When and Where: The Women's Kirin Challenge Cup match between the United States and Japan kicks off in the Yurtec Stadium in Sendai City, Japan, on Sunday at 6.30 a.m. EDT. A live stream will be available on ESPN3. Coverage will also be on ESPN2.
Preview: The U.S. Women's National Team will play the first of its two matches in the inaugural Kirin Challenge Cup against Japan on Sunday.
The exhibition round-robin event features three of the top four teams in the Women's game, fourth-ranked Brazil joining the No.1 U.S. and Japan, ranked No. 3.
But it is the opening match that will capture much of the imagination, featuring as it does a rematch of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Final.
Famously, on that occasion, Japan scored a massive upset by beating the United States on penalties, after it had twice come from behind in dramatic fashion.
The two sides have met again since then, at the 2012 Algarve Cup. Once again, it was Japan coming out on top, inflicting its first regulation-time loss on the United States, 1-0.
We have something to prove every time we play Japan, said U.S. coach Pia Sundhage, according to the Associated Press.
Midfielder Carli Lloyd also spoke before the match of the value of this exhibition tournament, as well as the team's desire to set the record straight against the hosts.
Any time we get to play top teams, it's always valuable, Lloyd said, according to the U.S. Soccer website. The more quality teams we can play, the better off we will be heading into the Olympics.
We've lost to Japan the last two times we've played them, and playing them in Japan is going to be a huge match. As a team, there are some things we need to work on, but we can't get better unless we play great teams.
We don't get these opportunities too often so we have to embrace them and try to accomplish the things we need to do before we get to London.
The match also has extra significance for U.S. coach Sundhage, who will be taking charge of her 93rd game, ranking her third on the list of most U.S. Women's National Team games coached.
As well as giving the U.S. players necessary experience at the top level, the games also will present an opportunity for Sundhage to get a clearer idea of the squad she will be taking to the Summer Olympics.
Sundhage has named the same 23-women squad that went to the Algarve Cup in Portugal this year, but with only 18 players able to make the trip to London, competition for places will be fierce.
We are ready and well, Sundhage said, according to AP. I don't think we are as well connected as we will be for the Olympics. We are building up for that.
The U.S. attack will be led by Alex Morgan, who has already hit the back of the net 11 times in just nine matches for the national team this year. Morgan recently joined compatriot Hope Solo on the Seattle Sounders roster.
Japan will be without its star player -- and the FIFA Women's Player of the Year -- Homare Sawa. But coach Norio Sasaki is still eager to make the most of the two matches before heading to London.
This is a really important chance for us to beat the United States and Brazil ahead of the Olympics, he said, according to AP. They are both great teams.