USWNT REWIND: Challenge Cup Set to Kick Off, Victories in England and France
With a FIFA break and friendly matches against Sweden and France just around the corner, the U.S. Women’s National Team contingent in Europe wrapped up club competition over the weekend before joining the USA for training camp in Sweden.
Defender Alana Cook started and played the full 90 minutes for Paris Saint-Germain in the club’s 7-0 victory over ASJ Soyaux. Cook, who was called in for the USA’s upcoming camp and friendlies, has appeared in 11 matches for PSG this season across all competitions, making nine starts. PSG currently sits first in the Division 1 Féminine standings based on its huge 1-0 win over perennial champion Olympique Lyonnais on Nov 20, 2020 in Paris. The longtime French foes are also pitted against each other in the UEFA Women’s Champions League Quarterfinal round, though the highly-anticipated second leg in that matchup was postponed from March 31 to April 18 due to positive tests within the OL designation, which have also impacted availability during the international break. Lyon’s league match against Guingamp slated for this weekend was also postponed.
In England, Manchester City extended its league winning streak to 12 in a row with a 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, tying the record for the longest win streak in FA Women’s Super League history. U.S. Women’s National Team regulars Abby Dahlkemper, Rose Lavelle, and Samantha Mewis all saw time in the victory. Dahlkemper went the full 90 minutes on defense while Mewis played 63 minutes and tallied her second assist of the WSL campaign. In the 38th minute, Mewis played perfectly weighted ball through the Spurs’ defense, which Canadian international Janine Beckie ran onto and easily put away to make it 2-0 Manchester City. Lavelle came on in the 63rd minute and put one shot on target.
WATCH: Mewis Sets Up Second Goal For Manchester City
Manchester City was also victorious in its midweek Champions League match against Barcelona, winning 2-1 in the second leg of the quarterfinal matchup. Mewis scored the game winner from the penalty spot – her fifth Champions League goal in five appearances – however it was not enough to overcome a 3-0 defeat in the first leg and the Cityzens were eliminated on aggregated, 4-2.
Manchester United’s hopes to earn a Champions League berth for next season took a hit following a 1-0 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday. United is now tied for third in the league standings with Arsenal, although Manchester United does have a game in hand. The top three teams in the WSL standings qualify for Champions League. U.S. Women’s National Team forward Christen Press was not available for the Red Devils due to what the club classified as a small knock, but has since joined the USWNT for its European training camp in Sweden.
While European club competition will now pause until the completion of the FIFA international window, the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup kicks off on Friday, April 9 as a precursor to the league’s historic eighth regular season. The Challenge Cup will start with a rematch of the 2020 Challenge Cup championship, as the Houston Dash host the Chicago Red Stars at 8:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network), followed by Portland Thorns FC hosting Kansas City at 10:30 p.m. ET (Paramount+). The full schedule and viewing information can be found here.