In the first matches after the 2017 SheBelieves Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team will jump back into action with a pair of friendlies against Russia on April 6 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas (7 p.m. CT; FS1) and on April 9 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas (1 p.m. CT; ESPN).
The USA is coming off a win against Germany and two straight losses at the SheBelieves Cup in March and is itching to get back on the field in what will be the final WNT matches before the fifth NWSL season kicks off on April 15. Russia is in a key period in its women’s soccer history as it is preparing for the upcoming UEFA Women’s Euro this summer.
Russia was drawn into a tough Group B with Germany, Italy and Sweden. Russia qualified for the tournament by finishing second behind Germany in Group 5 of the qualifying process.
U.S. head coach Jill Ellis named 24 players to a training camp roster, but then lost three players as midfielders Morgan Brian, Lindsey Horan and Tobin Heath had to bow out due to injuries. From the U-23 WNT training camp that was going on in Portland, Ellis called up 17-year-old midfielder Jaelin Howell and 16-year-old forward Sophia Smith, both members of the USA’s 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Team to make up a 23-player training camp roster. She will name 18 players to suit up for each of the two games.
The USA has faced Russia on eight different occasions – all friendlies – since their first meeting back on July 14, 1993, a 2-0 U.S. win in Hamilton, Canada. The WNT has never lost to Russia, compiling a 7-0-1 record with the only draw coming on Aug. 15, 2000, in College Park, Maryland.
Most recently the U.S. played a set of friendlies against Russia in February of 2014, earning a 7-0 shutout on Feb. 8 in Boca Raton, Fla., followed by another dominant 8-0 win on Feb. 13 in Atlanta, Georgia. Of the players on the USA’s training camp roster, Christen Press scored three goals in the span of those two games while Carli Lloyd scored two and Morgan Brian and Amy Rodriguez scored one each.
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At Toyota Stadium: Overall, the WNT has played six matches in Frisco, Texas. Just last year, Toyota Stadium hosted the U.S. WNT for its three group games of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying championship. The U.S. went 3-0-0 in those matches, winning 5-0 against Costa Rica on Feb. 10, 1-0 against Mexico on Feb. 13, and 10-0 against Puerto Rico on Feb. 15. Previously, the U.S. had played three matches at the same stadium – formerly Pizza Hut Park and FC Dallas Stadium – going 3-0-0, with wins against Canada (6-2; 1-0) and New Zealand (2-1).
At BBVA Compass Stadium: Houston has hosted the USA on six previous occasions and most recently was the site where the WNT won its fourth Olympic Qualifying tournament. The first trip to BBVA Compass Stadium was a 4-0 win against China PR on Dec. 12, 2012. This was followed by two more wins, a 5-0 shutout of Trinidad & Tobago on Feb. 19 that secured the USA’s berth in the 2016 Olympics and the 2-0 win against Canada on Feb. 21 for the tournament title.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
DEFENDERS (6): 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), 11-Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 22-Megan Oyster (Boston Breakers), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), 7-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 25-Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado), 16-Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash/Manchester City), 20-Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), 3-Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign)
FORWARDS (8): 19-Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/Olympique Lyonnais), 21-Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), 23-Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), 2-Mallory Pugh (UCLA), 8-Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), 26-Sophia Smith (Real Colorado), 12-Lynn Williams (NC Courage)
Russia Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Tatiana Shcerbak (Kubanochka), 12-Alena Belyaeva (Chertanovo), 21-Iuliia Grichenko (CSKA)
DEFENDERS (6): 4-Tatiana Sheikina (Ryazan-VDV), 8-Daria Makarenko (Ryazan-VDV), 13-Anna Belomyttseva (Ryazan-VDV), 18-Elvira Ziiastinova (CSKA), 19-Ekaterina Morozova (Chertanovo), 22-Ksenia Kovalenko (CSKA)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 5-Ekaterina Lazareva (Spartak), 9-Anna Cholovyaga (CSKA), 10-Elena Terekhova (CSKA), 11-Ekaterina Sochneva (CSKA), 16-Anastasiia Pozdeeva (Zvezda-2005), 17-Ekaterina Pantiukhina (Zvezda-2005), 20-Margarita Chernomyrdina (Chertanovo), 23-Elena Morozova (Kubanochka)
FORWARDS (3): 2-Nelli Korovkina (Chertanovo), 6-Nadeshda Karpova (Chertanovo), 15-Elena Danilova (Ryazan-VDV)