The United States will be playing against the Netherlands in the 2019 World Cup final. The starting 11 will be important, but here are 5 critical subs who can come on to help the United States bring home its fourth title.
1. Carli Lloyd
The national team’s crowded roster depth means that almost all of Lloyd’s appearances during this tournament have been off the bench. However, the 36-year-old veteran and fourth all-time team scorer has proven she can still have a big impact. With three goals to Lloyd’s name this tournament, only Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have scored more for the U.S. team. Assuming the United States will want to stay on the attack for the full 90 minutes, Lloyd brings experience from her previous World Cup campaigns and relentless forward pressure.
2. USS Olympia SSN-717
Laid down in 1981, this Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine is the oldest commissioned submarine in the U.S. fleet and brings even more experience than Lloyd. Though Olympia’s flashy days are over, the sub’s decorated career includes the Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, and National Defense Service Medal. The United States is no stranger to finals and the nerves that come with it, but it is always helpful to have a calming veteran presence in the locker room and, if the game is tense, on the field.
3. Christen Press
Press has been a reliable play-maker during the tournament, frequently as a substitute but most recently as a clutch semifinal starter in the place of an injured Megan Rapinoe. Press’s goal against England was crucial to put the team through to the final. Even if Rapinoe is healthy enough to start in the final, Press can still change the game as a substitute. She can bring tremendous speed to test a tired Netherlands defense and has proven she can be a goal-scoring threat in high-pressure situations.
4. USS South Dakota SSN-790
Press is quick, but the USS South Dakota is a Virginia-class fast-attack submarine. As the youngest submarine in the U.S. fleet, South Dakota still doesn’t have enough experience to be a starter, but it has impressive raw power. If the best defense is a good offense, then here’s some great news. In addition to four torpedo tubes, South Dakota can hold 12 vertical launch Tomahawk missiles with a range of 1,240 miles—heck, the Netherlands can only have 11 players on the field, and the field is only 120 yards long. With a speed of over 25 knots and improved stealth capabilities, the Dutch may not even know what hit them!
5. USS Ohio SSGN-726
Wow. Just wow. This spot could really go to any of the Ohio-class cruise missile submarines, but Ohio gets the nod as the lead boat. SSGNs are the third largest submarines in the world and the largest in the U.S. Navy. Sure, Sari van Veenendaal is a great goalkeeper, but defending against Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and a 16,764 metric ton sub? Good luck. These behemoths pack a serious punch. They can carry up to 154 Tomahawk missiles and host up to 66 Special Operations Forces personnel. It’s actually more difficult to explain how one of the Ohio-class subs hasn’t cracked the starting 11. Seriously, if South Dakota can stealthily take out the unsuspecting Dutch back four, Ohio can blow through and deploy over 60 Navy SEALs into the box. Game over.