After falling to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Tom Sermanni’s team in San Francisco on Monday (NZ time), the Ferns will aim to raise their level against the 2011 Women’s World Cup runners-up and London Olympic champions.
The New Zealand side began slowly in the series opener but coach Tony Readings was heartened by the team’s response after going 2-0 down inside the opening 12 minutes.
Speaking after Wednesday’s final training run, Readings said the players shared the opinion of the coaching staff – a nervy start left the team too much to do against the world’s best.
“The players had a similar view to the staff, they were not happy with the way they began the game,” Readings said.
“While we knew they would be physical and put us under high pressure, it is one thing knowing it and another thing experiencing it.”
Thursday’s second match gives Readings and the Football Ferns a chance to show they’ve learned quickly from Monday’s encounter which highlighted positives while revealing areas to develop.
“We felt we defended well for most of the game and we did make it hard for them so we want to see that continue,” Readings said.
“When we’ve got the ball, being able to play under more pressure is going to be key. Once we acclimatised to the increased pressure we did much better.”
The squad has arrived in Columbus without any injury concerns, giving Readings a full compliment to choose from in the team’s final outing of the year as the New Zealand coach balances current priorities with preparations for the future.
“We’ve got one eye on performing here and one eye on 2014 and 2015. Opportunities to experience facing the United States are rare and we want to give that experience to as many players as possible.”
Follow the progress of the Football Ferns in Columbus on Thursday via the New Zealand Football Twitter account @NZ_Football.
The match kicks off at 12.30pm (NZ time).
New Zealand (from): 1-Jenny BINDON (GK), 2-Ria PERCIVAL, 3-Anna GREEN, 4-Katie HOYLE, 5-Abby ERCEG (capt), 6-Meikayla MOORE, 7-Ali RILEY, 9-Amber HEARN, 10-Sarah GREGORIUS, 11-Kirsty YALLOP, 12-Betsy HASSETT, 13-Rosie WHITE, 14-Elizabeth MILNE, 15-Rebekah STOTT, 16-Annalie LONGO, 17-Hannah WILKINSON, 18-Megan LEE, 19-Stephanie SKILTON, 20-Helen COLLINS, 21-Erin NAYLER (GK)
For more on New Zealand Football visit www.nzfootball.co.nz