Opponent Watch: United States in ominous form ahead of Westfield Matildas clash

The Westfield Matildas began their Tournament of Nations title defence with an impressive 3-1 win over Brazil earlier this morning.

After the victory at Children’s Mercy Park, Australia’s tournament opponents United States and Japan took to the field.

The host nation proved far too strong for the reigning Asian Cup Champions with a hat-trick to striker Alex Morgan highlighting the 4-2 win.

READ: Australia kick off title defence with 3-1 victory over Brazil

READ: Stajcic issues verdict following Brazil win

With Australia set to take on the United States in a crunch fixture on Monday morning (9.00AM AEST), and concluding their tournament against Japan the following Friday, here’s what we learned from our tournament opponents.

United States


America’s win over Japan this morning means they’ll enter Monday's clash having gone over a year without defeat - in fact, their last loss was against the Westfield Matildas on July 28, 2017.

That landmark 1-0 defeat to Alen Stajcic’s side was the first time the US had ever lost to the Westfield Matildas.

And there’s no doubting they’ll be hungry to avenge that defeat and put themselves in pole position to take Australia’s Tournament of Nations crown with a win over the Westfield Matildas.

Jill Ellis’ side looked in lethal form against Japan, but it was not a performance without chinks in the armour.

Morgan’s opening goal on 20 minutes highlighted Ellis’ team at their best – a sensational move that saw Christen Press drive through the midfield before releasing Megan Rapinoe on the left. The American playmaker then slid an inch-perfect cross to the feet of Morgan, who finished with aplomb at the near post.

Mina Tanaka quickly restored parity for Japan, but it didn’t take long for America to reassert their dominance. It was Morgan once again who displayed her predatory instincts and ability to find space in the box as the 29-year-old sliced between Japanese defenders and nodded Emily Sonnett’s clever lob home.

READ: Kellond-Knight delivers stand-in performance to savour

Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita was beaten by a third time when Morgan claimed her treble in the 55th minute, hammering home a loose ball after Japan failed to clear their lines.

That strike sealed Morgan's fourth career hat-trick, and she now has 16 games and 2 assists in her last 16 matches for the US.

When Megan Rapinoe added a fourth in the 65th minute, America’s dominance was rewarded by a 4-1 scoreline. It had been an all-guns-blazing type match from the US, with Morgan, Rapinoe and Tobin Heath all flexing their attacking muscles.

But despite their impressive firepower, the US showed they could still be prone to moments of defensive vulnerability – particularly on the counter attack, where Tanaka struck her first half equaliser.

The Westfield Matildas will have to maintain their defensive concentration and organisation to nullify America’s attacking stocks.

 But if Alen Stajcic’s side can utilise the speed of Hayley Raso, Kyah Simon and Sam Kerr in transition, Australia could be well poised to spring yet another massive upset over the world superpower.

You can catch the remaining two Westfield Matildas matches LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS.

2018 Tournament of Nations – Westfield Matildas Match Schedule

USA v Westfield Matildas
Date: Sunday, 29 July 2018 (local)
Venue: Pratt & Whitney Stadium, East Hartford, Connecticut
Kick-off: 7pm (local) (9am AEST – Monday, 30 July 2018)
Broadcast: LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS 505

Westfield Matildas v Japan
Date: Thursday, 2 August 2018 (local)
Venue: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois
Kick-off: 4.45pm (local) (7.45am AEST – Friday, 3 August 2018)
Broadcast: LIVE in Australia on FOX SPORTS 505