FOOTBALL Preview: Top-ranked U.S. Women’s National Team tunes up against no. 49 South Africa

Mallory Pugh celebrates one of her two goals in the 5-3 win over Australia (Photo: U.S. Soccer)

With the team selection process finally completed, the U.S. Women’s National Team now enters its final preparation phase prior to heading to France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in June.

The “Send-Off Series” includes three matches over two weeks:

● 12 May: vs. South Africa at Santa Clara, California (4:30 p.m. Eastern time)
● 16 May: vs. New Zealand at St. Louis, Missouri (8:00 p.m. Eastern time)
● 26 May: vs. Mexico at Harrison, New Jersey (11:30 a.m. Eastern time)

South Africa and New Zealand are both World Cup teams, while Mexico is not.

The full U.S. team is expected to be present for these games, which on paper should be victories. After all, the U.S. women continue to be ranked no. 1 in the world, while South Africa is no. 49, New Zealand is ranked 19th and Mexico, 26th.

But that’s why they play the games. After starting out the year at 1-1-2, the U.S. women have won their last three games by a 12-3 margin, including an impressive, 5-3 win over Australia on 4 April.

The U.S. has had a somewhat recent game against South Africa, winning 1-0 in July 2016 in Chicago on a Crystal Dunn goal.

Sunday’s game will be shown on Fox, which will also televise the Women’s World Cup. Look for results here.