It was announced earlier today by the Japanese Nadeshiko, and later confirmed by Brazil, Australia, and the US, that this year’s Tournament of Nations will run from July 26th to August 2nd, with the final set of matches being played at Bridgeview’s Toyota Park.
Though the rosters for the tournament haven’t yet been released, one can imagine that they will include Chicago Red Stars keeper Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, and (possibly) Casey Short and Sofia Huerta. Perhaps the biggest lock, barring injury (please, no more injuries), is Sam Kerr getting the call up for Australia. The USA will be closing the tournament against Brazil, and Australia will be taking on their Asian Cup counterpart Japan.
The Red Stars do have an NWSL game scheduled in that same time-frame, against Sky Blue FC on July 28th, so fans can anticipate their main internationals to be missing. However, what a great opportunity for a doubleheader of sorts! Catch the Chicago depth on the 28th, and stick around for the marquee players on the 2nd of August.
Last year, the USWNT had an interesting route through the tournament, falling to the Matildas 1-0 before winning a 4-3 thriller against Brazil, and closing the campaign with a solid 3-0 win over Japan. With World Cup Qualifiers coming up this fall (and all three other teams in the competition having already punched their ticket to France 2019), the USA will surely put a special emphasis on results this year, and the closer is going to be a great showcase for the Chicago area.
Attendance for the Red Stars has suffered a bit from last year, a result of a very top-heavy schedule and some tough weather circumstances in the spring, but this will give fans coming in from different areas a chance to experience the splendor of the city in the summer, and hopefully will be looking to catch some NWSL action after the break is finished.