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)