This will be a pretty exciting week for soccer in Pittsburgh — as the United States Women’s National Team is finalizing their preparations for their friendly against Costa Rica on Sunday at Heinz Field.
Head Coach Jill Ellis announced earlier the roster that will take the field in Pittsburgh and also next Wednesday in Chattanooga will feature the World Cup squad only.
All 23 players that earned gold medals in Canada are scheduled to attend.
While Ellis will have other friendlies during the rest of the calendar year to begin preparations and give other players a look for the next big step — 2016 Olympic qualifying — the next few matches will likely be a “Victory Tour” of sorts that will feature all of the ladies who were part of the World Cup Champions squad.
This is good news for the fans — of which over 40,000 are expected to set an attendance record for a stand-alone friendly as the U.S. women make their first appearance as a team for a game on U.S. soil — many which will be hoping to see hometown hero — Meghan Klingenberg.
While Klingenberg, Pine-Richland grad, should be ready to play, some of her National teammates may not be playing.
Forward Sydney Leroux is out, forward Alex Morgan is doubtful and goalkeeper Hope Solo questionable — and it appears Abby Wambach has been ruled inactive.
As mentioned, more than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the U.S. event in Pittsburgh.
Of the first six friendlies that the USWNT has scheduled this year, only Pittsburgh has a grass field. All of the World Cup games played in Canada were also played on field turf and not grass.
Heinz Field last hosted a soccer match last July, when Manchester City trounced A.C. Milan before more than 35,000 fans in a group stage match of the International Champions Cup.
For updates on the International Friendly being held this Sunday at Heinz Field, be sure to follow Pittsburgh Soccer Report’s John Krysinsky on Twitter @johnkrysinsky.