Abby Dahlkemper, Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn return on Tuesday night to lead the United States women’s national team into the second friendly against New Zealand. The USWNT already picked up a 3-1 win over the Football Ferns last Friday night, in which Julie Ertz bagged a brace in eight minutes and Alex Morgan scored the insurance goal. Chicago Red Stars midfielder Sofia Huerta also made her debut for the USA.
The second match is in Cincinnati on September 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and this time it’s time for Boston Breakers midfielder Rose Lavelle‘s homecoming – providing plenty of time for Wilma Jean Wrinkles to feature on the national team’s social channels.
All ten NWSL clubs are represented on U.S. women’s national team roster selected by head coach Jill Ellis, with the Chicago Red Stars and North Carolina Courage leading the way.
As for the Football Ferns of New Zealand, three NWSL players feature on the roster for head coach Tony Readings: defender Rebekah Stott of Seattle Reign FC and midfielders Katie Bowen of FC Kansas City and Rosie White of the Boston Breakers. New Zealand will hope to follow in the footsteps of Australia in the Tournament of Nations, with a major upset over the United States in at least one of these two friendlies. The first and only time the Ferns have beaten the United States was in 1987, their first ever meeting in the history between the two teams.How to watch
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colorado
Date: Friday, September 15
Time: 10 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN 2
Venue: Nippert Stadium; Cincinnati, Ohio
Date: Tuesday, September 19
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
The big focus for the U.S. national team is squaring off against the top competition in the world despite the timing in the overall cycle. And while New Zealand isn’t quite the level of competition the team saw in the SheBelieves Cup or the Tournament of the Nation, the Ferns are ranked 19th in the world and first overall in Oceania. The USWNT is 13-1-1 all time against New Zealand, and have outscored them 52-6 in those matches.
Look for some more squad rotation from head coach Jill Ellis, especially with co-captain Carli Lloyd out due to her ankle sprain. While 22 players were named to the roster (23, if you include Huerta), only 18 can suit up for each of the two friendlies.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) September 13, 2017
Forward Hannah Wilkinson has had the best success of late against the United States — she’s scored New Zealand’s last three goals against the USWNT. But one player to never look past is the captain of the Football Ferns, Ali Riley. Longtime fans of American women’s soccer will remember Riley from a her time with FC Gold Pride and the Western New York Flash. She won pro championships with both of those teams. Right now, she’s in Sweden lacing up for FC Rosengård, but as long as she’s scoring goals like this, she should be on the radar for Ellis and co.:
What they’re saying
— WoSo Comps (@WoSoComps) September 6, 2017
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride): It’s really fun coming into camp and just seeing some of the players that you’re used to playing against now this year. Obviously, we’ve gotten in a rhythm in Orlando, and some teams are in playoffs, some are out of playoffs, so a lot of players are in different places. It’s good to just get the group together, get two games in, and get back to our clubs to finish off the season. I think we’re making a big push now, just gearing towards that end of season. Everyone’s fitness level is high, but obviously we have been fatiguing quite a bit throughout the season. It’s really just managing all the players, and the time, and the coaches had a meeting about that so I’m sure they’ll be managing us pretty well.
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride): New Zealand’s a quality team, I mean they have performed well in big tournaments. Last time I saw them was obviously in the Olympics, and I’m excited to play them again. There’s a couple players in the NWSL as well that will be here. It’s a team that we find ourselves facing, maybe once a year, something like that, and they always give us a good competition and a good game.
Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit): The season’s been going pretty good, I think. It’s a huge transition going from college to pro, so I think just having teammates on the national team and teammates on the Spirit have really helped me with that. I think the style of play, the level of play, it’s probably the best in the world, so it’s nice to step into that environment and be tested every single weekend.
Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC): All these teams are getting better and better, and that’s cool for us. We’re such an incredible team and have so many great players. You see around the world, everyone else is getting better. Physically and technically; it’s cool. And now we have new goals and we know that we have to improve. Moving forward, if we’re going to win that World Cup in a few years, we have to improve as well and know that all these other teams are working hard to do the same thing. Going into these games, we have to take every opportunity. It’s so important, having these few trainings and games to improve and get better and learn and then move forward.
Tony Readings, Head Coach Football Ferns: We know that it is not going to be easy. We have given them a run for their money before and they have beaten us comfortably as well. So this is an opportunity for us to see where we are at both on and off the pitch. We have things we need to establish to be a truly high performing team.Rosters
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (caps/goals)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 7/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 0/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 51/9), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 99/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 129/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 13/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 67/6), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 131/18), Lindsey Horan(Portland Thorns FC; 37/3), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers; 6/2), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 30/5), Samantha Mewis(NC Courage; 28/5), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 123/33)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 54/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 128/74), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 90/43), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 26/5), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 10/2)
New Zealand Women’s National Team Roster (caps/goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Victoria Esson (0/0), Anna Leat (2/0), Erin Nayler (48/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Elizabeth Anton (0/0), CJ Bott (5/0), Anna Green (64/7), Meikayla Moore (20/0), Ria Percival (124/11), Ali Riley (C) (109/1), Rebekah Stott (Seattle Reign FC, 57/4)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Annalie Longo (99/9), Betsy Hassett (99/8), Katie Bowen (FC Kansas City, 45/1), Olivia Chance (4/0), Daisy Cleverley (5/2), Malia Steinmetz (0/0), Kirsty Yallop (102/12)
FORWARDS (6): Jane Barnett (0/0), Aimee Phillips (4/1), Martine Puketapu (0/0), Katie Rood (0/0), Rosie White (Boston Breakers, 88/17), Hannah Wilkinson (81/24)