Bumper crowd to drive Matildas against US

The Matildas aim to feed off the energy of a potentially record-breaking crowd in the first of two friendly matches against the United States.

Football Australia are closing on selling enough tickets for Saturday’s standalone game at Stadium Australia to possibly surpass the 33,600 fan-mark set against Sweden at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which was a double-header with the Olyroos v Nigeria.

The crowd should comfortably surpass the 20,029 for a standalone Matildas game on Australian soil, set in a friendly against Chile in November 2019 at nearby Commback Stadium in Parramatta.

“The way we want to play with that high-octane, high-energy, high-pressing and fast, flowing attacking game is going to be based on that energy from the stands,” coach Tony Gustavsson said. 

“This is going to be an historical game. 

“If we break that record, people in a decade from now are going to say ‘I was there. I was there, breaking that record. I was there’ and we’re going to look at this as a crossroads game for the Matildas and women’s football in Australia. 

“It’s going to be huge (on Saturday) and I can’t wait to be part of that.”

The Matildas have only beaten the US once, but will draw on having faced them twice at the Tokyo Olympics for a 0-0 draw with the world No.1 in a group match before losing their bronze medal match 4-3.

“The first one we were pretty in control, we had a lot of the ball, created a lot of good chances,” vice-captain Steph Catley told reporters. 

“Then the second time around, they pressed us pretty high and we struggled to begin with to play out and then we started solving problems eventually. 

“It just shows that they’re a really flexible team and they’re capable of playing different styles and pressing in different ways and it means we have to be ready for everything.

“But we can expect that they’ll come out firing and come and look to press us pretty high to begin with because it was effective for them in that second game. 

“But we know about that and we’re ready for that. We’ve been training for that for a week so I think it’s going to be a high-paced, very exciting game.”

Alanna Kennedy (quad) will miss the game, which will likely mark midfielder Tameka Yallop’s 100th match.

“(Yallop’s) playing some of the best football I’ve seen her play,” Catley said. 

“She’s absolutely thriving and she’s just that player that will do anything for the team.”