THE odds are stacked against Scotland when they face Olympic champions America at the EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, tonight.
The hosts will be out to impress new coach Tom Sermanni while star striker Abby Wambach is on a mission to overtake Mia Hamm’s world record of 158 international goals.
Adding to Scotland’s difficulties, first choice central defenders Ifeoma Dieke and Rachel Corsie are missing with long-term knee injuries. Influential midfielder Megan Sneddon has also not been given time off by her employers to make the trip, which includes a second game in Nashville on Wednesday night.
The Scots lost 8-2 in Ohio on the only previous occasion the teams met in 2002. Although they have made impressive strides in recent years, they face a side which played 32 matches in 2012, winning 28 and losing just one.
In the absence of Dieke and Corsie, Arsenal striker Jenny Beattie is likely to be moved into the back four to try to contain Wambach. The 32-year-old American has scored 152 international goals. Tom Sermanni, the Glaswegian who will be in charge of the Americans for the first time tonight, admitted he would have mixed feelings if she pulled off the feat. “I’ll try my best to make sure it doesn’t happen against Scotland!” he joked.
The Scots are in pre-season and coach Anna Signeul said she expected her players’ lack of match fitness to be reflected in the performance tonight. “We have to acknowledge where we are,” she said. “It’s not a case of focusing on the result but being inspired by the experience of playing against the best team in the world.”