The U.S. Women’s National Team kicks off the 2021 WNT Summer Series, presented by AT&T 5G on the evening of June 10, taking on Portugal at BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas. Broadcast coverage of the match begins on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT with kick-off at 8:38 p.m. ET / 7:38 p.m. CT.
Here are Five Things to Know about the USWNT’s first Summer Series opponent: Portugal.
PORTUGAL UP FIRST IN SUMMER SERIES
Portugal head coach Francisco Neto called 23 players for the Summer Series, bringing in a blend of experience and youth. Eight players on the roster have almost 50 or more caps, while 15 players have 19 caps or fewer. The most capped player is veteran defender Carole Costa, who has 125 caps and 10 goals and has extensive club experience across the European continent.
Forward Diana Silva, who plays for Aston Villa in England, is the top scorer on the roster, having found the net 13 times in 64 caps. She is just one of two players on this roster playing their club soccer outside of Portugal. Fellow forward Jéssica Silva plays in the United States and made her NWSL debut on June 5 for Kansas City.
PORTUGAL WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Inês Pereira (Sporting Lisbon), 12-Bárbara Santos (Maritimo SC), 22-Rute Costa (Famalicão FC)
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Catarina Amado, (Benfica), 3-Alícia Correia, (Sporting Lisbon), 4-Sílvia Rebelo (Benfica), 5-Joana Marchão (Sporting Lisbon), 15-Carole Costa (Benfica), 17-Mariana Azevedo (Famalicão FC), 19-Diana Gomes (S.C. Braga)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 6-Andreia Jacinto (Sporting Lisbon), 8-Andreia Norton (S.C. Braga), 11-Tatiana Pinto (Sporting Lisbon), 13-Fátima Pinto (Sporting Lisbon), 14-Dolores Silva (S.C. Braga), 18-Beatriz Cameirão (Benfica), 20-Lúcia Alves (Benfica), 21-Andreia Faria (Benfica)
FORWARDS (5): 7-Francisca Nazareth (Benfica), 9-Melissa Gomes (Stade de Reims, FRA), 10-Jéssica Silva (Kansas City NWSL, USA), 16-Diana Silva (Aston Villa, ENG), 23-Telma Encarnação (Maritimo SC)
HISTORY AGAINST THE USA
The June 10 meeting will be the 10th match ever between the USA and Portugal, and the fourth in the last five years. The U.S. won all nine previous meetings and has outscored Portugal by a margin of 38-0 over the course of the series. Four of the previous nine meetings between the nations have come in the United States, including the two most recent matchups.
In 2019, the USWNT and Portugal played twice during the post-World Cup Victory Tour. The USA won the first game 4-0 on August 29, 2019, at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, behind goals from Tobin Heath, Morgan Brian, Carli Lloyd and Allie Long. The USA followed it up with a 3-0 victory five days later at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lloyd opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and converted a penalty kick 10 minutes later for her 20th career multi-goal game. Lindsey Horan rounded out the scoring, heading in corner kick from Christen Press in the 83rd minute.
The USA beat Portugal, 1-0, on November 8, 2018, at Estadio Antonio Coimbra de Mota in Estoril, Portugal in what was also the 500th victory in USWNT history. Prior to that match – which was decided by a 42nd minute goal from Jessica McDonald – the nations had not met since the 2001 Algarve Cup.
PORTUGAL CLIPPED IN UEFA QUALIFYING
The most recent on-field action for A Selecção das Quinas saw Portugal come up short in its attempt to qualify for UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. Having made its EURO debut in 2017, Portugal was drawn into Group E for qualifying for the 2022 competition, which was originally planned for 2021 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Portugal finished second in the five-team qualify group, only dropping points to group winners Finland. While the nine group winners and three best runners-up qualified for the final tournament, Portugal was drawn to face Russia in a two-legged play-off, with the winner securing a spot in EURO 2022.
The first leg was played at Portugal’s Estádio do Restelo on April 9, but it was the visiting team who proved victorious, with Russia scoring the game’s only goal in the 51st minute off a header from Nelli Korovkina. The teams played to a scoreless draw in the second leg in Moscow on April 13, sending Russia through, 1-0, on aggregate.
EYES AHEAD FOR 2023
Following its Summer Series matches against the USA and Nigeria (June 13 at 6 p.m. CT), Portugal will turn its attention to qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Portugal – who has never previously qualified for a world championship in women’s soccer – was drawn into Group H along with Germany, Serbia, Israel, Turkey and Bulgaria for UEFA’s World Cup qualification. Portugal kicks off qualification during the September FIFA international window, taking on Turkey (Sep. 16) and Israel (Sep. 19). The winner of each group will qualify directly for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, while the runners-up from each group will head to a playoff to fill out UEFA’s 11 spots at the world championship.
FRANCISCO NETO EXTENDED THROUGH 2024
On May 21, 2021, the Portuguese Football Federation announced the renewal of head coach Francisco Neto’s contract through 2024. Neto was named head coach in 2014 and three years later, helped lead Portugal to its first ever appearance – and first ever win – at the Women’s EUROs. After dropping its opening match group stage match in the 2017 competition to Spain by a score of 2-0, Portugal defeated Scotland, 2-1, in the second game for the nation’s first victory at the European championships. In the final match of the group stage, Portugal fell to group-winners, England, 2-1,
The 39-year-old Neto previously served as the Women’s National Team goalkeeping coach from 2008 to 2010 under former head coach Mónica Jorge.