The United States took care of business in their first two games at the Women's World Cup so now they head into their Group C finale needing just a win or draw against Sweden to clinch first place in the group. That would set them up well in the knockout stages, almost guaranteeing that they won't have to face Brazil until the semifinals. Sweden will be the toughest team that the Americans have faced yet though so while they are favorites to win, they can't sleepwalk through the match.
One of the reasons that the U.S. have won their first two matches is because of the fantastic play by Bruin Lauren Cheney. Surprisingly inserted into the starting lineup prior to their opening match, Cheney went out and scored the opening goal of the tournament for the U.S. then in the second match actually played a more complete game, assisting on a goal and doing a lot of dirty work. For someone who was expected to come off the bench, Cheney has repaid head coach Pia Sundhage's faith in her and then some already.
Against Sweden, Cheney will be depended on even more. It is expected that Abby Wambach and Heather O'Reilly, arguably the Americans' two best attacking players, will both miss the match with injuries. That means that Cheney will have a little more responsibility not just to try and score, but to make the good runs and hold off defenders in tight spaces the way she has in the first two matches.
The match kicks off at 11:45 am PDT and will be televised live on ESPN. Let's root on Cheney as the red, white and blue look to capture Group C and set themselves up for a run to the World Cup title.