PREVIEW: WNT Faces New Zealand in Send-Off Series, Presented by Volpi Foods | 8pm ET on ESPN2

U.S. Soccer

With the 23-player Women’s World Cup squad named on May 2 , the U.S. Women’s National Team is in its final phase of preparation before the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA is coming off a 3-0 victory against South Africa on May 12 in the first match of the three-game Send-Off Series Presented by Volpi Foods. The Americans will now play the middle game of the Send-Off Series, taking on New Zealand on May 16 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis (7 p.m. CT) in front of a crowd that will be over 34,000 and the largest for a domestic friendly since Sept. of 2017 when just over 30,000 saw the USA beat New Zealand, 5-0 in Cincinnati. The USA has posted a 5-1-2 record so far in 2019 with all but one of those games coming against World Cup-bound teams.

2019 Game Lineups || 2019 Statistics

U.S. WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROSTER (CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 21- Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), 18- Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 21/0), 1- Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 44/0)
DEFENDERS (7): 7- Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 38/0), 12- Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 20/1); 19- Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 83/24), 11- Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 99/1), 5-Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals FC; 115/2); 4- Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 156/0), 14- Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 32/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6- Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 82/6), 8- Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 80/18), 9- Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 66/8), 16- Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 25/6), 20- Allie Long (Reign FC; 43/6), 3- Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 48/11),
FORWARDS (7): 17- Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 148/28); 10- Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 272/108), 22- Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 7/2), 13- Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 161/101), 23- Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 114/47), 2- Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 51/15), 15- Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 151/44)

SEND-OFF SERIES, PRESENTED BY VOLPI FOODS

Date

Opponent

Kickoff

Venue; City

May 16

New Zealand

7 p.m. CT

Busch Stadium; St. Louis, Mo.

May 26

Mexico

12 p.m. ET

Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.

2019 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

June 11

Thailand

3 p.m. ET

Auguste Delaune Stadium; Reims, France

June 16

Chile

12 p.m. ET

Parc des Princes; Paris, France

June 20

Sweden

3 p.m. ET

Stade Océane; Le Havre, France

STORYLINES

USA vs. New Zealand: The USA and New Zealand most recently met for a two-game set in September of 2017 with the USA coming away with a 3-1 win in Commerce City, Colo., followed by a 5-0 victory in Cincinnati. The match in Cincinnati drew 30,529 fans, many to see hometown hero Rose Lavelle, meaning that including with this match, New Zealand will have been the opponent in four of the largest domestic crowds ever, all 30,000-plus crowds. Before the matches in September of 2017, the last time the teams played on U.S. soil was on April 4, 2015, when a record crowd of 35,817 fans packed Busch Stadium as the USA cruised to a 4-0 victory in its first home match of 2015. In that match Megan Rapinoe earned her 100th cap, becoming the 31st American female player to reach the century mark. The USA and NZL also met in 1998 during a doubleheader that served as a World Cup send-off for the MNT that drew more than 44,000.

Becky Comes Home: St. Louis native and U.S. WNT veteran Becky Sauerbrunn returns home for this match, marking the second time she’s played in her hometown after the match in 2015 at Busch Stadium. She played youth club for the famed J.B. Marine and helped lead her teams to four State Cup titles. She attended Ladue High School where she was a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American, a two-time Parade All-American and the 2003 Missouri Player of the Year. She was also First-Team St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro as a senior when she scored 21 goals with 19 assists. She was also the conference player of the year in volleyball and basketball.

Carli Surpasses Michelle Akers: Forward Carli Lloyd has set many records throughout her career and her latest is especially impressive. After scoring her third goal of the year vs. South Africa on May 12, Lloyd now has 108 goals for in her international career, moving her to fourth-place all-time on the WNT scoring list, one goal above the legendary Michelle Akers.

Breaking Down the USA’s World Cup Roster: On May 2, U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis made public the 23-player roster that will represent the USA in France this summer, a roster that was a product of more than two-and-a-half years of evaluation in trainings and games since the end of the 2016 Olympics. Ellis selected 12 players who were part of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship squad, while the roster averages 80 international caps per player and has a combined total of 94 previous Women’s World Cup appearances. Of the 23 players named to the roster, Carli Lloyd has the most World Cup experience having played in 18 matches while scoring seven goals, six at the 2015 tournament. Lloyd is also the oldest player on the roster at 36, while Tierna Davidson is the youngest at 20.

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is Around the Corner: The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off June 7 as host France faces South Korea in Paris and will run through July 7 when the championship game is staged in Lyon. The tournament will mark the eighth consecutive World Cup appearance for three-time World Cup champion USA (1991, 1999, 2015), one of six countries to qualify for all eight Women’s World Cups along with Brazil, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Nigeria. This will be the second Women’s World Cup to include 24 nations. Sixteen teams participated in the four World Cups held from 1999-2011. The 1991 and 1995 WWC featured 12 teams. The field for this tournament includes host France along with Spain, Italy, England, Scotland, Norway, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands from Europe; China PR, Thailand, Australia, South Korea and Japan from Asia; Brazil, Chile and Argentina from South America; the United States, Canada and Jamaica from Concacaf; Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon from Africa; and New Zealand from Oceania.

New Rules Get Test Run: In preparation for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, U.S. Soccer requested and received approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to implement three changes to the Laws of the Game during the tournament. These changes, although not officially instituted until June, will be used for the USA’s April friendly matches. At the 133rd AGM of The IFAB held in Aberdeen, Scotland on March 2, 2019 these changes (as well as additional changes) were approved to the Laws of the Game for 2019/20:

  • A player being substituted must leave the field of play at the nearest point on the boundary line.
  • Yellow and red cards for misconduct can be issued to team officials.
  • On a goal kick and a free kick for the defending team in their own penalty area, the ball is in play as soon as the kick is taken so a player – or opponent as long as they started outside the penalty or were not given the proper time to exit the penalty – can play the ball before it leaves the penalty area.

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