Press Goal Lifts USA to 1-0 Away Win vs. Norway

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]

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Additional Notes:

  • 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.

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WNT Jun 11, 2017

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

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Norway Women’s National Team
Date: June 11, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Komplett Arena; Sandefjord, Norway
Kickoff: 7:15 p.m. local / 1:15 p.m. ET
Attendance: 3,866
Weather: 59 degrees; Cloudy

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                             0          1          1
NOR                            0          0          0

USA – Christen Press (Becky Sauerbrunn)               60th minute

USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara (8-Julie Ertz, 83), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 14-Casey Short, 6-Abby Dahlkemper; 16-Rose Lavelle (10-Carli Lloyd, 86), 20-Allie Long, 3-Samantha Mewis, 7-Meghan Klingenberg (9-Lindsey Horan, 46); 19-Crystal Dunn, 23-Christen Press
Subs not used: 2-Sydney Leroux, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 18-Abby Smith
Not available: 22-Mallory Pugh
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

NOR: 1-Ingrid Hjelmseth; 6-Maren Mjelde (capt.), 11-Nora Holstad Berge, 2-Ingrid Wold, 8-Andrine Hegerberg (3-Maria Thorisdottir, 75), 19-Ingvild Isaksen (13-Guro Reiten, 82), 20-Emilie Haavi (17-Kristine Minde, 59), 28-Ingrid Marie Spord (21-Lisa-Marie Karlseng, 75), 9-Elise Thorsnes, 10-Caroline Hansen, 14-Ada Hegerberg
Subs not used: 7-Kristine Bjørdal Leine, 12-Cecilie Fiskerstrand, 16-Tuva Hansen, 22-Anja Sønstevold, 25-Synne Jensen
Head Coach: Martin Sjögren

Stats Summary: USA / NOR
Shots: 11 / 4
Shots on Goal: 1 / 1
Saves:  0 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 6 / 9
Offside: 2 / 1 

Misconduct Summary:
NORAda Hegerberg (caution)                    74th minute 

Referee: Amy Fearn (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Vikki Anne Robertson (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Kathleen Marie Alexander (SCO)
4th Official: Ingvild Aarland (NOR)                                                                                                                                   

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Christen Press

US Soccer

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
US Soccer

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
US Soccer

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
US Soccer

GALLERY: U.S. WNT Puts on Another Gritty Performance in 1-0 Win vs. Norway

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.

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WNT Jun 12, 2017