U.S. Soccer

Jozy Altidore Scores Twice as U.S. MNT Defeats Nigeria 2-1 in Final Match of Send-Off Series

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (June 7, 2014) – Forward Jozy Altidore scored his first two goals of 2014 as the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Nigeria 2-1 in front of a Florida-record crowd of 52,033 at EverBank Field.

With the start, goalkeeper Tim Howard became the 15th U.S. MNT player to reach 100 caps while also picking up the victory to break Kasey Keller’s all-time goalkeeper wins record for the United States.

The U.S. went 3-0-0 during the Send-Off Series and now sets its sights on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The USA will depart for South America on June 8 to begin final preparations for its Group G opener against Ghana on June 16 at Estadio Das Dunas in Natal.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Jozy Altidore (Fabian Johnson), 31st minute: A fantastic series of passes down the right side set up Jozy Altidore to break the deadlock. Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya dribbled down the right wing and spied Fabian Johnson making a darting run into the penalty area. He cut a short pass to the overlapping right back who slide a cross on the ground into the six-yard box where Altidore was unmarked for the tap-in. For Altidore, it is his first goal of 2014. USA 1, NGA 0 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley), 68th minute: Michael Bradley played a beautiful ball from midfield to Jozy Altidore in the left side of the penalty area. Altidore settled, cut inside to evade Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo and then fired the ball past Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama inside the near left post. His second tally of the match was his 23rd  international goal. USA 2, NGA 0 (SEE GOAL)

NGA – Victor Moses (penalty), 86th minute: With the game wide open in waning minute minutes and both teams attacking with fervor, Nigeria’s Victor Moses drew a penalty against U.S. defender Matt Besler and took the subsequent penalty kick. Moses took a slow approach on the kick before placing his right-footed shot into the lower left corner as U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard went the opposite direction. USA 2, NGA 1 (SEE GOAL) (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
NGA – Godfrey Oboabona, 20th minute: The U.S. spent the first 20 minutes trying to get a hold of the game, but did have some good moments on the counter attack, and one potential chance came when Clint Dempsey stole the ball at midfield and fed to DaMarcus Beasley on the left. Beasley crossed into the box, but Nigeria defender Godfrey Oboabona broke up the USA’s opportunity to keep the score level at 0-0.

NGA – Vincent Enyeama, 23rd minute: Quick touches from Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey in the midfield paved the way for Michael Bradley on the right side. After a couple touches, Bradley shot with his right from just outside the box and Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made a diving save to his right, parrying the ball away for a U.S. corner kick.

USA – Tim Howard, 44th minute: Nigeria held the ball in its half for nearly the final five minutes of the first half. The closest chance came off of a corner kick from the left side as Eric Efe Ambrose rose for the header in between Geoff Cameron and Clint Dempsey. His low shot was driven toward Tim Howard’s feet and the U.S. goalkeeper was quick to smother just in front of the end line.

USA – Tim Howard, 83rd minute: Nigeria second-half sub Emmanuel Emenike turned and shot with his right foot just about the penalty area with eyes on the left side of the net. Tim Howard dove to his right for the stop.

Milestone Watch:

  • Correction: Tim Howard broke Kasey Keller’s wins record on Saturday against Nigeria. Howard was incorrectly named the winner of the USA’s 2-1 victory against Turkey on June 1. Though he left at halftime with the lead, second-half goalkeeper Brad Guzan was awarded the win as he was in the net while Clint Dempsey scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.
  • With Saturday’s win, Howard is 54-28-15 all-time, moving just ahead of Keller who finished his brilliant career with a record of 53-27-18. Brad Guzan is now 11-7-3 all-time following the victory against Turkey.
  • Howard is the 15th player and third goalkeeper in U.S. MNT history to reach the 100-cap mark. Howard is now tied for 13th all-time with 100 caps with Tony Meola and Joe-Max Moore.
  • With his 22nd and 23rd goals, Jozy Altidore moves into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time goal scoring list, moving ahead of Bruce Murray who had 21 goals from 1985-93.
  • Clint Dempsey played in his 105th game and is now in 10th place, one appearance behind Eric Wynalda (106 caps from 1990-2000) on the all-time list.
  • Michael Bradley now has 10 assists in his career, tying for 12th all-time with Steve Cherundolo, Chris Henderson, Brian McBride and Earnie Stewart.
  • Bradley earned his 86th cap, moving ahead of Frankie Hejduk and Bruce Murray for 20th all-time. Bradley is also one game behind 19th-place Cherundolo (87 games from 1999-2012).

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT now heads to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The USA opens Group G play against Ghana at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, June 16, at Estadio das Dunas at Natal.
Broadcast information: ESPN, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer); Facebook; Instagram

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is 2-0-0 in the all-time series against Nigeria.
  • The U.S. MNT is now 4-1-1 in 2014.
  • The USA is 17-16-9 all-time in games based in Florida and 4-0-1 in Jacksonville.
  • Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann started a defensive that featured Tim Howard in goal and a back line featuring left back DaMarcus Beasley, right back Fabian Johnson and center backs Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler.
  • Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya played side-by-side in the 4-3-2-1 formation, with Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey in front of them.
  • Striker Jozy Altidore played up top in the formation.
  • The U.S. is now 8-3-2 with Dempsey as the captain.
  • For the only time in the Send-Off Series, Klinsmann made no changes to start the second half. The USA’s first sub came in the 60th minute, when Graham Zusi entered for Bedoya.
  • With a 2-0 lead in place, Klinsmann went back to his bench in the 72nd minute with Mix Diskerud replacing Beckerman.
  • In the 75th minute, Timmy Chandler replaced Beasley at left back and in the 80th minute, Omar Gonzalez entered for Altidore.
  • Chris Wondolowski was brought in for Dempsey in the 87th minute.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Nigeria
Date: June 7, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: EverBank Field; Jacksonville, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 52,033
Weather: 83 degrees, overcast

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        1 1 2
NGA                       0 1 1

USA – Jozy Altidore (Fabian Johnson)    31st minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley)   68
NGA – Victor Moses (penalty kick)        86

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson, 5-Matt Besler, 20-Geoff Cameron, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (21-Timmy Chandler, 75); 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Graham Zusi, 60), 15-Kyle Beckerman (10-Mix Diskerud, 72), 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley; 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (18-Chris Wondolowski, 87), 17-Jozy Altidore (3-Omar Gonzalez, 80)
Subs Not Used: 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 6-John Brooks, 9-Aron Johannsson, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Brad Davis, 16-Julian Green, 22-Nick Rimando
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

NGA: 1-Vincent Enyeama; 2-Joseph Yobo (capt.), 5-Eric Efe Ambrose, 13-Juwon Oshaniwa, 14-Godfrey Oboabona; 10-John Obi Mikel (4-Ruben Gabriel, 46), 15-Ramon Azeez (25-Michael Uchebo, 74), 17- Ogenyi Onazi; 8-Peter Osaze Odemwingie (18-Michael Babatunde, 46), 11-Victor Moses, 23-Shola Ameobi (9-Emmanuel Emenike, 64)
Subs Not Used: 3-Elderson Echiejile, 6-Azubuike Emmanuel Egweukwe, 7-Musa Ahmed, 12-Kunle Odunlami, 16-Austine Ejide, 19-Uche Nwofor, 21-Agbim Chigozie, 22-Kenneth Omeruo
Head Coach: Stephen Keshi

Stats Summary: USA / NGA
Shots: 11 / 7
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 6 / 10
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 0 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Beck (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
4th Official: Andre Mariner (ENG)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore

Read more
MNT Jun 7, 2014

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Nigeria
Date: June 7, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: EverBank Field; Jacksonville, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 52,033
Weather: 83 degrees, overcast

Scoring Summary:  1          2          F
USA                             1          1          2
NGA                            0          1          1

           

USA – Jozy Altidore (Fabian Johnson)           31st minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley)           68
NGA – Victor Moses (penalty kick)                 86

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson, 5-Matt Besler, 20-Geoff Cameron, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (21-Timmy Chandler, 75); 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Graham Zusi, 60), 15-Kyle Beckerman (10-Mix Diskerud, 72), 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley; 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (18-Chris Wondolowski, 87), 17-Jozy  Altidore (3-Omar Gonzalez, 80)
Subs Not Used: 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 6-John Brooks, 9-Aron Johannsson, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Brad Davis, 16-Julian Green, 22-Nick Rimando
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

NGA: 1-Vincent Enyeama; 2-Joseph Yobo (capt.), 5-Eric Efe Ambrose, 13-Juwon Oshaniwa, 14-Godfrey Oboabona; 10-John Obi Mikel (4-Ruben Gabriel, 46), 15-Ramon Azeez (25-Michael Uchebo, 74), 17- Ogenyi Onazi; 8-Peter Osaze Odemwingie (18-Michael Babatunde, 46), 11-Victor Moses, 23-Shola Ameobi (9-Emmanuel Emenike, 64)
Subs Not Used: 3-Elderson Echiejile, 6-Azubuike Emmanuel Egweukwe, 7-Musa Ahmed, 12-Kunle Odunlami, 16-Austine Ejide, 19-Uche Nwofor, 21-Agbim Chigozie, 22-Kenneth Omeruo
Head Coach: Stephen Keshi

Stats Summary: USA / NGA
Shots: 11 / 7
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 6 / 10
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 0 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)      
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Beck (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
4th Official: Andre Mariner (ENG)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore

To My Brothers

To my brothers,

When I left my career two years ago, the position I attained, the money, and essentially the pinnacle and culmination of all I had worked for throughout my adult life, I made that sacrifice because I had a vision of what this team could achieve together. I never thought that I would return to the game after college, much less join such a remarkable group of misfits so many years later.

During my first camp, before we qualified for Rio, coach and I sat down and discussed my goals. ”Rio” was all I could muster. Throughout the last couple years, we laughed together, we fought together, we cried together, we sweat together, we bled together, we lost together, and we won together. We did it together with one common goal: competing in the Paralympics.

I often reflect back on the grit and determination this team has displayed so many times over the years, like the time we clawed our way from behind in the final minutes to earn a 5-3 victory against the Footie Povoa host nation, Portugal, to secure a third-place finish ahead of some of the best countries in the world. I think about the skill and mental toughness in overcoming injuries and absences by winning the bronze medal at the 2014 America’s Cup.

I think back to when we took the pitch in the second half against Scotland at the 2015 World Championships trailing 1-0, and looking in every one of your eyes and seeing there was no quit and no way we were going to lose. We fought and we won. Shortly after, we experienced heartbreak after taking the number-four ranked Dutch squad to double overtime to make it to the semifinals. But we rebounded back in a must-win game with a crushing 4-1 victory against Argentina to stamp our passports to Rio. And of course the 4-3 come-from-behind victory again over Argentina in Spain earlier this year. 


The U.S. PNT celebrates after punching its ticket to the 2016 Paralympic games with a 4-1 win vs. Argentina at the 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships.

What truly showed how far this team has come in such a short time was on full display in Rio by concluding our season with a 2-1 victory over Ireland, the same team we lost to 4-1 and 5-0 just months before! Simply incredible, gentlemen.

These few examples, and many others I did not mention, do not fully capture the spirit, mentality, and potential of this team. We accomplished something that men, women, and children all over the world can only dream of. We reached the greatest stage in our sport and we did so while displaying the qualities of what makes our country, and each and every one of you, so great. We represented our country and ourselves with honor, respect, courage, sacrifice, and strength.

I know we are all saying, “what if…” and “if this…”, but the fact of the matter is that we made waves on the international stage. We showed that we’re a dangerous team, a term that had never been used to describe our team until all of you gave everything of yourselves to earn that. Our time in Brazil is something we will all share forever and no one will ever be able to take that from you. What an incredible legacy.

Throughout this tournament, not only did we now show that we belong with the best in the world, but we set this program up for success in the future. Aspiring players around our country who watched each and every one of you and learned of your tremendously powerful and inspirational stories will come into this team for their trials knowing that they will have to work their asses off to join our ranks. The results will come with the foundation that we have laid.

There are no words to capture the pride and love I have for each of you, my brothers. No matter where our roads take us in the future, I want you to know that if you ever need me, I’ll be there, as I know you would do the same for me. Hold your heads up high, reflect on what we did, on who we are, and let’s get back to the grindstone.

Our coach and staff created a formula for success with this team, and we have not fully honored that yet. Coach [Stuart] Sharp has led by example in his dedication to all of us. He has transformed this program and this team, using each of us as his instruments.

I am motivated to get back to work, to put that crest over my chest, and take the pitch with you all again very soon. We have work to do. I love you all.

Respectfully,

Seth Jahn

 

US National 7-a-side Football Striker / Co-Captain

Read more
PNT Sep 28, 2016

All USA Matches of U-17 Women's World Cup to Air on FOX Sports

CHICAGO (Sept. 28, 2016) – The U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team will televise all the matches at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup across the networks of FOX Sports. The USA begins Group D play this Saturday, Oct. 1, when it faces Paraguay at 11:55 a.m. ET on FOX Soccer Plus with Mark Rogondino and 1999 U.S. Women’s World Cup champion Shannon MacMillan on the call.

The 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan, the first FIFA women’s competition to take place in the Middle East, will see FOX Sports televise all 32 tournament matches on FS1, FS2 and FOX Soccer Plus. All matches are also available for live and on-demand streaming via the FOX Sports GO app and online at FOXSportsGO.com and on-demand at FOXSoccer2Go.com. Fans can enter a free promo code to watch the games on the FOXSoccer2Go.com registration page when prompted.  The promo code is “U17WNT” and can be activated from Sept. 30-Oct. 31.

The USA’s first Group D match against Paraguay will be played at Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Al Zarqa (11:55 a.m. ET; FOX Soccer Plus). The U.S. will then take on Ghana on Oct. 4 at King Abdullah II International Stadium in Amman (8:55 a.m. ET; FS2) and will finish group play on Oct. 8 against Japan at Amman International Stadium (11:55 a.m. ET; FS2).

The 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will feature 16 teams, with the top two finishers in each group advancing to the quarterfinals. Should the U.S. advance to the second round by winning the group, it would meet a second-place team from Group C. If the USA finishes second in the group, it would face the first-place team from Group C.   

Group A features Jordan, Spain, Mexico and New Zealand. Group B features Venezuela, Germany, Cameroon and Canada. Group C features Nigeria, Brazil, England and Korea DPR.

FOX Sports’ broadcasters for the tournament include a rotation of announcers who were part of FOX Sports’ 2015 Women’s World Cup coverage. In addition to MacMillan, former U.S. Women’s National Team players Angela Hucles and Danielle Slaton, who captained the U.S. Women’s U-16 Team from 1996-1997, will provide color commentary.

2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup TV Schedule:

Date

Time (ET)

Match

Network

Friday, Sept. 30 

7:55 AM

Venezuela vs. Germany

FS2

Friday, Sept. 30

9:55 AM

Mexico vs. New Zealand

FS2

Friday, Sept. 30

10:55 AM

Cameroon vs. Canada

FOX Soccer Plus

Friday, Sept. 30

12:55 PM

Jordan vs. Spain

FOX Soccer Plus

Saturday, Oct.1

8:55 AM

Nigeria vs. Brazil

FS1

Saturday, Oct.1

8:55 AM

Ghana vs. Japan

FOX Soccer Plus

Saturday, Oct.1

11:55AM

USA vs. Paraguay

FOX Soccer Plus

Saturday, Oct.1

5:00PM/1:00AM

England vs. Korea

FOX Soccer Plus/FS2

Monday, Oct. 3

8:55 AM

Spain vs. New Zealand

FS2

Monday, Oct. 3

8:55 AM

Venezuela vs. Cameroon

FOX Soccer Plus

Monday, Oct. 3

11:55AM

Germany vs. Canada

FS2

Monday, Oct. 3

11:55AM

Jordan vs. Mexico

FOX Soccer Plus

Tuesday, Oct. 4

8:55 AM

USA vs. Ghana

FS2

Tuesday, Oct. 4

8:55 AM

Nigeria vs. England

FOX Soccer Plus

Tuesday, Oct. 4

11:55AM

Brazil vs. Korea

FS2

Tuesday, Oct. 4

11:55AM

Paraguay vs. Japan

FOX Soccer Plus

Friday, Oct. 7

8:55 AM

Spain vs. Mexico

FS2

Friday, Oct. 7

8:55 AM

New Zealand vs. Jordan

FOX Soccer Plus

Friday, Oct. 7

5:00PM/3:00AM

Germany vs. Cameroon

FS2/FOX Soccer Plus

Friday, Oct. 7

11:55AM

Canada vs. Venezuela

FOX Soccer Plus

Saturday, Oct. 8

8:55 AM

Brazil vs. England

FS1

Saturday, Oct. 8

8:55 AM

Korea vs. Nigeria

FS2

Saturday, Oct. 8

11:55AM

Japan vs. USA

FS2

Saturday, Oct. 8

5:00PM

Paraguay vs. Ghana

FS2

Wednesday, Oct. 12

8:55 AM

Quarterfinal

FS2

Wednesday, Oct. 12

11:55AM

Quarterfinal

FS2

Thursday, Oct. 13

8:55 AM

Quarterfinal

FS2

Thursday, Oct. 13

11:55AM

Quarterfinal

FS2

Monday, Oct. 17

8:55 AM

Semifinal

FS2

Monday, Oct. 17

11:55AM

Semifinal

FS2

Friday, Oct. 21

9:55AM

Third place

FS2

Friday, Oct. 21

12:55PM

Final

FS2

Read more
U-17 WNT Sep 28, 2016

11 Questions With U-17 WNT Forward Ashley Sanchez

ussoccer.com: This has been a long cycle and you are finally at the World Cup. Can you talk about how the team has grown over the past two years?
Ashley Sanchez: “Off the field, we’ve become more professional, whether it be eating better, improving our fitness or taking our preparation more seriously. I feel like at the beginning of the cycle, I was just a kid, and our coaches and staff have really helped us learn how to take care of our bodies and get ready to play. Throughout the cycle, we were all competing against each other for positions, but since the team was named I feel like we’ve grown more as a team. We know our roles and we feel very united.”

ussoccer.com: You bounced back and forth between the U.S. U-17s and the U-20s in the past year. What was that experience like?
AS: “It was kind of hard to adjust to all the different players and their individual styles, but off the field, I feel like I’ve been able to keep in touch with both sets of teammates and continue to create that bond, which is important with whatever team I’m with. It’s been busy for sure, but I’m really excited to have the opportunity to play with both teams. Playing with great players is the best way to get better and the experience with both teams has really helped me develop as a player.”

ussoccer.com: You got to train for a few days with the full U.S. Women’s National Team in April. What did you gain from that experience?
AS: “It was good to see the highest level and to know that I have a lot of work to do to get there. To see those professional players and how they train and their mindset was super valuable. They are world champions for a reason and I just wanted to learn all I could. I have to admit that the speed of play and the physicality was eye-opening, but it was a great experience and hopefully I can go back one day.”


In April, Sanchez spent a few days training with the full U.S. WNT in Orlando

ussoccer.com: The U-17 WNT has a strong bond off the field. Who makes you laugh the most?
AS: “All my teammates are pretty funny, but Civana Kuhlmann and Jaelin Howell always crack me up. We have so many inside jokes that I’m sure people have no idea what we’re talking sometimes, but that’s okay. We’re teenagers so it’s good to be weird sometimes. It helps us get rid of stress from soccer and school off the field, which is important.”

ussoccer.com: The opening game of the World Cup is just a few days away. Are you thinking about that game at all, or are you taking it day-by-day?
AS: “I think it hasn’t really hit me yet that we’re here playing in the World Cup. We spent a few days in Cyprus that were really quiet and relaxing, and we got some good work done, but I know that we are mentally in a good place. I think once we have our pre-game training and see the stadium it’s going to get real really fast.”

ussoccer.com: The U-17 WNT has had some excellent results this year but will be facing some talented teams in group play. What do you expect from the level of play at this tournament?
AS: “It’s hard to know because we’ve never been in this situation before. It’s the first World Cup for all of us, but I know that all the teams will come out and compete as hard as they can. I know that all the teams in our group have really talented players and they want to win as much as we do, which is a lot. We have to be consistent and get the results we need in group play so we can qualify for the knockout rounds and then keep getting better in those games.”

ussoccer.com: You are wearing the number 10 jersey in this tournament. What does that mean to you?
AS: “The number 10 obviously has great history in our sport. It’s supposed to be a play-maker and a goal scorer and Carli Lloyd wears it so well on the full team, but I just want to keep contributing in the best ways I can for the team in whatever role I am asked to play. I love scoring goals, but I also love passing to my teammates and I know we have some really dangerous attacking players on the team so we’re excited to show what we have.”

ussoccer.com: Which player do you like better: Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and Chile, or Hugo Sanchez, the great Mexican player?
AS: “Since you just told me I wasn’t even born when Hugo Sanchez was playing, I’d have to go with Alexis Sanchez. But I do really like watching him play. He’s very creative and scores some fantastic goals. He wears the Sanchez name very well.”


Sanchez has scored a team-leading 18 goals in 18 games for the U-17s 

ussoccer.com: You’ve been sporting a “scrunchie” in your hair during training. Is this a throwback to the 1980s and will you be wearing it during the World Cup?
AS: “I didn’t even know they wore scrunchies in the 1980s. It’s just a stylish look for a stylish gal. And yes, you might see it in the World Cup.”

ussoccer.com: Would you rather score on a bicycle kick or a diving header?
AS: “A bicycle kick, as long as I don’t injure myself, which I’m pretty sure I would if I tried it. But I guess if it scored, it would be worth it.”

ussoccer.com: You’re only 17 years old and you’ve been to eight foreign countries including Jordan. What do those experiences mean to you as a young person?
AS: “I like being able to travel and play soccer. I feel really fortunate to have had these experiences, see new places and see how big this world is. Being in Jordan is really special and different as I’ve never been to this part of the world before. I hope we can all take in as much of the culture and sites as possible while still focusing on soccer.”


Read more
U-17 WNT Sep 27, 2016

For Club and Country: U.S. WNT Players Ready for NWSL Playoffs

When the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs commence on Friday, Sept. 30 (8 p.m. ET on FS1) as the Washington Spirit host the Chicago Red Stars, and on Sunday, Oct. 2 (5 p.m. ET; FS1) when the Portland Thorns welcome the Western New York Flash, 11 U.S. Women’s National Team players will see action with their respective teams as they compete against each other for a chance to claim the coveted NWSL Championship trophy.

The NWSL recently completed its historic fourth season, and amidst tough competition and passionate rivalries, four teams rose above the rest: Portland Thorns FC, Washington Spirit, Chicago Red Stars and Western New York Flash.

The Thorns lead the way with five WNT players, while the Red Stars have three, the Spirit has two and Western New York has one. All 11 players are of course key contributors to their clubs, which only strengthens the already existing bond between a domestic professional league in the USA and the National Team.

We take a look at the WNT players on each playoff team and look back at their NWSL regular season performances:  

Portland Thorns FC

  • Tobin Heath: Heath’s excellent year on the field has certainly drawn acclaim for her play both for club and the National Team. In 14 games played this season for PTFC, Heath set up 10 goals, a new Thorns and NWSL record for most assists in a single year, which has placed her in the running for the 2016 NWSL Most Valuable Player award. A handful of those assists were for her club and country teammates, Allie Long and Lindsey Horan. In addition to her assists record, Heath has scored one goal for Portland, and scored four goals while recording seven assists for the USA. The latter includes this perfect pass to Carli Lloyd in the WNT’s most recent game against the Netherlands on Sept. 18 in Atlanta.

  • Lindsey Horan: Horan, who just completed her first regular season in the NWSL after playing professionally in France for three years, started and appeared in 15 games for the Thorns, scoring five goals. Out of those five, her most important one probably came this past Sunday when her diving header found the back of the net for the game-winning goal in the 3-1 Portland victory against SBFC that clinched the 2016 NWSL Shield. Horan has scored two goals for the USA this year, adding four assists and appearing in all but one game.


Lindsey Horan and Emily Sonnett will both play in their first NWSL post season this year for the Portland Thorns

  • Allie Long: Long has credited the NWSL and the Portland Thorns with tremendous value in helping her grow as a player. After a two-year hiatus from international soccer, Long got called back into the WNT mix in April and quickly earned a starting spot. Long finished the Thorns’ regular season with six goals and two assists in 15 games (playing every minute), with all six goals coming over the final five games of the season. She has 28 career regular-season goals, which ranks in the top three all-time in the NWSL and is in the running for the 2016 NWSL Most Valuable Player award. Additionally, she notched her first international goal for the USA back in April 6, 2016 against Colombia, and now has three goals and two assist in her blossoming National Team career.

  • Meghan Klingenberg: Her savvy and gritty play has made her a staple in the Portland backline where she has started all 14 regular season games in which she appeared. Additionally, she has played 20 games for the USA in 2016, including 18 starts while recording four assists.

  • Emily Sonnett: In her debut NWSL season, the No. 1 overall pick of the NWSL draft quickly established herself as a starter from the get-go, featuring in the starting XI in all 15 games she played in, and logging in all 1350 minutes – tied for fourth-most minutes on the team with Allie Long. She is up for the 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year award.

Washington Spirit

  • Crystal Dunn: After winning the 2015 NWSL MVP award, Dunn came back this year full of confidence and has continued to shine on the field. Despite not lighting up the league in goals like she did last year, she has played a key role in the Spirit’s excellent season while scoring two goals with five assists in 13 games. Dunn has certainly shone brightly for the National Team, scoring 12 goals in 2016, third-most on the team (and including a five-goal game), recording five assists, and appearing in all 21 games for the WNT (only other player to do so is Press).


Crystal Dunn has scored 12 goals for the USA and twice for the Washington Spirit in 2016

  • Ali Krieger: Krieger will captain the Washington Spirit as they go into the playoffs for the third consecutive year and will hope to go one step further this time around, making the championship game and competing for the league title. Krieger is part of a strong Washington backline that allowed just five goals at home all season, the fewest in the league. She started 14 games in the regular season and notched one goal to help the Spirit claim a home playoff game for the first time in franchise history. Krieger has appeared in 16 games for the USA this year. She made her Olympic debut against Colombia on Aug. 9, 2016, becoming the oldest first-time women’s soccer Olympian in U.S. history.

Chicago Red Stars

  • Julie Johnston: She appeared and started in 12 games this season for the Red Stars and played every minute in all of those matches. She marshalled a back line in front of first year Red Star and fellow WNT teammate, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Johnston has scored three goals in 2016 for the WNT – the highest number of any defender on the roster – but has not found the net for the Red Stars this season. She will be looking not only to keep her net clean, but the playoffs would be a prime time to tally her first club goal of 2016. Furthermore, Johnston is up for the 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year award.

  • Christen Press: A dynamic attacker with a tremendous shot with either foot, she has scored six goals for the USA this year and leads Chicago with eight goals (fifth-best in the league) in 14 games. Additionally, Press leads the league on shots on goals (39) and is in second behind WNY’s Lynn Williams in shots taken with 62. She is also in the running for the 2016 NWSL Most Valuable Player award. Press, who is one of only two players to have appeared in every WNT match in 2016, will captain the Red Stars into the post-season. She has 35 goals in 76 caps for the WNT.


Alyssa Naeher is up for the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award after earning a
 league-leading six clean sheets with the Red Stars in 2016

  • Alyssa Naeher: Acquired by Chicago from Boston for the 2016 season, Naeher started in all 13 games she appeared on this year, recording six clean sheets and tied for first place in the league. She is up for the 2016 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award. Naeher has also started three games for the USA this year and has a 3-0-0 record while allowing only one goal.

Western New York Flash

  • Samantha Mewis: In just her second NWSL season, Mewis started all 14 games she played for Western New York this year and scored five goals, third-most on the team. She has played in 10 games for the WNT in 2016 and scored her first international goal this year – a long-range shot from just inside the box against Puerto Rico during Olympic Qualifying.


Read more
WNT Sep 27, 2016
×