USA vs Thailand: The U.S. Women’s National Team opens its defense of the World Cup title with a match against Thailand on Tuesday in Reims, and for the first time since 2003 the team will not have Hope Solo in goal. Alyssa Naeher, a 31-year-old who has 24 cleansheets in 45 appearances with the USWNT, is taking over for Solo, who had her national team contract terminated after the 2016 Olympics.
The USA is ranked No. 1 in the world doesn’t mean it’s the best value on the United States vs. Thailand money line. Sumpter is an applied mathematician and author of Soccermatics, a book that explains how math works inside the sport. Along with other experienced analysts, Sumpter developed the powerful Soccerbot model.
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The United States has a deep and talented front line. The team starts Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe — three of the world’s top attackers who are arguably in the best form of their careers. Moreover, the three are healthy going into Tuesday’s game, a luxury the USWNT largely hasn’t had. Since the start of 2018, the trio has started together in just 11 of 29 matches.
Thailand forward Suchawadee Nildhamrong is a proven goal scorer. The former standout from Cal, who is better known as Miranda Nild, Nildhamrong earned the Golden Bears’ Offensive Player of the Year award as a junior and scored 13 goals in her time at Berkeley. She also scored twice in the Women’s Asian Cup. Nildhamrong and her teammates will be facing a United States goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, who will be playing in her first major international tournament.