t quite 100% yet. We expect Vlatko to manage her minutes carefully and keep her out of the starting XI for the team’s opener.

Taking Lavelle’s place will be the crafty Ashley Sanchez, although an argument could also be made for USWNT newcomer Savannah DeMelo who has been electric in the NWSL this season.

The one for-sure starter in the midfield is captain Lindsey Horan. No questions about her starting on Friday.

Andi Sullivan is in the defensive midfield role. Sullivan has had her critics, but she looks like a solid fit for the Vietnam game. Julie Ertz’s veteran presence might be saved for the bigger group stage games against the likes of Netherlands and Portugal.


With Becky Sauerbrunn missing the World Cup due to a foot injury it looks like Naomi Girma and Alana Cook will be the center back duo for the Stars and Stripes.

To their left will be stalwart defender Crystal Dunn and to their right we’ve gone with Sofia Huerta. Huerta gets more praise for her ability going forward than her defensive skills. She could be key with her incisive crosses vs. Vietnam where the USWNT will likely be on the attack for a majority of the game.

In goal is Alyssa Naeher who should start every game of this World Cup.

We’ll see if we read Vlatko’s mind correctly or if he has another plan for Vietnam. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. ET on Friday. Let’s go get that third title in-a-row.

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