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Colorado’s Pugh, Smith and Howell resume play for USWNT in SheBelieves Cup Tourney

Host FIFA No. 22 ranked New Zealand in Carson, CA Sunday

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2022 SheBelieves Cup - Czech Republic v United States Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team [USWNT] returns to Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA., Sunday for their second match of the 2022 SheBelieves Cup. They will face New Zealand, aka the Football Ferns, at 1 PM M.T.

The match will be televised on both ABC and PRENDETV.

Currently, Iceland is in first place. They knockoff New Zealand 1-0 in their tournament opener.

The Lady Yanks are coming off of slugfest verse the Czech Republic, which concluded in a nil-nil draw. The tie extends Team USA’s unbeaten home streak to 63 matches.

Despite the outcome for the #1 FIFA-ranked team, head coach Vlatko Andonovski felt his team showed promise to win the tournament still and are feeling upbeat ahead of Sunday’s match.

“Actually, the enthusiasm and the energy may be even a little bit higher. Obviously, we didn’t get the result that we wanted to get, but there were so many good things that came out of the game, positive things,” Andovoski said your yesterday’s meeting with the media. “That actually makes us all feel excited about the future. We’re looking forward to the next one.”

The U.S. is led by three local Denver standouts, forwards Mallory Pugh and Sophia Smith, and midfielder Jaelin Howell. All three are products of the Real Colorado Soccer Club. Howell was a late addition to the roster when it was learned that midfielder Lindsey Horan sustained an injury while playing in France recently.

Smith reflected on her performance against the Czech and offer up her insight into today’s match.

Pugh and Smith saw 60 minutes of playing time team. Howell was an unused substitute. All three are expected to see minutes verse New Zealand.

The USA swifty and pressed for the first 45 minutes. Several dangerous opportunities came and went in the first half. The best included a third-minute cross from Mallory Pugh that caught Czech Republic goalkeeper Barbora Votíková off guard. The keeper rebounded and was able to push the ball off the crossbar, then clear it successfully. The Americans outshot tge Czechs the 10-1 in the first 45 minutes of match play.

It was much the same in the second half. The Yanks pressured. However, their opponents held off their attacks, and the game finished in an unrewarding draw for the home team before a patriotic group of 7000-plus fans. The result was the first non-win ever for the USWNT in Carson. The team had gone 16-0-1 since the first game played there in 2003. a few months after the stadium opened.

In nearly two years, the Americans have not allowed a goal on home soil. The last was conceding at home on March 11, 2020, in a 3-1 win over Japan in the final match of the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. Since then, they’ve kept a program-record 15 straight home clean sheets, the longest such streak in program history.

New Zealand has faced the U.S. 18 times. The Stars and Stripes lead the 16-1-1.

Most recently the two squared off in the group stage at the 2020 [2021] Olympics in Japan. USA triumphed 6-1 which included a goal from Lindsey Horan.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 0), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 3), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 78)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (O.L. Reign; 5/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 46/1), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville F.C.; 9/0), Sofia Huerta (O.L. Reign; 9/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 149/2), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 64/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns F.C.; 200/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars; 88/8), Jaelin Howell (Racing Louisville F.C.; 2/0), Rose Lavelle (O.L. Reign; 69/18), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA; 13/3), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 34/4), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 3/0), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 23/2)

FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 4/2), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 68/18), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 10/2), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 1/0), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 11/1), Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current; 45/14)