The U.S. Women’s National Team has just three matches remaining before departing for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and two friendly matches against Japan are providing excellent preparation. In the first meeting between the two teams since the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final, the USA and Japan played to a wild 3-3 draw on June 2 in Commerce City, Colo., that saw the USA go down 2-0 after 22 minutes, only to roar back to take a 3-2 lead heading into stoppage time on goals from Alex Morgan, one in each half, and a dramatic 89th minute header from hometown hero Lindsey Horan. The referee added four minutes and Japan equalized in the third minute of stoppage time. Fans can also follow all the action from #USAvJPN on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp, and follow the team along its journey on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (ussoccer_wnt).
The USA out-shot Japan 16-7 in Colorado, but Japan put four shots on goal and scored three of them. The three goals for each team during the 3-3 draw on June 2 equaled the highest-scoring draw in USWNT history. It has occurred only three previous times, most recently vs. Germany in 2013. When down 2-0, it was the first time the USA had trailed by two goals at home in 117 games. The last time came in a 3-1 loss to Denmark in Nov. 2004. The most recent time the USA fell behind 2-0 was Feb. 8, 2015 vs. France, which ended in a 2-0 friendly loss in Lorient in the team's first game of that year.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
DEFENDERS (9): 6-Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), 19-Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), 8-Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 26-Gina Lewandowski (FC Bayern Munich), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), 6-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 14-Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), 20-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), 25-Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), 23-Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), 3-Samantha Mewis (Western NY Flash), 9-Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)
Japan’s Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Erina Yamane (JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies), 12-Ayaka Yamashita (NTV Beleza), 18-Sakiko Ikeda (Urawa Reds Ladies)
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Saori Ariyoshi (NTV Beleza), 3-Tomoko Muramatsu (NTV Beleza), 4-Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), 5-Yuri Kawamura (Vegalta Sendai Ladies), 6-Rumi Utsugi (Montpellier HSC, FRA), 15-Hikari Takagi (Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara), 19-Mayu Sasaki (Vegalta Sendai Ladies)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Emi Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 8-Sonoko Chiba (AS Harima Albion), 10-Mizuho Sakaguchi (NTV Beleza), 13-Rika Masuya (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 14-Yu Nakasato (NTV Beleza), 17-Ami Sugita (Iga Football Club Kunoichi)
FORWARDS (4): 9-Yuki Ogimi (1.FFC Frankfurt, GER), 11-Yuika Sugasawa (JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies), 16-Mana Iwabuchi (FC Bayern Munich, GER), 20-Kumi Yokoyama (AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies)
USA vs. Japan: The USA and Japan have a rich history dating back to 1986, the second year of the U.S. WNT program, but of course it’s the more recent meetings which have forever linked these two countries together in women’s soccer history. These are the first meetings with Japan since the Women’s World Cup and the USA has an all-time record of 25-1-7 against in the series. The USA has outscored Japan 95-25. Despite the lop-sided score line in Canada last summer, of the 11 matches between the teams since 2011, all but two have been decided by two goals or less. The USA’s lone loss in regulation to Japan occurred on March 5, 2012 in Faro, Portugal, during the 2012 Algarve Cup, a 1-0 setback. The 2011 Women’s World Cup Final officially counts as a tie. Read more: USA vs. Japan: A World Class Rivalry.
In Focus, Japan: Following its failure to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, Japan fell from fourth in the world to seventh, and long-time head coach Norio Sasaki, who led Japan to its greatest triumphs, including three straight world finals, stepped aside. Asako Takakura, who is one of the pioneers of Japan women’s soccer, was appointed as the first female coach of Japan’s senior Women’s National Team on April 27. The four-time Asian Women’s Coach of the Year made her national team debut at the age of 16 and was a midfielder in her playing days. She earned 79 caps for Japan while scoring 30 goals. She played in the 1991 and 1995 World Cups, as well as the 1996 Olympics. She will also coach Japan in this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Japan had to play just over 30 minutes on June 2 with 10 women as captain Yuki Ogimi received her second yellow card in the 57th minute for a bad foul from behind on Julie Johnston as she tried to guide a ball out of bounds on the sideline. Before she was sent off Ogimi scored against the USA again after scoring her team’s one goals in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final and the 2012 Olympic gold medal game. Ogimi will serve a suspension and will not play against the USA on June 5 in Cleveland.
So Far, So Good: The USA is 11-0-1 in 2016, earning 10 shutouts while allowing four goals. The USA started the year with a 5-0 win against Ireland and then won two tournaments early in the year – taking the title at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February and the SheBelieves Cup in March. In the SheBelieves Cup, the USA defeated England 1-0 on March 3 with a spectacular late goal from Crystal Dunn, downed France 1-0 in stoppage time on March 6 off a brilliant pass from Mallory Pugh to Alex Morgan, who finished with class in the first minute of stoppage time, and then came from behind to defeat Germany, 2-1, in a match it had to win to take the tournament title. The USA played two friendly matches against Olympic Group G opponent Colombia in April, winning 7-0 and 3-0 with seven different players scoring the 10 goals. After the matches against Japan, the USA will finish its Road to Rio with two Olympic send-off games, a meeting with South Africa for the first time in history on July 9 in Chicago and a soon to be announced match in late July before the team departs for Brazil.
Solo Closes in on 100 Shutouts: U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo comes into the match in Cleveland with 98 career shutouts, and is two away from becoming the first goalkeeper to reach the 100 mark. Solo has nine wins in 2016, eight by shutout, and also has a good chance to surpass her high of 13 shutouts in a calendar year achieved in another Olympic year, 2008. She earned her 89th career shutout against Germany in the semifinal of the WWC. It was the fifth straight World Cup clean sheet for the USA, and Solo’s 10th in World Cup play, tying the record for most by a U.S. goalkeeper and most in World Cup play with Brianna Scurry. Solo has earned shutouts against 28 different countries, including four against Japan. With 195 caps, Solo is the leader for caps by a goalkeeper in world and U.S. history, and is five away from becoming the first goalkeeper in U.S. and world history to hit 200, which she will likely reach in the Olympics. Scurry earned 173 caps in her career (1994-2008). Solo has the most starts by a WNT goalkeeper with 188 and is in 8th place on the WNT’s all-time starts list. She has 148 goalkeeper wins and is the all-time leader in wins for a goalkeeper in U.S. history. Scurry had 133 during her career (1994-2008).
Morgan Keeps Scoring; Pugh, Heath Assisting: Alex Morgan's two goals on June 2 marked her 18th career multi-goal game. She now has 66 career goals, 10 of which have come in 12 games so far in 2016. The only other time Morgan scored double-digit goals for the USA in a calendar year was in 2012, which, coincidently, also happened to be an Olympic year. Morgan is in eighth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list. Next up for Morgan is Cindy Parlow’s 75 career goals. With an assist on Morgan’s second goal, Tobin Heath now has four assists in 2016 and 25 for her career with the WNT. Mallory Pugh's assist on June 2 on Morgan’s first goal was her team-leading sixth of 2016.
Lloyd Sidelined: Carli Lloyd, the reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and U.S. Soccer Player of the Year, will miss the Japan matches as she continues to recover from a MLC strain suffered while playing for the Houston Dash on April 23. Lloyd, who has eight goals this year, tied for second the team with Crystal Dunn and behind Alex Morgan’s 10 scores. She has scored six career goals against Japan, three in Olympic competition along with her famous hat trick in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final. She is expected to be fit and healthy well in advance of the USA’s July Olympic send-off matches.
At First Energy Stadium: This will be the USA’s third visit to Cleveland and the first in over six years, with the previous two matches at FirstEnergy Stadium (formerly Cleveland Browns Stadium) coming in June 2007, a 2-0 win against China PR, and May 2010, a 4-0 victory over Germany.
- WNT and Japan Play to a Thrilling 3-3 Draw in Front of Sold Out Crowd in Colorado
- WNT To Face South Africa in First of Two Send-Off Matches on July 9 in Chicago
- Gallery: USA Draws 3-3 with Japan
- Countdown to Brazil Well Underway for WNT
- Christie Rampone Ruled Out of WNT Camp
- Video: 2016 USWNT Photo Shoot Behind-the-Scenes
- Gallery: The WNT Black and White Collection
- Gallery: The WNT Sunset Series
- Tobin: Queen of the Nutmeg
- Inspired and Inspiring: Hope Solo at the One Young World Summit
- A Special Night for Carli Lloyd and Jill Ellis: The 2015 Ballon D’Or in Zurich