USA vs. Australia
July 27, 2017
CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Wash.
Broadcast: ESPN; UDN
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT
Tonight’s Starting XI vs. Australia: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 16-Taylor Smith, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 14-Casey Short; 22-Mallory Pugh, 20-Allie Long, 3-Samantha Mewis, 15-Megan Rapinoe; 9-Lindsey Horan, 23-Christen Press
Subs: 2-Sydney Leroux, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Morgan Brian, 8-Julie Ertz, 10-Carli Lloyd, 11-Ali Krieger, 12-Lynn Williams, 13-Alex Morgan, 17-Margaret Purce, 18-Jane Campbell, 19-Crystal Dunn, 21-Abby Smith
- The most recent meeting between the USA and Australia came at the 2015 Women's World Cup in opening game of the tournament for both teams. Megan Rapinoe scored early before Lisa De Vanna equalized in the 27th minute. Christen Press got the game-winner off an assist from Sydney Leroux in the 61st minute before Rapinoe scored a dagger in the 78th to clinch the match.
- Only three players who played against Australia during the last meeting are part of the USA’s starting XI tonight. It includes both goal scorers from that game, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe, as well as center back Becky Sauerbrunn.
- Captaining the USA today in her 127th cap is Becky Sauerbrunn, who will make her eighth start this year. She is the only player to have played all 630 minutes for the WNT so far in 2017. She notched her sixth career assist on Christen Press's goal against Norway on June 11.
- Alyssa Naeher makes her 16th appearance for the USA and 14th start. It will be her third consecutive start. She has 10 career shutouts, most recently earning a clean sheet on June 11 against Norway in Sandefjord.
- North Carolina Courage defender Taylor Smith earns her first cap and first start for the USA. The Tournament of Nations marks Smith’s second call-up after participating in the 2017 January Camp earlier this year, and her first game roster.
- Abby Dahlkemper earns her fifth cap for the WNT in what will be her second career start. She made her debut for the U.S. on Oct. 19, 2016 against Switzerland in Utah, and her first start against Norway on June 11, playing all 90 minutes to help the U.S. defense claim a shutout in Sandefjord.
- Casey Short makes her 11th start in her 11th cap. She has played 90 minutes in nine of her caps and 45 in one.
- Allie Long scored her first three career goals (all on headers) in 2016. She went on to score two more (also with her head) on April 6 against Russia. She will make her 28th international appearance today.
- Mallory Pugh will earn her fifth start of 2017 today in her 25th cap. She earned her first assist of the year against Russia on April 6, and notched two more on April 9 to up her total to 10 career assists. It was the first multi-assist game of her career.
- Christen Press will make her fifth start and eighth appearance of the year. With 42 international goals in 87 caps, Press has moved past April Heinrichs and Sydney Leroux into 14th place on the all-time WNT goals list. She averages just under a goal every two games she plays for the WNT (0.48 goals per game). Press scored the game-winning goal against Australia the last time these teams met each other in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- Megan Rapinoe came off the bench against Sweden on June 8 and now has 121 caps and 31 goals, good for 18th on the all-time goals list. Her most recent WNT goals came in the 2015 WWC when she scored twice in the opening game against Australia. She will make her fourth appearance of 2017 and first start since Aug. 9, 2016 against Colombia in Manaus during the 2016 Olympics.
- Samantha Mewis makes her 14th career start and will earn her 25th cap. Alongside Sauerbrunn, she is the only other player to be in the starting lineup of every game the WNT has played in 2017. She has played 597 minutes so far in 2017, the most besides Sauerbrunn.
- Against Sweden on June 8, Lindsey Horan saw her first action at forward since early in her WNT career, coming on at halftime for Carli Lloyd. Horan will earn her 36th cap tonight. It will be her sixth appearance and her second start of the year.
- The USA has an all-time record of 25-0-2 against Australia dating back to 1987 and has outscored Australia 95-22, only allowing more than one goal against the Matildas on four occasions.
- Each team is allowed six substitutes in each Tournament of Nations match.
- The USA has a deep bench with seven 2016 Olympians who total 725 caps.
- If Julie Ertz gets on the field tonight, it will be her 50th cap. She would be the 54th American player to earn 50 or more caps.
Last October, Abby Dahlkemper earned her first cap for the U.S. WNT when she came in on the 72nd minute against Switzerland in Sandy, Utah. She was called in again for the November friendlies in California, but unfortunately was forced to leave camp early due to an injury.
After getting herself back to playing form early in 2017, Dahlkemper has been a steady presence in the starting lineup for the North Carolina Courage, helping marshal the defense for a team that has been in first place for most of the season and currently sits in second.
“Whenever I’m called in, I’m humbled and honored that I get to work with the best in the world and learn from them,” she said. “I am never taking a second for granted.”
Her successful club season in 2016 for Western New York Flash (now the Courage) initially sparked the attention of head coach Jill Ellis, and now that the former U.S. Under-17 WNT captain was healthy again, Ellis again called her up, this time for the WNT’s European friendlies in Sweden and Norway in June. Dahlkemper played the entire second half against Sweden, but it was the Norway game that will hold a special place in her heart as it was the first time that she earned a start for the USA.
“It was a bit nerve wracking getting your first start especially playing a good side like Norway in Europe,” she said. “But the team is awesome and Jill put a lot of confidence in me.”
Dahlkemper played all 90 minutes in her fourth cap with the WNT, while putting in a strong performance out of the back, and helping the USA to its second consecutive shutouts on foreign soil.
Now at Tournament of Nations, Dahlkemper has a chance to play against Australia, Brazil and Japan, three more excellent teams that will present tough challenges for young and up-and-coming players like herself.
“The international game is faster, and everyone is stronger and smarter,” she said. “To be able to have played all 90 minutes against Norway and maybe have an opportunity to play against these teams in this tournament is incredible.”Read more
The U.S. Women's National Team trained at CenturyLink Field in Seattle ahead of their Tournament of Nations opener tonight against Australia at the stadium (7 p.m. PT; ESPN).Read more