The Women's World Cup is underway in Canada, and the United States will face off in Group D against Nigeria in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday.
According to a report from Plain Dealer Sports, Team USA will play its final group stage match with Nigeria tonight. If the U.S. wins this game, it would give them the Group D championship; the team would also advance to the knockoff round in Edmonton, Alberta.
"The U.S. was ranked second in the world entering the tournament, but has been spotty in its first two games, defeating Australia in its opener, 3-1, then playing Sweden to a scoreless draw," Plain Dealer Sports wrote.
Plain Dealer Sports also looked at what Nigeria could bring to tonight's game.
"Nigeria has won seven of nine African championships and been to every Women's World Cup since it started in 1991," Plain Dealer Sports wrote. "Nigeria opened with a 3-3 draw with Sweden, then lost to Australia, 2-0, and sits last in Group D with one point."
According to Rob Blanchette of Bleacher Report, a win in tonight's game against Nigeria would place Team USA at the top of Group D, and their next matchup would come from "one of the third-placed qualifiers." However, a loss would put them in second place, and their next opponent would be Brazil.
"The USA would still be favorites in such an encounter with the South Americans, but they would rather avoid having to face the brilliance of five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta," Blanchette wrote. "At 29 years old, Marta is ready for one last huge World Cup, and taking down the Americans would be sufficient motivation for her."
Blanchette added that while Nigeria has "the youthful exuberance to cause problems," their team lacked "the defensive steel to resist the Americans."
The artificial surface in Vancouver has also become a big issue. Team USA forward Abby Wambach contended to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN that her team could score more goals in the Women's World Cup if grass was used instead.
"I think I score if we're on grass," Wambach quipped.
Wambach justified her reasoning by noting that the ball bounces differently on turf in contrast to grass. According to ESPN, Wambach and a group of 60 players filed a lawsuit against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association on the grounds of gender discrimination, noting that grass was used in the men's World Cup; the lawsuit was eventually dropped.
"The ball as it comes off my head against Sweden hits a dry turf and bounces higher," Wambach said. "If it hits grass, it's harder for a goalkeeper to react, so if the ball bounces higher the goalkeeper has more time to react off the turf."
Wambach also noted that playing on grass allowed her to be "way more carefree" in her game strategy.
"I'm throwing my body, I'm not worried about anything," Wambach said. "There's no second-guessing."
However, Wambach emphasized that Team USA would have to adapt to whatever circumstances arise.
"Championship teams are the [teams] that are able to deal with all things, in all moments, in all sorts of ways," she said.
As for who will win the game, Blanchette predicted that it would "be a regulation win for the USWNT," given that it was "wholly unlikely" that Nigeria would "reproduce their goal-scoring performance against Sweden to get anywhere near the standard needed."
"It is vital that Alex Morgan gets additional game time under her belt in preparation for bigger obstacles," Blanchette wrote.
The matchup between USA and Nigeria will be aired at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on FOX. Online viewers in the United States can freely watch the game online through Fox Soccer 2 Go.