Three rising U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) stars — Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh, and Sophia Smith — along with their teammates, will commence a two-day send-off on Thursday night in greater Kansas City as world soccer great and US Soccer legend, Carli Lloyd closes her book as an international footballer.
The Lady Yanks will face FIFA’s 18th-ranked South Korea women’s side twice in friendlies: first this evening at Children’s Mercy Park Stadium in Kansas, and again on October 26th in Saint Paul, Minnesota at Allianz Field. The USA is unbeaten in 13 all-time meetings against the Republic of Korea, owning a 10-0-3 record in the overall series, dating back to 1997.
The USWNT will be defending their 22-game home-turf winning streak, many of which have come on the shoulders of the 39-year old Lloyd. She is the only player to have played in every game in 2021 and her performance in September was close to remarkable. Against Paraguay, the veteran unleashed five goals and moved ahead of former German great, Birgit Prinz, in the world scoring hierarchy. Ten days later she scored again against Paraguay. To date, she leads Vlatko Andonovski’s team with 11 goals and 6 assists.
Lloyd is currently the second-most capped player in world soccer history with 314 games played and has scored 134 international goals, third in USWNT history, and fourth all-time in world history. She is the most experienced player on the roster and now has the second-most ever caps in USWNT history as she has moved past Christie Pearce (nee Rampone) who concluded her career at 311 caps. Lloyd made her US National Team debut in 2005 and scored her first international goal in 2006. She went on to be named U.S. soccer’s female player of the year in 2008 and 2015. The aggressive forward helped Team USA win two FIFA World Cup championships, and she also owns two gold and one bronze Olympic medals.
Last week in her hometown of Delran, New Jersey, Burlington County Commissioners approved a resolution proclaiming October 14, 2021 as “Carli Lloyd Day.” A major affair ensued as thousands of Lloyds fans came out to recognize the icon.
Her send-off is expected to be an emotional experience for the often-stoic player. During an interview with CBS Sports in September, Lloyd stated, “There’s been so many incredible signs at games and the fans getting to enjoy it as well. So, just trying to savor these last couple of months and enjoy every bit of it, I think that I do become emotional, and more emotional every time I step out into the field, because I know I’m getting closer and closer to that end. So I can imagine playing with the national teams, the next games, I’m going to be pretty emotional, so we’ll see what happens.”
Andonovski has called in 22 players for the friendlies, including four players who were not on the U.S bronze medal-winning Summer Olympic team. Real Colorado Soccer alumni Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh are among the four. Both expected to join Horan and Lloyd on the pitch.
Horan has scored fours times and dished out five assists this year, while Smith has scored once and delivered one assist and Pugh has chipped in three assists. All three Coloradoans and their National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) teams are in the running to make the 2021 NWSL playoffs, set to kick off on November 6th.
USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 6), Adrianna Franch (Kansas City NWSL; 9)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash; 76/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 41/1), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville; 4/0), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 36/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 147/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 195/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 60/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 104/23), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 64/16), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 10/3), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 30/4), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 19/2)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Arsenal, ENG; 179/36), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 314/134), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 188/114), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 65/18), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 185/61), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 8/1), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 42/13)
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Thursday, October 21 at 6:08 p.m. MT
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park — Kansas City, Kansas
TV Information: ESPN2 and TUDN
Follow along on Twitter @USWNT, @AODenver, @AOSprings