WNT Faces Long-Time Rivals on June 7 in Sandy, Utah and on June 12 in Cleveland
CHICAGO – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named Chicago Red Stars Julie Ertz, Sofia Huerta and Alyssa Naeher among the 24 players to the preliminary roster for two friendly matches in June against China PR. The games will take place on Thursday, June 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, Presented by Cutter Insect Repellent (7 p.m. MT / 9 pm ET; FS1 & UDN) and on Tuesday, June 12 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2). Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each of the matches.
These will be the final games before Ellis chooses a 23-player roster for the 2018 Tournament of Nations, featuring the USA, Australia, Brazil and Japan, which will take place from July 26-Aug. 2
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position; Caps/Goals
GOALKEEPERS (4): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 15/0), Casey Murphy (Montpellier HSC, FRA; 0/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 28/0), Abby Smith (Utah Royals FC; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 18/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 6/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 5/0), Merritt Mathias (NC Courage; 0/0), Margaret Purce (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 137/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 74/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 59/15), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 49/5), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 252/100), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 34/7), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 37/6), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 1/0)
FORWARDS (7): Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 62/23), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 132/18), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC; 5/0), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 140/85), Christen Press (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, SWE; 98/44), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 135/36), Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals FC; 130/30)
The matches mark the return to the roster of four players who have made recoveries from injuries, several who have been out of a U.S. jersey for months. Forward Tobin Heath, the 2016 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, makes a roster for the first time since playing against New Zealand in September of 2017. Midfielder Samantha Mewis, who started every match in 2017, makes her first roster since the two matches against Canada in early November of 2017. Julie Ertz, the 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, played in the first two matches of the year but missed the final two games at the SheBelieves Cup and the Mexico series in early April. Forward Amy Rodriguez has not played for the USA since October of 2015. She missed all of 2016 due to pregnancy and the birth of her second son and all of 2017 due to an ACL injury suffered in the first game of the 2017 NWSL season.
The USA played China in two consecutive world finals in the 1990s, winning 2-1 in the 1996 Olympic gold medal game, the first contested in women’s soccer, and then winning the historic penalty kick shootout that decided the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The USA and China have met 56 times, second behind Canada on the list of most common opponents for the U.S. WNT, but the two historic women’s soccer nations have not played since the final game of 2015, a 1-0 loss in New Orleans in what was legendary striker Abby Wambach’s final game.
That loss at the Superdome, which was the final Victory Tour game during a memorable 2015 for the U.S. Women, ended a 104-match home unbeaten streak dating back to 2004.
Tickets for the match in Utah are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 844-REAL-TIX (844-732-5849) (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT) and at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
Tickets for the game in Cleveland are on sale through ussoccer.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the FirstEnergy Stadium ticket office, but only on June 11 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and on the day of the game starting at 9 a.m.
Groups of 20 or more can order for both games directly at ussoccer.com.
DID YOU KNOW…
- The roster consists of 20 NWSL players, three players currently based in Europe and one college player in defender Tierna Davidson. Davidson is once again the youngest player on the roster. She does not turn 20 until September.
- There are no first-time call-ups on the roster, but four players are uncapped.
- North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni gets her second call-up after making her debut on Oct. 22, 2017, against Korea Republic in Cary, N.C. at her club’s home stadium. Zerboni, who was just a few months shy of her 31st birthday, became the oldest player to earn a first cap for the U.S. WNT.
- Six-foot-1 goalkeeper Casey Murphy, the USA’s starter at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, gets her second call-up after training with the U.S. team during the January training camp in 2017.
- The 22-year-old Murphy, who has been playing in France with Montpellier HSC, was recently named to the D1 Feminine Best XI and was named the top goalkeeper in the league.
- Goalkeeper Abby Smith was with the USA for the June 2017 friendlies in Scandinavia and then was on the roster for the 2017 Tournament of Nations.
- North Carolina Courage defender Merritt Mathias gets her second call-up after training with the USA during October 2016 friendlies against Switzerland.
- Portland Thorns outside back Margaret “Midge” Purce gets her second call-up. She was on the roster for the 2017 Tournament of Nations, but did play.
- Christen Press returns to the roster after missing the April friendlies while she sorted out her club situation. Since signing with Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC she has scored four goals and was named the Player of the Month for April in the Damallsvenskan.
- China recently qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup by winning its group at the 2018 AFC Asian Women’s Cup in Jordan. In the semifinal, China lost to Japan, 3-1, but defeated Thailand, 3-1, in the Third-Place match and will join fellow Asian qualifiers Japan, Australia and Thailand in France.
- The WNT has played four international friendlies at Rio Tinto Stadium – home of Utah Royals FC in the NWSL – since the venue’s October 9, 2008 opening. The USA has a perfect 4-0-0 record in Sandy, on top of a dominant 5-0 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium against Ireland in 2003, prior to Real Salt Lake’s existence.
- The USA last played in Utah on Oct. 19, 2016 in a 4-0 victory vs. Switzerland during which five players made their WNT debut: Abby Dahlkemper, former BYU star Ashley Hatch, Casey Short, Andi Sullivan and Lynn Williams. Rio Tinto was also the site of Alex Morgan’s first cap on March 31, 2010, a 1-0 victory against Mexico in a match played in ankle-deep snow.
- This will be just the fourth visit to Cleveland for the U.S. WNT. The previous three matches took place at FirstEnergy Stadium with the most recent visit a 2-0 win against Japan on June 5, 2016.
- One of those three previous Cleveland matches – the first – came against China, a 2-0 win in June of 2007.
- FirstEnergy Stadium was also the site of a 4-0 win over Germany on May 22, 2010 that featured the 130th and final goal of Kristine Lilly’s historic international career.
- The USA is 34-9-13 all-time against China. The nine wins for China are the most of any country against the USA besides Norway (19).
- The USA and China met in the quarterfinal round at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup with the Americans emerging with a 1-0 victory on a spectacular header goal from Carli Lloyd off an assist from Julie Ertz.
- Of the 56 all-time meetings between the teams, a remarkable 45 have featured margins of victory that were two goals or less.