U.S. women to open 2019 at France, play Japan in Ch­ester

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS -

CHICAGO >> The United States women’s soc­cer team will open next year with games at World Cup host France and Spain and fin­ish a 10-game sched­ule lead­ing to the tour­na­ment with a send-off match against Mex­ico at Har­ri­son, New Jer­sey, on May 26.

The de­fend­ing world cham­pion Amer­i­cans play France at Le Havre on Jan. 19 and face Spain at Ali­cante three days later, the U.S. Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion said Thurs­day. Japan, which beat the U.S. in the 2011 World Cup fi­nal and lost the fi­nal to the Amer­i­cans in 2015, plays the U.S. on Feb. 27 at Ch­ester, Penn­syl­va­nia.

The top-ranked U.S. plays Eng­land on March 2 at Nashville, Ten­nessee, and Brazil three days later at Tampa, Flor­ida, then meets Aus­tralia on April 4 at Com­merce City, Colorado, and Bel­gium three days later at Los An­ge­les.

The Amer­i­cans close their warmups against South Africa on May 12 at Santa Clara, Cal­i­for­nia, against an op­po­nent to be de­ter­mined four days later at St. Louis and ver­sus Mex­ico.

“This sched­ule checks a lot of im­por­tant boxes in our prepa­ra­tion for the World Cup. We’ll get to ex­pe­ri­ence a va­ri­ety of teams in re­gard to their strengths and styles of play and al­most all of the coun­tries will be in their World Cup prepa­ra­tion as well,” U.S. coach Jill El­lis said in a state­ment.

The U.S. will learn its group-stage World Cup op­po­nents dur­ing Satur­day’s draw at Paris.

ELAINE THOMP­SON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this July 5, 2015, file photo, the United States Women’s Na­tional Team cel­e­brates af­ter they beat Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup soc­cer cham­pi­onship in Van­cou­ver, British Columbia.

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