As if the prospect of City and United locking horns for the first time in the league on Red soil is not enticing enough, the intriguing sub-plot of four World Cup winners going toe-to-toe is sure to whet the appetite, despite the early kick-off!
In the Blue corner, Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle will be representing City, while Tobin Heath and Christen Press will be donning Red for the hosts.
The four United States stars will be experiencing their first tastes of a Manchester Derby – albeit without the added spice of two fervent sets of fans roaring them on.
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Much of the pre-match discussion has focused on how the World Champions will fare, lining up against – rather than alongside – each other, and both Mewis and Lavelle have warned that the United duo can be influential for the table-topping Reds.
“It’s really exciting,” Mewis smiled. “I know the Derby has a lot of historical significance and I’m really excited to be part of it and see the rivalry and competition.
“It’s going to be a great game. United have a great team and they’ve been doing really well. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.
“It will be great (to play against Heath and Press). I’m excited to see them and it’s always great to play against them – it’s great competition and that’s a good way to challenge yourself.
“They are both really technical – Tobin is a special player with her technical ability and Christen’s speed and finishing is incredible.
“They’re both really fun to play with – they’re great teammates and they’ve definitely been contributing and adding a lot to the league.
“There’ll be no trash talk! It will be fun to see them and catch-up… after the game!”
Lavelle echoed the sentiments, adding: “They’re great players – gamechangers – and they’ve brought a lot to their team. Off the pitch, they’re great people too.
“I have nothing but good things to say… but I hope the game goes our way!
“It’s always fun when you can be reunited with friends on the field – it adds another element to the game, competing against them.”
While both admit the passion of a Derby is intensified in England, Lavelle says her experiences of ‘blue versus red’ back home in Cincinnati, Ohio has prepared her well for the Manchester Derby – a fixture she used to watch on TV!
“It’s so exciting!” she said. “I’ve watched the Derby before in the men’s game but I never thought I’d be playing in it one day!
“It seems like it’s going to be such an intense game with so much on the line.
“It’s really cool. It’s a huge rivalry and it’s always fun to be part of those games – everything is so heightened.
“Rivalries are fun. Games like this are definitely more intense than they are back home as there’s a bigger football culture here.
“We have really big rivalries in other sports and that’s something I’m familiar with: playing in big games where you really dislike the other team!
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“Those are the games you get the most amped for because there are so many things to play for, like bragging rights!
“I’m a huge college basketball fan and back home in Cincinnati, we have ‘the Crosstown Shootout’, which is the University of Cincinnati Bearcats versus the Xavier University Musketeers.
“That’s also blue versus red and I’m a fan of the blue team!
“It’s the same thing: if you lost, going to school the next day was miserable. I would dread it!
“All the kids of the other team would be bragging and you’d just have to stand there and take it!
“Cincinnati is blue and let’s hope Manchester is blue too!”