FIFA’s #1 ranked U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) conclude their near month-long training and evaluation camp in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau, and will face 24th ranked New Zealand at the famed Eden Park- New Zealand’s National Stadium, in the second of two the friendly matches.
The camp and matches have afforded the U.S. the opportunity to practice, compete and travel throughout New Zealand, this summer’s co-host with Australia for the 2023 Women’s World Cup Tournament.
Prior to the team’s departure, head coach Vlatko Andonovski stated “We’ve been thinking about and planning for the World Cup for a long time, but when the calendar turns to the World Cup year, for sure it brings some renewed focus and energy as the tournament starts in less than 200 days.”
The trip enabled the team and staff to also familiarize themselves with New Zealand’s training facilities, stadiums and accommodation sites.
Andonovski continued, ”To get to bring the team to New Zealand in January and play in our World Cup venues has so many benefits so we are going to make sure we maximize our time together, make this trip as productive as possible and enjoy a unique experience as many of our players have never been to New Zealand before.”
Team USA is off to an admirable start. They are coming off of Tuesday’s compelling, 4-0 victory. The squad was led by Real Soccer Club product, Mallory Swanson, who came out firing in the second half on all cylinders, and scored a brace within 10 minutes of play.
“I think that ultimately I just want to be a positive impact on this team and my job is to score goals and try and set people up to score goals,” Swanson said the self-confident winger. “I think that just going over my performance from the past couple of months and kind of reviewing it this offseason, there were some easy chances in games previous I should have put away.”
Lindsey Horan and Taylor Kornieck both contributed after starting together in the midfield. They, as well as a majority of their teammates, played without their typical domination and compatibility in the first half.
The Football Ferns pressed and attacked before a lively home crowd, and kept the Lady Yanks from gaining their rhythm.
Whatever was preached in the changing room during the break worked. So did a few key substitutes by Andonovski. The Yanks unleashed a torrid of energy and returned to their admired world-class style of play.
Alex Morgan and Lynn Williams complemented Swanson’s two goals and the Lady Yanks went on to win with relative ease.
Late night highlights for the West Coast crowd— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 18, 2023
⚽️ 52' - Swanson (Rodman)
⚽️ 60' - Morgan (Lavelle)
⚽️ 63' - Swanson (Sanchez)
⚽️ 74' - Williams (Rodman) pic.twitter.com/w7BVQSkJ7i
Ahead to the second match, Horan has departure the camp and has returned to Europe to join her professional team.
Safe travels, @LindseyHoran!— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 19, 2023
Per an agreement made before this trip between U.S. Soccer and @OLfeminin, Lindsey Horan has returned to France for the club’s upcoming match against Montpellier and will not be available for the #USWNT’s second match vs. the Football Ferns. pic.twitter.com/BraXuK9Sg1
Also missing from this excursion is fellow Coloradan and 2022 U.S. Women’s Player of the Year- Sophia Smith. She is in the United States nursing a foot injury that occurred late last year during her play with the Portland Thorns of the NWSL.
“We felt like this was the time that we wanted to fix it and not have any problems going forward,” said Andonovski before the team traveled to Auckland. According to Andonovski, she is expected to be completely ready to train, suit up and play against rivals Canada, Japan and Brazil in February’s national SheBelieves Cup. The annual event will be played in Orlando, Nashville and North Dallas, respectfully.
Kickoff for the finale is 4PM New Zealand Time on January 21, or 8PM. MT on January 20th United States Time.
Both HBO Max, Universo and Peacock will broadcast the game.
USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)