crystal-dunn.jpg
Getty Images

The United States women's national team will kick off a two-game series of friendlies in Ohio against Paraguay, which will make the first matches played since winning a bronze medal in this summer's Tokyo Olympic Games. It's the first time the USWNT will clash against Paraguay in the senior level and also the 54th different national team faced in the history of the program. The first meeting will take place at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, home of the NFL's Cleveland Browns. The second match be at TQL Stadium, home of MLS' FC Cincinnati.

Here's how you can watch the match and what to know:

Storylines

USWNT: A pair of post-Olympic exhibition games for the USWNT against an opponent they have never faced could present some early challenges, though not enough to stifle what the team typically does against lower ranked teams. The U.S. will be without goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and midfielder Sam Mewis, as the two players are being evaluated for injuries sustained during the Olympics. Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz are not involved in camps this international window, and Christen Press is taking time away from the international game to focus on mental health. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski expects Andi Sullivan, Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh to get minutes during this time after calling them in based on impressive club play.

Paraguay: The team has not spent a lot of time together over the last year and are coming off a seven-goal loss to Japan in April after friendlies in June against Colombia were canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. FIFA has Paraguay ranked 50th as of August and fifth in South America, as they are likely looking at this match a huge opportunity for the program in their preparation for the 2022 Copa America Femenina where they will be vying for one of three automatic berths to the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. 

Viewing information

Date: Thursday, Sept. 15 | Time: 7:38 p.m. ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium -- Cleveland, Ohio
TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)

USWNT roster

Roster ordered by position (club; caps/goals)

Goalkeepers (2): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 5), Adrianna Franch (Kansas City NWSL; 8)

Defenders (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash; 74/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 39/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 122/24), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 35/0), Kelley O'Hara (Washington Spirit; 145/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 193/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 58/0)

Midfielders (5): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 104/23), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 62/15), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon; 8/1), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 28/4), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 17/0)

Forwards (6): Tobin Heath (Arsenal; 177/35), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 312/128), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 186/111), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 63/18), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 6/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 40/12) 

Prediction

The USWNT will want to have to read what Paraguay presents them, but they will eventually breakthrough on goal and get the win. Pick: USWNT 3, Paraguay 0.