The United States National Women’s Soccer Team has set off on a victorious season. The team is the hopeful winner at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games after winning the She Believes Cup in February.
This will be the team’s first Olympic Games under head coach Vlatko Andonovski. He became the team’s head coach in 2019 after Jill Ellis retired. The team has not lost a game since January 16, 2019, against France and in 2017 against Australia. This season, the National Team has won 17 of their 18 games. They reached a 1-1 draw against Sweden on April 10.
The National Team is the current World Cup champion. They won the championship in France against long-time rival, the Netherlands. The National Team also won all five of their Olympic qualifier games last year. They are automatic qualifiers for the Olympics because of their successful performances at past summer games.
On April 13, the number-one ranked USWNT beat France 2-0 in an international friendly match. This was a part of a two-match series in Europe before the Tournament of Nations in June.
France is currently ranked third in the FIFA world rankings. In typical National Team style, the United States scored their first goal within the opening minutes of the match.
Rapinoe earned the goal off a penalty kick after Alex Morgan was fouled in the box. Rapinoe is the team’s usual penalty kicker and has earned goals off of multiple penalty kicks during her career.
Morgan then capitalized the win with her own goal in the nineteenth minute of action. She had a beautiful assist from Christian Press from the right side of the box. The two played off each other the whole match. This goal marks Morgan’s seventh against France during her career and the most by an American against Les Bleues.
Les Bleues were aggressive the whole match. This kept the United States on their toes, but they ultimately won with a typically strong defensive effort. Alyssa Naeher saw action in the goal for the United States and had an impressive match. The United States used the lack of defense formation of Les Bleues to their advantage to earn 16 shots.
This win earned the National Team a new record of 19-3-3 against France for their all-time matches. All the starters for the United States played against France during the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIFA World Cup except Tobin Heath. Press replaced Heath in this lineup. Heath has been out with a knee injury since January.
The current squad roster for the United States has a good mix of veteran players and fresh faces hot out the NCAA. Some players have recently been called up to join the roster, and a number have gone back to their club teams.
Mid-Fielder Kristie Mewis was called up this season after a few years away from the team. She joins her younger sister Sam Mewis. They both scored during their match against Colombia on January 18.
Sophia Smith has also earned her first four caps after joining the team in January 2020. She had just finished her second season with the Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal have produced top talents such as Press, Kelley O’Hara, Jane Campbell and Alana Cook, who are also a part of the current squad.
It was announced in January that longtime defender Becky Sauerbrunn was named the team’s captain. Sauerbrunn was previously the captain of the team from 2016 to 2018. She has been on the National Team as the central backline defender since 2008 and has earned 184 career caps. Alongside Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, she is one of the team’s most veteran players.
The United States has six games until the Tokyo Games. The National Team has been working extremely hard to earn their fifth gold medal after winning in London in 2012. Coach Andonovski has changed the way this team works towards its goals.
The goal is to take one game at a time and work on improving any errors before their next match. While Andonovski has only coached 18 games for the United States, he has played 10 against FIFA’s highest ranked teams.