USA FACES ARGENTINA, SEEKS FOURTH TOURNAMENT TITLE IN FINALE OF 2021 SheBelieves Cup, Presented by VisaMATCH PREVIEW
After recording a 1-0 victory against Canada to open the 2021 SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa, and a 2-0 win over Brazil on the second match day, the USA heads into its tournament finale against Argentina (Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1 and TUDN) with a simple scenario to lift the trophy: win or tie. The USA currently has six points from two wins and just one more point would clinch the USA’s fourth SheBelieves Cup title no matter the result of the Brazil-Canada clash, which will take place at 4 p.m. (FS1 and the TUDN App/TUDN.tv). Canada and Brazil are both on three points after victories over Argentina and losses to the USA, so either country can only achieve a maximum of six points.
The tournament winner will be determined by total points (three for a win, one for a draw), with the first tiebreaker being overall goal difference, followed by goals scored, then head-to-head result. If teams are still tied, the next tiebreaker will be the Fair Play ranking based on yellow and red cards.
The USA entered its Feb. 21 matchup against Brazil level on points but cleared its path towards the tournament title with a 2-0 victory over its longtime South American foe. Goals early and late from Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe, respectively - both teed up by Lindsey Horan – earned the USA the full three points as well as first place in the tournament standings with one match day left to play.
The match marked the first time the USA has faced a Brazil team coached by former USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage, who led the USA to gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.
The USWNT’s relentless early pressure was rewarded in the 11th minute against Brazil when Lindsey Horan sent a pass to Press down the left wing and after a nifty bit of dribbling into the penalty area, she ripped a shot from the top corner of the box for the game’s opening goal and her 10th in her last 13 games. It was also her 59th career goal for the United States.
In a free-flowing game that featured tremendous transition play from both teams, the U.S. continued to threaten down the stretch and the aftermath of a free kick sparked an insurance goal for the WNT, as Horan served a ball for Rapinoe to volley home in the 88th minute. It was Rapinoe’s 54th career international goal. Horan logged her 30th and 31st career assists and became the 18th player in USWNT history to record 30 or more assists.
Defensively, the USA put together another strong showing as it registered its fifth consecutive clean sheet while limiting Brazil to just two shots on goal. The USA has allowed only one goal in its last 14 games, only conceding in a 3-1 victory over Japan in the final match of the 2020 SheBelieves Cup on March 11 of last year. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had another fine performance as she recorded her 10th consecutive shutout, extending her own USWNT record.
With the victory, the USA extended its overall unbeaten streak to 36 games – 33 wins and three ties – and is now unbeaten on its last 52 games on home soil.
The staging of the SheBelieves Cup training camp and the 2021 SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa is being done under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in accordance with the Concacaf Return to Play Protocols and capacity for each match will be limited to no more than 4,000 ticketed fans.
VISA SHEBELIEVES CUP MVP
As the 2021 SheBelieves Cup heads into its final match day, competition for the Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP is heating up.
For the second year in a row, Visa, the presenting sponsor of the SheBelieves Cup, will award the MVP trophy to the most outstanding player of the tournament. The award will be announced following the conclusion of the final match and with the input of a selection committee comprised of representatives from all competing nations. This year, fans will also have the opportunity to vote for the Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP award using an online ballot to select among a list of finalists chosen by the committee. The fan-vote will be incorporated into the overall determination of the 2021 Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP.
Spain’s Alexia Putellas won the inaugural award in 2020. This year’s selection committee is comprised of: Committee Chair Jene Baclawski, head coach for the Saint Kitts and Nevis Women’s National Team and technical director for the South Texas Youth Soccer Association, former U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, former Canadian striker Kara Lang Romero, Brazilian star Rosana, and Diego Turnes, Vice President of the Argentina Football Association.
U.S. Women’s National Team 2021 SheBelieves Cup Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 4), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 67)
DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 65/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 27/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 109/24), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 33/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 133/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 5/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 181/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 50/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 107/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 90/20), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; 1/0), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG; 50/14), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 20/3)
FORWARDS (6): Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 298/123), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 172/107), Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG; 141/59), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 172/55), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 33/10)
IN FOCUS: ARGENTINA
FIFA World Ranking: 31
CONMEBOL Ranking: 3
Olympic Appearances: None
Best Olympic finish: N/A
Record vs. USA: 0-3-0
Head Coach: Carlos Borrello
Argentina Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Solana Pereyra (U.D. Tacuense, ESP), 12- Laurina Oliveros (Boca Juniors)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Agustina Barroso (Palmeiras (BRA), 3-Eliana Stabile (Boca Juniors), 4-Marina Delgado (UAI Urquiza), 6-Aldana Cometti (Levante U.D., ESP), 13-Sophia Braun (Gonzaga University, USA), 18-Romina Nuñez (UAI Urquiza), 21-Adriana Sachs (Boca Juniors), 22-Natalie Juncos (Racing)
MIDFIELDERS (7):5-Vanesa Santana (Sporting Huelva, ESP), 8-Clarisa Huber (Boca Juniors), 10-Dalila Ippolito (Juventus, ITA), 14- Miriam Mayorga (Boca Juniors), 16-Lorena Benitez (Boca Juniors), 17-Valentina Camara (C.D. Femarguín, ESP), 20-Daiana Falfan (UAI Urquiza)
FORWARDS (6):7-Yael Oviedo (Independiente Santa Fe, COL), 9-Sole Jaimes (Changchun Dazhong, CHN), 11-Yamila Rodriguez (Boca Juniors), 15-Milagros Menendez (Granada F.C., ESP), 19-Mariana Larroquette (Kansas City NWSL, USA)
The USA and Argentina have only met three previously, with the USA winning all three games.
The first two meetings between the teams came in April 1998 in California, with the first meeting coming on April 24 in Fullerton and the second on April 26 in San Jose. The April 24 meeting not only marked the start of the series between the two countries but was also the first cap for current USWNT General Manager Kate Markgraf, who would go on to earn 201 total caps.
The USA scored a combined 15 goals over the two games and allowing one, winning 8-1 and 7-0.
The most recent meeting came at the end of 2014 when the USA traveled to Brazil for a tournament in December. The USA won 7-0 as Christen Press scored four goals, one of just nine four-game goals in U.S. history. It was also the international debut and first career shutout for Alyssa Naeher, who became only the 6th goalkeeper in USWNT history to record a shutout in her first cap.
Carlos Borrello is in his second stint coaching the Argentina Women’s National Team, having also been at the helm from 1998-2012 after being elevated from an assistant coach
He helped the team to qualify for their first FIFA Women's World Cup in 2003. Three years later, he led the team to their first major title, winning the 2006 Copa American Feminina as hosts by beating Brazil, 2-0, in the title game. The success meant Argentina qualified for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, as well as the 2008 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic appearance for the women's team
After coaching club soccer over 2014-2017, he took over Argentina once again.
Borrello led Argentina to a third-place finish at the 2018 Copa América Femenina, earning an intercontinental play-off against Panama. Argentina won 5-1 on aggregate to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup after a twelve-year absence.
While the women’s game has struggled to gain a foothold in Argentina, the World Cup appearances have helped the evolution of the Argentina WNT and they have some experience players on the squad as well as 11 players on the SheBelieves roster who are playing outside of Argentina.
Mariana Larroquette is the only NWSL player, but five players play in Spain, one in Brazil, one in Colombia one in China and one at an American University in Sophia Braun from Gonzaga. She is from Beaverton, Oregon and played youth club for FC Portland on the ECNL and the Portland Thorns in the Development Academy.
Larroquette is by far the highest scorer on the roster with 15 goals in 52 caps. The next highest scorer is Sole Jaimes, who has six goals in 37 caps and plays her club ball in China.