Alex Morgan and her USA teams will play two games in Europe in November. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
CHICAGO – The U.S. national team’s next challenge will be in Europe as it starts its preparations for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
The American women will go abroad in November to finish its 2018 schedule with matches against Portugal Nov. 8 in Lisbon (1 p.m. ET on ESPN2) and against Scotland on Nov. 13 in Glasgow (2 p.m. ET on FS1 and UDN).
These will be the first away games for the U.S. women this year and the first trip to Europe since the summer of 2017 when the USA earned 1-0 victories against Sweden and Norway.
“For planning purposes, it was important to have this last FIFA window of the year be in Europe,” USA head coach Jill Ellissaid. “We’ve played a competitive domestic schedule but adapting to being on the road is an important part of preparations for next year. Playing a World Cup-qualified team and a country that is on the rise will be two good matches to end our 2018 schedule.”
Between 1994 and 2015, the USA played 79 matches at 20 Algarve Cup tournaments, all held on the southern coast of Portugal, but this will be the Americans’ first game in Lisbon. The match will be played at Estadio António Coimbra da Mota, the 8,000-seat home to Second Division club G.D. Estoril Praia. The venue is in Estoril, a suburb of Lisbon.
The USA will travel north to face first-time World Cup qualifier Scotland Nov. 13 at The Simple Digital Arena, the 8,000-seat home of Scottish Premier League side St. Mirren FC. The stadium is in Paisley, just outside of Glasgow. It will be the USA’s first friendly match in Scotland, and first in United Kingdom outside of England, but the USA did play two games at the famed Hampden Park in Glasgow during the 2012 Olympics.
Scotland earned its berth to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup by winning UEFA Group 2, edging Switzerland on the final day of qualifying. Scotland defeated Albania, 2-1, in Shkoder, Albania while Switzerland was held to a surprising 0-0 draw by Poland in Mielec.
U.S. Soccer had scheduled matches against Switzerland and the Netherlands, but both teams did not get the results they needed to win their groups on the final match day of UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifying. Both teams were subsequently forced into the playoffs, the final two legs of which will take place during this FIFA window in November. Switzerland and the Netherlands will meet for the last World Cup berth for Europe.
Portugal did not qualify for the Women’s World Cup, finishing third in UEFA Group 6 behind World Cup qualifier Italy and second-place finisher Belgium, which earned a playoff spot, but fell to Switzerland in its semifinal series. Portugal did have a highly successful 2018 Algarve Cup, defeating Australia (which is currently sixth in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings) by a 2-1 score in the third-place match.