Unlike last year, when the U.S. WNT opened its schedule with a match against the world’s second-ranked Germany to kick off the SheBelieves Cup, this year the USA gets a valuable preparation game against the extremely competitive Danes, ranked 12th in the world and coming off a runner-up performance at the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro.
U.S. head coach Jill Ellis will choose 18 players from the 24 that trained for 13 days in Los Angeles to suit up for the match against Denmark.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (4): 18-Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 2/0), 21-Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), 24-Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 14/0), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 23/0)
DEFENDERS (8): 7-Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 13/0), 17-Tierna Davidson (Stanford), 25-Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC; 73/3), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 104/2), 2-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 19/0), 22-Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit; 7/0), 16-Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 12/0),
MIDFIELDERS (5): 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 57/14), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 44/4), 10-Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 246/98); 20-Allie Long (Seattle Reign; 33/6), 6-Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 7/0)
FORWARDS (7): 19-Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 57/22), 26-Savannah McCaskill (Boston Breakers; 0/0), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 134/80); 23-Christen Press (Houston Dash; 96/44), 11-Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 29/6), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign; 129/34), 12-Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 15/4)
Denmark Women's National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Stina Lykke Petersen (Kolding Q), 22-Line Johansen (Unattached)
DEFENDERS (5): 3-Janni Arnth (Linköpings FC, Sweden), 8-Theresa Nielsen (Unattached), 18-Mie Leth Jans (Manchester City, England), 19-Cecilie Sandvej (1. FFC Frankfurt (Germany), 20-Stine Ballisager Pedersen (VSK Aarhus)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 4-Maja Kildemoes (Linköpings FC, Sweden), 6-Nanna Christiansen (Brøndby IF), 7-Sanne Troelsgaard (FC Rosengård, Sweden), 11-Katrine Veje (Montpellier HSC, France), 13-Sofie Junge Pedersen (Levante UD, Spain), 15-Frederikke Thøgersen (Fortuna Hjørring), 21-Sarah Dyrehauge (Fortuna Hjørring)
FORWARDS (6): 9-Nadia Nadim (Manchester City, England), 10-Pernille Harder (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany), 12-Stine Larsen (Brøndby IF), 14-Nicoline Sørensen (Linköpings FC, Sweden), 17-Signe Bruun (Fortuna Hjørring), 23-Caroline Moeller (Fortuna Hjørring)
USA vs. Denmark: The USA is 16-5-3 all-time against Denmark, but the teams have not played since the 2014 Algarve Cup. Four players on the U.S. roster have scored against Denmark before: Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan each have two goals against Denmark, while Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press each have one.
At the Algarve Cup in 2014, heading into a match-up in the group stage, the USA had not lost to Denmark since 1991, but went down 3-0 inside 40 minutes of the first half (one of those goals came from former NWSL star Nadia Nadim). Press and Sydney Leroux pulled goals back, and then Rapinoe tallied in the 68th to make it 4-3. The Danes then scored off a counter-attack in the third minute of stoppage time for the final 5-3 margin. It was the first time in the history of the U.S. WNT program that the team allowed five goals in a match. The USA out-shot Denmark 22-9, but Denmark scored on 71% of its shots on goal (5 out of 7). The USA has just five players who played in that match on this January Camp roster, while Denmark has nine players on this roster who played in that game.
Seven of the last eight meetings between the USA and Denmark have taken place at the Algarve Cup (with the other one coming in Gimhae, South Korea, during the Peace Queen Cup) and the USA won the first six of those clashes on the southern coast of Portugal.
- Read More: Five Things to Know about Denmark
The U.S. WNT played Denmark in the second match in team history, a 2-2 tie on Aug. 21, 1985, in Jesolo, Italy. It was the first tie in the program’s history and featured the first two goals in program history, scored by Michelle Akers and Emily Pickering.
Countdown to CONCACAF Qualifying: The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will be held from June 7-July 7 in nine cities in France is still on the distant horizon, but the countdown has begun to the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament, which will be held this fall. The tournament host and teams have not been finalized, but the USA, Canada and Mexico will earn automatic berths into the final eight-team tournament, while the other five nations will have to go through pre-qualifying in their respective regions. From that eight-team tourney, three teams will qualify directly to France while a fourth will enter a two-leg playoff against the third-place team from South America. As the USA kicks off its 2018 campaign, all the players and coaches will cast a distant eye on the all-important qualifying tournament about 10 months from now.
Goals, Goals, Goals: Carli Lloyd (98), Alex Morgan (80) and Christen Press (44), come into 2018 as the leading career scorers for the WNT. Lloyd is now only two away from becoming the sixth woman in U.S. history to score 100 goals for their country. Morgan, who now sits in sole possession of seventh place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list, scored seven goals over her last seven WNT matches of 2017 and will hope to continue her hot goal-scoring streak as the new year starts. Press is in 14th place on the all-time WNT goals list and with one more goal will tie Julie Foudy for 13th place.
Another NWSL No. 1 Overall Pick (And Overall No. 2): On Thursday, January 18, 2018, a new chapter began in the lives of U.S. WNT midfielder Andi Sullivan and U.S. WNT forward Savannah McCaskill when their names were called at the top of the 2018 NWSL College Draft in Philadelphia. Sullivan was drafted first overall by her home area Washington Spirit, while McCaskill went second overall to the Boston Breakers. The 22-year-old Sullivan, who led Stanford University to the 2017 NCAA title, became the fifth consecutive No. 1 overall pick to be drafted while concurrently participating in a WNT’s January Camp. Sullivan follows in the footsteps of former NWSL No. 1 picks and USA teammates – Crystal Dunn (2014), Morgan Brian (2015), Emily Sonnett (2016) and Rose Lavelle (2017).
WNT Year 34 Begins: The USA is 27-4-2 all-time in their opening match of the year. The only losses were to Italy in the WNT’s first international game in 1986, to China PR in 2001, to Sweden in 2011 and to France in 2015. All were away matches. The USA has played Denmark twice before to open a year, both 2-0 wins. Twenty-two times previously the USA has opened its yearly schedule against a European team. The USA comes into 2018 carrying an all-time record of 483-65-71 with the 500th win in team history on the horizon. The USA has compiled a remarkable .836 winning percentage during the first 33 years of the program. The USA has won or tied 89% of all the matches it has ever played.
New Name, Familiar Stadium: The U.S. WNT will play its third match at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium in the span of two years when it takes on Denmark on January 21 at the former Qualcomm Stadium. The USA played there to open the 2016 campaign, defeating the Republic of Ireland 5-0 on Jan. 23 as a then 17-year-old Mallory Pugh made her debut and scored in her first cap. The USA also played there on July 30, 2017 in a wild 4-3 victory against Brazil in the Tournament of Nations that will go down as one of the most epic comebacks in team history.
Solo to Be Honored in San Diego: U.S. Soccer will honor legendary goalkeeper Hope Solo for her 200th cap prior to the U.S. Women’s National Team match against Denmark on Jan. 21 at San Diego Country Credit Union Stadium in San Diego, California. Hailed as the best goalkeeper in women’s soccer history, Solo, who accrued 202 caps since her debut in 2000, is the only goalkeeper in U.S. and world history to reach 200 appearances for her country. Of those 202 games, 195 were starts. Her 202 caps rank her 10th in U.S. history and make her one of just 11 American players to reach the double-century mark. Solo earned her 200th cap at the 2016 Olympics on Aug. 6 as the USA defeated France 1-0 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.