For the first time in history, a U.S. National Soccer Team will play a match in Austin, Texas. Concurrent, history will be made at Q2 Stadium, one of the newest MLS venues, as tonight’s match between the United States Women’s Soccer Team (USWNT) and Nigeria will be the first game played in the 20,000+ seat stadium. The game is expected to be a sell-out.
Three days later, Major League Soccer’s Austin FC will christen the state-of-the-art facility when they host the San Jose Earthquakes.
The USWNT game will be their third friendly between an African national team and the first time the women’s team have ever faced the Super Falcons outside of a competitive world championship tournament. The U.S. has faced Nigeria four times in World Cup play and once in the Olympics. Their most recent match was in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Abby Wambach scored the lone goal of the match and sealed a 1-0 win for Team USA.
The USWNT is coming off of two consecutive wins in this tournament, defeating Jamaica 4-0 and Portugal 1-0 in Houston last week. Nigeria has 0 wins, a draw, and a loss.
Prior to this series, Nigeria last played in Turkey in February and won 1-0 over Uzbekistan and 9-0 over Equatorial Guinea.
Nigeria is coached by Randy Waldrum, the current women’s head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. Previously, he was the head coach for the NWSL’s Houston Dash and the Trinidad & Tobago Women’s National Team.
Nigeria is by far the most successful Women’s National Team in Africa, having won the continental title 11 times and appeared in every Women’s World Cup ever contested as well as three Olympic Games.
The game has serious significance as it will be the final opportunity for head coach Vlatko Andonovski to evaluate his 23 players. By the end of the week, he is expected to announce the 18-player Olympic roster (plus four alternates) that will travel with the team to Japan.
Lindsey Horan is expected to make the full roster. She has been a workhorse in the midfield ever since the team started preparing for the Olympics in October at Denver’s Dick’s Sporting Good Park. Fellow Coloradan Sophia Smith has also participated in the sequential camps that have held been in the United States and abroad. As the youngest player in this camp, the forward has made a name for herself with her natural attacking style and swift speed of play. She has a knack to be in open spaces to receive passes and is an excellent distributor of the ball as well; however, she is facing stiff competition in the forward’s group as Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, and Megan Rapinoe are ahead of Smith in the depth chart.
Once the Olympic roster is published, the team will make plans to ready themselves to play FIFA 28th-ranked Mexico. Hartford, Connecticut, will play host to the two border rivals with friendlies scheduled to be played July 1 and 5. It will the team’s final games stateside before competitive Olympics play commences in late July.
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: June 16, 2021 at 7:08 p.m. MT
Venue: Q2 Stadium — Austin, Texas
TV Information: ESPN2
USWNT Full Summer Series Roster by Position, Club; Caps/Goals
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (OL Reign, 2/0), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 66/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 29/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 111/24), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 136/2), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 6/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 184/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 51/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 94/20), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 53/14), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA; 3/1), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 22/4), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 72/21), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 16/0)
FORWARDS (6): Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 301/124), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 175/109), Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG; 144/60), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 175/59), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 5/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 34/10)