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U.S. Women’s team facing challenges

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The toughest rival stalking Jill Ellis and the U.S. women’s national team isn’t Germany, France or Brazil. It’s the clock.

Because with less than four months to go before the World Cup, the U.S. coach suddenly finds herself with more problems than solutions. And the clock, relentless and inextricable, continues to tick away.

U.S. edges England, 1-0, in Alex Morgan’s return
U.S. edges England, 1-0, in Alex Morgan’s return
Last week’s two-game European trip was supposed to be a confidence-building step forward for a struggling U.S. team. Instead, the Americans did little more than march in place, getting outplayed in a 2-0 loss to France before escaping Friday with a 1-0 win over England that just as easily could have been 1-0 the other way.

So continued a streak of lackluster performances for a team that has won just two of its last six games, its longest skid in nearly four years and one that knocked the U.S. out of the top spot in the FIFA world rankings for the first time in nearly seven years.

But rather than fearing the pressure, Ellis insisted she is embracing it.

“Me coming into this environment, I know the expectations,” she said during last month’s training camp. “And you’ve got to relish it.”

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