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.Read more
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.”
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.”
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.”
Photos of the U.S. Women’s National Team's second consecutive 1-0 shutout win in Europe, this time against historic rival Norway, in front of 3,866 fans at Komplett Arena. Christen Press scored the lone goal in the 60th minute of the 50th match between the countries.Read more
SANDEFJORD, Norway (June 11, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a second consecutive 1-0 shutout win, this time against historic rival Norway, in front of 3,866 fans at Komplett Arena. Christen Press scored the lone goal in the 60th minute of the 50th match between the countries.
In a similar game to the clash with Sweden three days ago in Gothenburg, the USA started slow and weathered a strong Norway team before growing into the game and finding its groove in the second half. The USA had just two shots in the first half, but nine in the second as it dictated play for most of the second frame until Norway made a push for the unfulfilled equalizer at the end.
Norway created several early chances, particularly from proficient striker Ada Hegerberg, but the U.S. defense, led by captain Becky Sauerbrunn, stood tall while U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher put in another extremely tidy performanc to keep the ball out of the net. Norway registered just one shot on goal in the match, and it came late in the game. The USA scored its goal on its only shot on frame.
Similar to the winner against Sweden, the USA created the game-winning goal a few minutes into the second period when Sauerbrunn lofted a long pass from the USA’s defensive third over the Norway defense and to the streaking Press. Press did well to control the skidding ball, carried it into the left side of the box and quickly slotted it home with her left boot just past the foot of the charging goalkeeper.
Up Next: The U.S. WNT will now go into a break from National Team play and return to their NWSL clubs to resume the 2017 season on June 17. The USA will get together again in late July before kicking off the inaugural Tournament of Nations in Seattle on July 27 against Australia. The U.S. then travels to San Diego to face Brazil on July 31 and closes out the competition against Japan on Aug. 3 in Carson, California.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Christen Press (Becky Sauerbrunn), 60th minute: Becky Sauerbrunn lofted a ball from her defensive half over to the top of the Norway defense and into the 18-yard box. Christen Press received the pass, and ran into the left side and finished with a left-footed strike for her 42nd international goal. USA 1, NOR 0 FINAL [WATCH]
- Today’s match was the 50th between the two countries. The USA has now won the last six games, outscoring Norway 10-3. Only Canada and China PR have played the USA more times.
- The USA is 29-19-2 all-time against Norway and has scored 93 goals in the series while the Norwegians have scored 61, by far the most of any country against the USA.
- Christen Press and Becky Sauebrunn combined for today’s game-winning goal. The two were also in the starting lineup the last time the USA faced Norway at the 2015 Algarve Cup.
- Press made her fourth start and seventh appearance of the year. She has 42 international goals in 87 caps.
- Casey Short entered double digits in appearances, making 10th start in her 10th cap. In 2015, Short played club soccer in Norway for Avladsnes IL.
- Samantha Mewis made her 13th career start and earned her 24th cap. Alongside Sauerbrunn, she is the only other player to be in the starting lineup of every game the WNT has played in 2017.
- Sauerbrunn captained the USA today. She made her seventh start, and played all 90 minutes. She remains the only player to have played all 630 minutes of the WNT’s 2017 schedule so far. She earned her 126th cap and her sixth career assist on the goal for Press. Sauerbrunn played pro briefly in Norway eight years ago.
- Alyssa Naeher made her 15th appearance for the USA and 14th start. She entered double digits in shutouts today, earning her 10th career clean sheet.
- Abby Dahlkemper earned her first career start in her fourth cap. She played all 90 minutes for the USA today and made some crucial clearances during the match.
- Mallory Pugh, who was initially scheduled to start the game, hurt her ankle during pre-game warms-ups and had to be replaced in the starting lineup by Meghan Klingenberg.
USA vs. Norway
June 11, 2017
Komplett Arena; Sandefjord, Norway
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
Tonight’s Starting XI vs. Norway: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 14-Casey Short, 6-Abby Dahlkemper; 16-Rose Lavelle, 20-Allie Long, 3-Samantha Mewis, 22-Mallory Pugh; 19-Crystal Dunn, 23-Christen Press
Subs: 2-Sydney Leroux, 7-Meghan Klingenberg, 8-Julie Ertz, 9-Lindsey Horan, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 18-Abby Smith
- Today’s match will be 50th between the two countries. Only Canada and China PR have played the USA more times.
- The USA is 28-19-2 all-time against Norway and has scored 92 goals in the series while the Norwegians have scored 61, by far the most of any country against the USA.
- The USA and Norway are two of only four countries to have won a Women’s World Cup and only two of three nations to have won both a World Cup and an Olympic gold medal.
- Norway is also the country that has had the most success historically against the USA. Norway has defeated the Americans 19 times (with 15 of those games being played between 1987-2000), followed by China PR (9), Sweden (5) and Denmark (5).
- Only two players of the 11 taking the field for the USA today -- Christen Press and Becky Sauerbrunn -- were in the starting lineup the last time the U.S. WNT faced Norway in the opening game of the 2015 Algarve Cup.
- Captaining the USA today is Becky Sauerbrunn, who will make her seventh start this year. She is the only player to have played all 540 minutes so far. She earns her 126th cap today. Sauerbrunn played club soccer in Norway eight years ago.
- Alyssa Naeher makes her 15th appearance for the USA and 13th start. She has nine career shutouts, most recently earning one against Sweden on June 8.
- Rose Lavelle will start for the sixth time today in what is also her sixth 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. She earned her first career assist on April 6 when she crossed the ball that Long headed in off a corner kick, and went on to score her first international goal three days later in Houston, also against Russia. She scored her second international goal four days ago, the game-winner vs. Sweden on June 8 in Gothenburg.
- Mallory Pugh will earn her fifth start of 2017 today in her 24th 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 her first multi-assist game of her career.
- Crystal Dunn earns her sixth start of the year and 52nd cap. She notched her third career multi-goal game and second consecutive brace on April 9 against Russia in Houston. She has 22 international goals and most recently recorded her first assist of 2017 on Rose Lavelle’s game-winning goal vs. Sweden.
- 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 27th international appearance today.
- Christen Press will make her fourth start and seventh appearance of the year. She has 41 international goals in 86 caps.
- Kelley O’Hara will earn her 96th cap tonight, inching her closer to the century mark.
- Casey Short will enter double digits in appearances and make her 10th start in her 10th cap. In 2015, Short played club soccer in Norway for Avladsnes IL in 2015. She and Becky Sauerbrunn are the only two players in the U.S. roster who have played professional club in Norway.
- Samantha Mewis makes her 13th career start and will earn her 24th cap. Alongside Sauerbrunn, she is the only other player to be in the starting lineup of every game the WNT has played in 2017.
- Abby Dahlkemper earns her fourth cap for the WNT in what will be her first career start. She made her debut for the U.S. on Oct. 19, 2016 against Switzerland in Utah.
- Not available today is Lynn Williams. She took a knock to her ankle in training last Tuesday and will not dress for today’s match.