Julie Johnston, Alyssa Naeher, Christen Press named to United States Women’s National Team for September matches.
CHICAGO – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 21 players to the roster ahead of matches against Thailand on Sept. 15 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2) and on Sept. 18 against the Netherlands (7 p.m. ET on FS1) at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The USA’s meeting with Thailand, the first in the history of the programs, will mark the final game in a U.S. uniform for veteran midfielder Heather O’Reilly, who announced her retirement from international soccer last week. It will be O’Reilly’s 231st appearance in a U.S. career that began as a 17-year-old in 2002. She will be honored before the match in which she will serve as captain.
Eighteen-year-old Mallory Pugh, who became the youngest American to score in the Olympics when she tallied against Colombia on Aug. 9, will not be available to play against Thailand as she is training with the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team in Los Angeles. Pugh will be in Atlanta and available for selection against the Netherlands.
“We are really looking forward to both of these matches,” Ellis said. “These first two games will all be players who were at the Olympics and then in October, we’ll really start to focus on the new cycle. One of the most important things in this first game against Thailand is to celebrate Heather O’Reilly’s wonderful career and honor her with a send-off befitting her tremendous contribution to our program. I am certain the fans and our players and will make sure it’s a very special day.”
The USA has three players that hail from Georgia in 2012 Olympic gold medalist, 2015 Women’s World Cup champion and 2016 Olympian Kelley O’Hara (Fayetteville, Ga.), 2016 Olympic alternate Emily Sonnett (Marietta) and 2015 Women’s World Cup champion and 2016 Olympian Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island).
In Central Ohio, tickets for the game in Columbus are also available at all Ticketmaster ticket centers (including many Kroger stores), as well as the MAPFRE Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). In the Atlanta area, tickets for the match in Georgia are also available at all Ticketmaster ticket centers (including most Walmart locations) as well as the Georgia Dome ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (7): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
- Thailand will be the 50th different country the U.S. WNT has faced in its history. Thailand made its debut on the world’s stage at a senior event in the 2015 Women’s World Cup but also hosted the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup.
- Thailand had a respectable Women’s World Cup in Canada, falling 4-0 to long-time power Norway before picking up its first win in a FIFA competition with a 3-2 victory against Ivory Coast. Thailand then fell 4-0 to then world No. 2 Germany and bowed out of the tournament with distinction.
- The USA has previously played the Netherlands six times, with the first meeting coming in 1991 in the only win for the Dutch, a 4-3 home victory in Vianen. The USA has since won five consecutive meetings including the most recent, a 3-1 win in The Hague in April of 2013. The Netherlands is currently ranked 12th in the world.
- The USA is 16-0-3 in 2016, having scored 58 goals and allowed seven.
- Carli Lloyd comes into the matches with 90 career goals and is 10 away from becoming the sixth player in U.S. history to hit 100.
- The U.S. WNT has a long history at MAPFRE Stadium, formerly Columbus Crew Stadium, having first played there in October of 1999 after the Women’s World Cup. The USA also played a Women’s World Cup match there in 2003, defeating North Korea, 3-0.
- The WNT’s most recent game at MAPFRE Stadium was in October of 2013, a 1-1 draw with New Zealand.
- The USA has played in the city of Atlanta just once before, an 8-0 win against Russia at the Georgia Dome in February of 2014.
- The U.S. Women have played on five other occasions (all victories) in the Atlanta metro area, including three visits to Decatur High School in Decatur between 1993 and 1996, a 1999 trip to Dekalb Memorial Stadium in Clarkston, and a stop in Kennesaw for a match at KSU Soccer Stadium in 2010.
- A natural grass surface will be installed for the match at the Georgia Dome, marking the USA’s second indoor game on grass after playing a match on the grass surface in 1993 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit that would be later used for the 1994 World Cup.
- Beyond metro Atlanta, the WNT has played two other games in the state of Georgia: a semifinal and then the Gold medal match in Athens, Ga., for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. The 2-1 Gold medal victory over China PR was played 20 years ago on Aug. 1, 1996.