PASADENA (CNS) - The U.S. women's soccer team will play at the Rose Bowl tonight, its first game since winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup last month, beginning a five-game Victory Tour with two of its top players sidelined by injuries.
Megan Rapinoe, who received the Golden Ball as the tournament's best overall player and Golden Boot as its top scorer, has an inflamed Achilles tendon.
Fellow forward Alex Morgan, a Diamond Bar High School graduate whose six goals matched Rapinoe and England's Ellen White for the most in the tournament, won't play because of what U.S. coach Jill Ellis said was a minor undisclosed injury from the World Cup.
A crowd of 35,000 is expected for the game against Ireland, according to Aaron Heifetz, the team's press officer.
Congestion is expected around the Rose Bowl because Mountain Street will be reduced to one lane between the Foothill (210) Freeway and Lincoln Avenue because of repairs, said Lisa Derderian, Pasadena's public information officer.
Motorists should exit the Foothill Freeway at the Arroyo Boulevard/Windsor Avenue or Lincoln Avenue exits whether approaching from east or west, Derderian said.
This will be the fifth game for the U.S. women's national team at the Rose Bowl and the first since Nov. 9, 2002, when it defeated Canada, 2-1, in overtime to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Rose Bowl was the site of the U.S. penalty kick shootout victory over China to win the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, before a crowd announced at 90,185, the most for a FIFA Women's World Cup game.
The U.S. is 14-1-2 in 2019 and has won 13 consecutive games.
Ireland is 33rd in the rankings compiled by FIFA, soccer's international governing body. It has never qualified for the World Cup. The U.S. is ranked first.
Ireland is preparing to try for qualification for the 2021 European Women's Championship, which begins in September against Montenegro. Its roster consists of nine players who play in Ireland, six in England, three in Germany, one in Portugal and forward Heather Payne, a 19-year-old set to begin play for NCAA champion Florida State on Aug. 22.
The U.S. is 12-0-0 against Ireland, including a 5-0 victory in their most recent meeting, Jan. 23, 2016 at San Diego.
Each team will be able to make six substitutions, double the usual amount.
The Victory Tour also consists of games Aug. 29 in Philadelphia and Sept. 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota, both against Portugal, and Oct. 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Oct. 6, in Chicago, both against South Korea.