U.S. Soccer

Lavelle's Second Half Strike Hands USA Cathartic 1-0 Win vs. Sweden in Gothenburg

GOTHENBURG, Sweden (June 8, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened its two-game European tour with a 1-0 shutout against Sweden at Gamla Ullevi Stadium as 22-year-old midfielder Rose Lavelle scored the lone goal of the match in the 56th minute.

The U.S. had several good chances in the first half, including a Carli Lloyd shot from a Meghan Klingenberg cross that she knocked just wide and a semi-breakaway from Crystal Dunn, who fired at the net and forced the Sweden goalkeeper into a kick-save.

Sweden had a dangerous chance in the 44th minute after a give-away in midfield and Caroline Seger got free in the box. Her shot from the left side of the penalty area looked to be going wide before it was blocked by Allie Long. The ball then bounced over sliding U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, but Long was able to recover and sweep the ball off goal line to avoid an own goal and send the teams to the break tied 0-0.

In the second frame, the USA scored in transition as Dunn ran with pace at the Sweden defense and then slipped a pass to Lavelle in the right side of the box. Lavelle cut toward goal and then struck a rolling shot just inside the left post from a wide angle.

Sweden created a couple of chances late in the game, particularly in the 86th minute when Kosovare Asllani’s shot was deflected by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, hit the top of the cross bar and flew out for a corner kick. The U.S. defense, led by Becky Sauerbrunn, put on a strong performance to maintain the shutout and gut out the 1-0 victory.

Up Next: The U.S. will finish its week in Europe when the team travels to Sandefjord to face Norway on June 11 (1p.m. ET; FOX).

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Rose Lavelle (Crystal Dunn), 56th minute: A perfectly timed run from the midfield for Crystal Dunn led to a beautiful through-ball for Rose Lavelle, who was making her way inside the box from the right side. Lavelle received the pass and calmly finished to the far post for her second international tally in her fifth international appearance. USA 1, SWE 0 FINAL [WATCH] 

Key Defensive Plays and Saves:
USA – Allie Long, 44th minute: Allie Long gave away a ball in the back, passing it straight to a Sweden player, but then recovered to block the ensuing shot before finally stopping the ball from rolling over the goal line. 

USA – Alyssa Naeher, 86th minute: Sweden nearly found a game-tying goal via Kosovare Asllani in the 86th minute when her shot from deep inside the box on the left side looked to be going straight for the upper netting, but U.S. ‘keeper Alyssa Naeher came up big and got her hands on the ball to deflect it up, off the crossbar and out of bounds.

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Additional Notes:

  • The USA is now 21-6-11 all-time against Sweden and since 2010 has had a 5-3-5 advantage.
  • The USA is now 3-0-0 while playing Sweden in Sweden, with the two previous wins coming in 2008, a 1-0 win in Skelleftea; and a 3-1 win in Halmstad in the summer of 2012.
  • Today marked the first time that the USA has defeated a Pia Sundhage-coached Sweden team. Before today, the teams had met four times with three games resulting in a draw, and one in a Sweden win.
  • Rose Lavelle scored her second international goal in just her fifth cap. Lavelle played her first game for the senior team on March 4 against England, playing 90 minutes of excellent soccer in a widely-praised debut. She became the first player to earn a first cap in 2017 and the 14th player to earn a first cap from Ellis. Lavelle was the first overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft by the Boston Breakers.
  • Defender Abby Dahlkemper entered the match in the 46th minute to earn her third cap with the U.S. WNT. Her first appearance since a friendly against Switzerland on Oct. 23, 2016.
  • Alyssa Naeher made her 14th appearance for the USA and recorded her ninth career shutout.
  • Kelley O’Hara earned her 96th cap tonight, inching her closer to the century mark.
  • Samantha Mewis makes her 13th career start and earned her 23rd cap. Alongside Sauerbrunn and Lloyd, she is the only player to be in the starting lineup of every game the WNT has played in 2017. 
  • Crystal Dunn earned her fifth start of the year and 51st cap. She assisted on Lavelle’s goal for her 12th career assist and first of 2017.
  • Becky Sauerbrunn is the only player to have played all 540 minutes played so far. She earned her 125th cap tonight, tying Alex Morgan and Lindsey Tarpley for 26th on the all-time caps list.

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden Women’s National Team
Date: June 8, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Gamla Ullevi Stadium; Gothenberg, Sweden
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. local / 1:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 8,xxx
Weather: 60 degrees; Sunny

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

USA – Rose Lavelle (Crystal Dunn)   56th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara (8-Julie Ertz, 84), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 14-Casey Short, 7-Meghan Klingenberg (6-Abby Dahlkemper, 46); 16-Rose Lavelle (15-Megan Rapinoe, 90+2), 20-Allie Long, 3-Sam Mewis, 22-Mallory Pugh; 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) 9-Lindsey Horan, 46), 19-Crystal Dunn (23-Christen Press, 75)
Subs not used: 2-Sydney Leroux, 18-Abby Smith
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

SWE: 12-Hilda Carlén; 15-Jessica Samuelsson, 3-Linda Sembrant, 5-Nilla Fischer (6-Magdalena Eriksson, 75), 2-Joanna Andersson; 9-Kosovare Asllani, 7-Lisa Dahlkvist (11-Stina Blackstenius, 87), 17-Carolina Seger, 22-Olivia Schough 10-Julia Spetsmark, 63); 18-Fridolina Rolfö (20-Mimi Larsson, 46), 8-Lotta Schlein (capt.)  
Subs not used: 1-Hedvig Lindahl, 4-Emma Berglund, 14-Hanna Folkesson, 16-Hanna Glas, 19-Pauline Hammarlund, 21-Emelie Lundberg, 24-Josefin Johansson, 25-Petra Andersson   
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage 

Stats Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 7 / 13
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves:  3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 10
Fouls: 4 / 14
Offside: 4 / 2 

Misconduct Summary:
None 

Officials:
Referee: Olga Zadinova (Czech Republic)
Assistant Referee 1: Jana Zaplatilova (Czech Republic)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriela Hanakova (Czech Republic)
4th official: Lucie Sulcova (Czech Republic)                                                                                                                                   

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Becky Sauerbrunn


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WNT Jun 8, 2017

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden Women’s National Team
Date: June 8, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Gamla Ullevi Stadium; Gothenberg, Sweden
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. local / 1:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 8,xxx
Weather: 60 degrees; Sunny

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

USA – Rose Lavelle (Crystal Dunn)   56th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara (8-Julie Ertz, 84), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 14-Casey Short, 7-Meghan Klingenberg (6-Abby Dahlkemper, 46); 16-Rose Lavelle (15-Megan Rapinoe, 90+2), 20-Allie Long, 3-Sam Mewis, 22-Mallory Pugh; 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) 9-Lindsey Horan, 46), 19-Crystal Dunn (23-Christen Press, 75)
Subs not used: 2-Sydney Leroux, 18-Abby Smith
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

SWE: 12-Hilda Carlén; 15-Jessica Samuelsson, 3-Linda Sembrant, 5-Nilla Fischer (6-Magdalena Eriksson, 75), 2-Joanna Andersson; 9-Kosovare Asllani, 7-Lisa Dahlkvist (11-Stina Blackstenius, 87), 17-Carolina Seger, 22-Olivia Schough 10-Julia Spetsmark, 63); 18-Fridolina Rolfö (20-Mimi Larsson, 46), 8-Lotta Schlein (capt.)  
Subs not used: 1-Hedvig Lindahl, 4-Emma Berglund, 14-Hanna Folkesson, 16-Hanna Glas, 19-Pauline Hammarlund, 21-Emelie Lundberg, 24-Josefin Johansson, 25-Petra Andersson   
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage 

Stats Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 7 / 13
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves:  3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 10
Fouls: 4 / 14
Offside: 4 / 2 

Misconduct Summary:
None 

Officials: 
Referee: Olga Zadinova (Czech Republic) 
Assistant Referee 1: Jana Zaplatilova (Czech Republic)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriela Hanakova (Czech Republic)
4th official: Lucie Sulcova (Czech Republic)                                                                                                                                   

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Becky Sauerbrunn



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WNT Plays Its Own Euros

Since September 2016, the U.S. Women’s National Team has played 10 different opponents -- nine teams from Europe plus Thailand. 

The USA’s list of European opponents since last fall includes the Netherlands, two sets of matches each against Switzerland and Romania, tough tests against England, France and Germany at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup and another double-dip against Russia in April. Most recently of course, there were the two big wins against Sweden in Gothenburg on June 8, and against Norway in Sandefjord on June 11. 

So, besides belonging to the same Confederation, what do eight of these nine European countries have in common? They make up half of the field for the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO tournament taking place this July in the Netherlands. Romania nearly made it into the last 16 as well but fell to Portugal in the playoff for the final spot.


WNT vs. Netherlands, this year's EURO hosts.

The UEFA Women’s EURO is the most prestigious competition for women’s international soccer in Europe and, after the Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games, the biggest and most competitive women’s international tournament in the world.

And facing the best is precisely what U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis committed to do coming out of the recent Olympic cycle.

“I said it last year, we want our schedule to be aggressive,” Ellis told ussoccer.com. “We’re always trying to play top-10 teams and elite teams. It’s a priority and our Federation knows it’s a priority for our team because it’s in those games where we will see growth. The games against European teams are critical.

With the next Women’s World Cup in France, surely the European nations – especially France and Germany – will be favorites to lift the trophy in Lyon. By then, the USA clearly will have cut its teeth on European competition.

Including the games against Sweden and Norway, the U.S. has now played exactly half of the EURO field in less than a year, a rarity for most countries both in terms of the high level of opposition and the short amount of time in which the games have taken place.

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WNT Jun 28, 2017

Press for the Win

On June 11 in Sandefjord, Norway, U.S. WNT forward Christen Press scored the game-winning goal in the 60th minute, but it was her overall performance that earned praise from U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis.

“Her finish [on that goal] was fantastic, but really, in her whole 90-minutes she was involved, she was active and she was energized on both sides of the ball,” Ellis said. “It was one of her best performances I’ve seen.”

Press is known for her ability to hover on the defensive line with well-timed runs and her burst of speed, once the ball is served, can often catch defenders on their heels. Against Norway, defender Becky Sauerbrunn sent a driven diagonal ball from a few steps inside her own half over the defense and to Press, who was running hard into the left side of the penalty area. Press caught up to the ball in the middle of the box and sent a hard, first-time left-footed shot past the left foot of the onrushing goalkeeper.

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WNT Jun 13, 2017

Lessons Learned: Two Wins in Europe Signal Continued Growth

The past week in Scandinavia was a challenging one for the U.S. Women’s National Team, as the players traveled across the world after NWSL games on the weekend, had two trainings, and then played two games in four days against top teams that were also historic rivals.

The USA met all those challenges and earned wins in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Sandefjord, Norway, – both by shutout – against extremely physical opponents in sixth-ranked Sweden and the 11th-ranked Norway.

“To come here still missing players due to injuries, and to grind out two wins, that’s big time,” midfielder Allie Long said. “That kind of experience, to be forced to find ways to get results, is exactly what we came for.”

WNT - Crystal Dunn
The USA and Norway faced each other for the 50th time in the teams' history on June 11.

With the NWSL season in full swing, the U.S. players had not been together since April 9 while both Sweden and Norway are putting the final touches on preparations to kick off the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO in the Netherlands on July 16.

“Overall, this trip has been different for us,” U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis said. “We came right away and hit the ground running, but I think the players responded extremely well and with great professionalism. This kind of environment and competition is instrumental and a great lesson because down the line you have to go overseas to win a World Cup and these types of experiences will pay us back.”

Both matches played out in a similar fashion. The homes side came out on the attack and the WNT struggled to find its footing early on. In each of the matches, the response and adjustments in the second half were enough to produce a game-winning goal.

“We may not have played the way we wanted to or the way we expect to,” defender Kelley O’Hara said. “But at the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do; find a way to get a 1-0 win, keep a clean sheet, and get the job done.”

WNT - Alyssa Naeher
Alyssa Naeher makes a crucial save to lock in the clean sheet and 1-0 win against Sweden

The U.S. defense, led by co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, stood firm against some talented attacking players and made big plays when the USA needed them.

“We knew that physically this trip was going to be a challenge with travel and coming off the NWSL,” Sauerbrunn said. “We needed to go in having a good attitude and mentality. I think we did that in both games. It was a gut check this team needed. Moving forward and playing in big tournaments, it’s going to be like this every game.”


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WNT Jun 13, 2017

‘Grit it Out’ Mentality Shines Through in Test Against Sweden

The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a 1-0 win in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Thursday evening, with the lone goal coming on a beautiful finish from midfielder Rose Lavelle in the 56th minute.

While the final score reflects a positive result for the WNT – beating the world’s sixth-ranked team, a country honing in on the European champions, on the road after long travel and short recovery – how the team achieved it may prove even more valuable for the future.

The game was physical – Sweden committed 14 fouls to the USA’s four – fast and end-to-end. Most importantly, it was the first time this group of players had played a road game against one of the world’s best teams. Sweden outshot the United States 13-7 and earned 10 corner kicks compared to the USA’s two, but the U.S. team played with an excellent mentality, put together enough good soccer to earn more shots on goal than Sweden and scored an goal in transition before locking the game down the rest of the way.

“I’m really proud of our team,” co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn said following the 1-0 win. “We probably defended for 40 minutes in that second half but I think that’s a mentality that we need and that we found tonight. Sometimes, we have to grit it out and find the mentality that will allow us to keep a one-goal lead. We did that and it was tough but we got the result and that’s what matters.”

Coming up against those kinds of challenges is the reason why U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis continues to schedule games against the best teams in the world. As the level of competition gets higher, there are more problems to solve and lessons to learn.

It becomes crucial for the players to find ways to make something happen, keep cool under pressure and avoid any critical mistakes. All while being tested mentally, physically and tactically.

WNT - Rose Lavelle
Lavelle, who was playing in her first game abroad with the WNT, scored the game-winning goal.

The kind of difficult game the U.S. played in Gothenburg is one that some of the younger players on the roster have never experienced and the kind of game necessary to mold a team that can win the big tournaments down the road.

“It was a fast game,” midfielder Samantha Mewis, who played all 90 minutes, said. “Sweden is physical and they pressed us high. It took a lot of effort to pull that one out, but on the road, it’s great to get a result. We have things to work on but I’m glad we got the win. It was definitely a challenge.”

While it was mostly Sweden on the attack for the first 15 minutes, the U.S. settled in and gained control of the tempo as the first half was coming to an end. U.S head coach Jill Ellis then made a couple of modifications to open the second half, and 11 minutes into the period, the U.S. created the winning goal.

“We definitely grew into this game,” Ellis said. “Sweden generates a lot of pressure and they’re a tough team to break down. We grew in terms of our build up and adjusted. It’s not easy to get into their final third. It was a good gut check in terms of a result. The goal was a great ball played through from Crystal Dunn and just the perfect finish from Rose Lavelle. It was a tough angle and she picked it out.”

For Lavelle, the game was the first of her career outside the USA with the senior Women’s National Team, but it’s bound to be one she remembers for a long time.

“I pulled out wide and Crystal [Dunn] popped in that pocket,” Lavelle said when describing her game-winning goal. “She was running out the back line and played an awesome ball in to me. I was debating if I should play it across the face of the goal or if I should shoot it. I decided to be a little selfish and it was a good choice... this time.”

The U.S. WNT will conclude its European trip in Sandefjord when the team faces Norway on Sunday, June 11 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. The nationally broadcast match will be the 50th meeting between the historic rivals.


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WNT Jun 10, 2017
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