With a goal apiece from Rose Lavelle and Kristie Mewis, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) defeated the Netherlands 2-0 to win their first match since March.
Before the start of the match, (most of) the players kneeled on the pitch and issued a statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter:
The win today gives the USA a 2020 record of 9-0-0, and extended their unbeaten record to 32 consecutive games.
The team came to the game after sweeping all five games last January during the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. They then went on to win all three games at the 2020 She Believes Cup. Soon thereafter, the COVID-19 virus struck the globe, and the world of international football came to an abrupt halt. This game marked the first time in 261 days that the Yanks has played a competitive match.
Watch the highlights here.
Coloradoans Make the U.S. Soccer History Book
From kindergarten nap time to playing together with the national teams, more on their journey throughout the years ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/of2HgLuajD— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) October 27, 2020
In the 75th minute of the match, history was made when 20-year-old Fort Collins Fossil Ridge High graduate Sophia Smith entered the match. She became the first player born in the 2000s to earn a cap with the senior USWNT.
Her former schoolmate and Real Colorado Soccer Club teammate, 21-year-old Jaelin Howell, followed Smith to earn her first senior team cap when she entered the match in the 89th minute.
Smith and Howell participated in the team’s fall camp that was held at Dick’s Sporting Park in Commerce City last month. Smith arrived from her NWSL season with the Portland Thorns, while Howell, a junior at Florida State University, arrived from Gainesville.
The dynamic duo became the first women players born after the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup to appear for Team USA.
During his post-match press conference, Andonovski said, ”I think that they maximized everything they could and did everything they could have done in 2020 as a league and the teams themselves. I think they did the incredible job helping the players stay in form as much as possible.”
What is next for the Lady Yanks?
Earlier this week, USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said, ”I have expressed that my goal is to play the 10 best teams in the world and test this team against some of the best.”
With FIFA’s 4th-ranked Netherlands out of the way, who is next?
Given the current coast-to-coast surge in Covid-19 cases, the U.S. may have difficulties finding opponents willing to travel to the States and play in friendly matches. This past June, England passed on their invitation to participate in the 2021 SheBelieves Cup that is scheduled for February 8-25.
In a statement, the FA said, “Our withdrawal from the competition in 2021 is based on existing uncertainties around the future trend of the COVID-19 pandemic, together with a detailed review of our technical priorities for England Women.”
As of now, the USWNT 2021 calendar includes the following events:
- January camp: January 9-29
- SheBelieves Cup: February 8-25
- April Camp: April 5 - 13
- June Camp: June 6 - 16
- Japan Summer Olympic Preparation Camp: June 30 - July 4
- Summer Olympics: July 23 - August 8
Time will tell if some or all of the planned events play out during this unpredictable global pandemic.