Following a pair of friendlies against Thailand and the Netherlands in September, the U.S. WNT returned to action in style on Oct. 19 with a 4-0 win against Switzerland in front of 14,336 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The USA will now play the second of its two-game series against the European foe on Sunday, Oct. 23 in front of more than 20,000 fans in Minneapolis, Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium. U.S. head coach Jill Ellis initially brought in a 24-player roster to training camp that featured 11 uncapped players, though five have now earned their first cap. The roster is now down to 23 players as goalkeeper Jane Campbell has returned to Palo Alto, Calif. to play in Stanford's match this weekend. Ellis will choose 18 players out of the 23 currently in camp to dress for the match.
Here are five things to know about Sunday's opponent:
USA vs. Switzerland, A Short History
Before Wednesday's game in Utah that saw Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams score for the USA, the two teams had only played each other twice at the senior level. In 2015 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, the USA won 3-0 on goals from Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach and Amy Rodriguez. The first game between the two nations took place on Aug. 20, 2014, with the USA winning 4-1, in front of a sellout crowd in Cary, N.C. at WakeMed Soccer Park. Two of the USA’s goals were off penalty kicks, by Lloyd and Wambach, and Switzerland’s goal was a PK as well, converted by Ana Maria Crnogorcevic. The game in Minneapolis will mark the fourth meeting between the countries.
UEFA Women’s European Championship
Switzerland qualified for the 2017 UEFA Women’s European Championship in the Netherlands taking full points by winning all eight games in Group 6 against Italy, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland and Georgia by a combined 34-3 margin. Switzerland’s closest match was a 2-1 victory over Italy in the leg played in Switzerland. The Swiss beat Italy 3-0 in Italy. Ana-Maria Crnogorčević led the team in qualifying with seven goals and seven assists, but Fabienne Humm scored six times. Ramona Bachman (who is not on the roster for the U.S. matches) had four goals, while Lara Dickenmann and Martina Moser each had three goals.
Almost half of Switzerland’s roster (nine players) play club soccer for top clubs in Germany. Midfielder Martina Moser, who plays in Germany for Hoffenheim, and captain Caroline Abbe, who plays for Bayern Munich, are the most capped players on the roster with 120 games each. Moser has 20 international goals while Abbe has scored nine. Additionally, Switzerland’s coach is former Germany international Martina Voss-Tecklenburg who played more than 100 matches for her country and played in the 1991, 1995 and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cups as well as the 1996 Olympics.
Currently ranked 15th in the world, Switzerland made its first Women’s World Cup appearance in 2015 in Canada and made it out of Group C after a solid tournament in which they scored 11 goals. In Group C play, Switzerland lost to eventual runners-up Japan 1-0, took down Ecuador 10-1 and lost to Cameroon, 2-1. The Swiss advanced as one of the best third place teams and faced tournament-host Canada in Vancouver, where it fell by a tight score of 1-0 to bow out of its first world championship.
Lara Dickenmann played college soccer at Ohio State where she was the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year in 2004. She is one of Switzerland’s top players and regarded as one of the top players in the world. She also played for the New Jersey Wildcats and Jersey Sky Blue in the states during her time in college. Dickenmann has played 114 times for Switzerland and scored 44 goals, the most on this roster.
Switzerland Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Gaëlle Thalmann (AGSM Verona, ITA), 12-Stenia Michel (FC Basel 1893), 21-Seraina Friedli (FC Zürich Frauen)
DEFENDERS (4): 5-Noelle Maritz (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), 6-Selina Kuster (FC Zürich Frauen), 14-Rahel Kiwic (MSV Duisburg, GER), 15-Caroline Abbé (FC Bayern München, GER)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 3-Melanie Müller (BSC Young Boys), 4-Bangerter (FC Basel 1893), 7-Martina Moser (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, GER), 8-Cinzia Zehnder (SC Freiburg, GER), 18-Viola Calligaris (BSC Young Boys), 20-Sandrine Mauron (FC Zürich Frauen), 22-Vanessa Bernauer (VfL Wolfsburg, GER)
FORWARDS (5): 2-Patricia Willi (FC Zürich Frauen), 11-Lara Dickenmann (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), 16-Fabienne Humm (FC Zürich Frauen), 19-Eseosa Aigbogun (1.FFC Turbine Potsdam, GER), 23-Barla Deplazes (FC Zürich Frauen)
Photos from the U.S. WNT's 4-0 rout of Switzerland during an international friendly at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Both new and familiar faces shined especially bright in the second half, with five players debuting for the WNT and Lynn Williams scoring her first international career goal just 49 seconds into her first cap. Veterans Tobin Heath, Christen Press, and Samantha Mewis all added to the scoreline while Alyssa Naeher collected her sixth shut out.Read more
SANDY, Utah (Oct. 19, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team put on a second-half show highlighted by debutante Lynn Williams game-winning goal just 49 seconds into her first international appearance to defeat Switzerland 4-0 in front of a boisterous crowd of 14,336 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
U.S. head coach Jill Ellis brought a slew of new faces into camp for these two games against Switzerland and handed international debuts to five players in the match including starts to U.S. Youth National Team veteran Andi Sullivan and Chicago Red Stars defender Casey Short. In addition to Williams, second half subs who earned their first cap included BYU senior Ashley Hatch and defender Abby Dahlkemper.
On the score sheet, the USA’s veterans showed their mettle as Tobin Heath, Christen Press and Samantha Mewis all found the back of the net while Kelley O’Hara and Crystal Dunn added assists.
The new look for the WNT was reflected not just in the new players who were given a chance to shine, but also in a 3-5-2 formation that saw Allie Long, traditionally a center midfielder for the USA play in the center of defense for the first time in her international career. Flanked by Becky Sauerbrunn and Emily Sonnet, the three-player back line did well on both sides of the ball to help earn goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher her sixth career clean sheet.
The U.S. WNT will face Switzerland in the second of its two October friendlies on Sunday, Oct. 23, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota (TICKETS). The match will air live on FS1 with a full 45-minute pregame show beginning at 12 p.m. CT.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Lynn Williams, 46th minute: A pair of poor back passes allowed the speedy Williams to run onto a loose ball and rush into the Switzerland box where she calmly drew out the goalkeeper out before slotting a low shot from the middle of the box into the lower left corner, providing the game-winner just 49 seconds into her first international match. USA 1, SUI 0 GOAL
USA – Tobin Heath (Crystal Dunn), 61st minute: The U.S. won a throw-in just inside the Switzerland half that Becky Sauerbrunn sent far up the right sideline. After jockeying for possession, the ball fell into the path of Dunn who cut in toward goal and unleashed a shot that was blocked by a defender but came right back to her. At the top center of the box, Dunn dug out the loose ball and found Heath with a slipped pass inside the penalty area. Heath expertly held her run to stay onside and then rolled her one-touch shot into lower right corner. USA 2, SUI 0
USA – Christen Press (Kelley O’Hara), 69th minute: Williams displayed great hustle to run down a long ball into the right corner before giving herself some space with a nifty dribble and slipping a slick through ball between a couple Switzerland defenders to Kelley O’Hara. The substitute, who had picked herself off the ground after a hard challenge the sent the ball to Williams, drove along the end line before picking her head up to find an unmarked Press alone in the center of the box and she powered the ball into the open net from close range to push her career total to 36 goals for the WNT. USA 3, SUI 0
USA – Samantha Mewis (Christen Press), 76th minute: Another crisp passing sequence from the USA sprung Press down Switzerland’s right flank and she was able to cut the ball back to evade a closing defender. Press then chipped a low cross toward the penalty spot where an onrushing Mewis snapped a header into the lower left corner of the goal with her first touch of the game to provide the final margin. USA 4, SUI 0 FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
SUI – Gaëlle Thalmann, 10th minute: Horan forced a full-stretch, diving save to Thalmann’s right after Dunn and Heath did well to earn the U.S. a turnover high up the pitch near the left wing. Horan picked up the loose ball, beat a player and then sent a curling shot on target from near the top of the box.
USA – Alyssa Naeher, 30th minute: A turnover led to Eseosa Aigbogun picking up the loose ball just outside the U.S. box and she struck a shot on goal that Naeher did well to push over the top of the crossbar.
- The win improves the USA’s record to 19-0-3 in 2016 and 3-0-0 all-time vs. Switzerland.
- U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher notched her fourth start in goal in 2016 and fifth appearance this year. She has nine career caps and six shutouts.
- The USA started in a 3-5-2 formation with Emily Sonnett, Allie Long and Becky Sauerbrunn in the back; Andi Sullivan, Morgan Brian and Lindsay Horan in the middle of midfield; Tobin Heath and Casey Short on the wings; and Carli Lloyd and Crystal Dunn up top.
- Stanford junior Andi Sullivan and Chicago Red Stars’ Casey Short both earned their first cap and first start with the WNT tonight. Lynn Williams, Abby Dahlkemper and Ashley Hatch – who all came off the bench in the second half – also earned their first caps tonight.
- Williams added her name to the U.S. WNT history books with a goal (the game-winner) in her first game for the WNT and became the 20th U.S. WNT player to score in her first cap.
- Hatch enjoyed a supportive atmosphere as friends and family, as well as fans from around the area, came out to support the BYU senior, who is tied for most goals scored in NCAA Division I so far this season with 15.
- Allie Long made her 11th start of 2016 and 13th appearance of the year. Since re-joining the WNT in April, Long has more than quadrupled her career caps. Long came into this year with only four WNT appearances under her belt but with today’s start, earned her 17th cap. She has three goals and two assists this year as well. For the first time in her career with the WNT, Long played as a center back in the center of a three-player back line with Sonnett and Sauerbrunn.
- Tobin Heath made her 17th start of the year, scoring her fifth goal to go along with seven assists. She also recently scored against Thailand on Sept. 15 and assisted Lloyd on Sept. 18 against the Netherlands.
- Kelley O’Hara’s assist was the 10th of her career, putting her into double-figures.
- Sullivan and Hatch are the first active college players to earn a cap for the U.S. WNT since Emily Sonnett started vs. Brazil on Oct. 25, 2015, in Orlando during her senior year at UVA.
- Mallory Pugh, who has 17 caps this year, has earned them all before enrolling in college.