PREVIEW: USWNT Takes on New Zealand in Second Match of Tokyo 2020 Olympics
After a disappointing loss to Sweden to open the Olympics, the U.S. Women’s National Team will look to bounce back against New Zealand when the teams meet on Saturday, July 24 on the second matchday of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. local/7:30 a.m. ET at Saitama Stadium in Saitama, Japan and the match will be broadcast in the United States onNBCSN and Telemundo, with streaming coverage also provided at NBCOlympics.com and through the Telemundo App. The match will also be replayed later that day on the USA Network at 5:30 p.m. ET and will be available for viewing on NBCOlympics.com.
The USA opened the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a 3-0 defeat to Sweden on July 21 at Tokyo Stadium. The loss – which was just the USA’s second defeat in regulation ever at an Olympics – ended the USWNT’s 44-game unbeaten streak, which was the second longest in program history. The USWNT also lost the opening match of the 2008 Beijing Games, a 2-0 setback to Norway, but went on to win the gold medal.
New Zealand is also looking to get back in the win column following a 2-1 defeat to rivals Australia on Wednesday night. The jumped out to a two-goal lead at the half before the Football Ferns pulled one back in second-half stoppage time, courtesy of 20-year-old Gabi Rennie, who scored in her international debut.
Following the match against the Football Ferns, the USA will finish group play against Australia on July 27 (5 p.m. local / 4 a.m. ET) at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima. That match – which will be played simultaneously with the other Group G game between Sweden and New Zealand – will be broadcast on the USA Network and Telemundo, with streaming coverage also provided at NBCOlympics.com and through the Telemundo App.
USWNT OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER ROSTER BY POSITION (CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 22-Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 5), 18-Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 6), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 74)
DEFENDERS (7): 17-Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 72/0), 12-Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 35/1), 2-Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 117/24), 20-Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 34/0), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 141/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 189/0), 14-Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 56/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 111/20), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 99/22), 16-Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 57/14), 19-Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 7/1), 6-Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 27/4), 3-Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 78/23)
FORWARDS (6): 7-Tobin Heath (Unattached; 172/35), 10-Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 307/126), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 181/110), 11-Christen Press (Unattached; 150/63), 15-Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 180/59), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 37/11)
GROUP G AT A GLANCE
With three points and a plus-three goal differential, Sweden leads Group G following the Olympic matchday, followed by Australia, who also sit on three points following a 2-1 victory over New Zealand. Plenty of points remain in play over the next two group stage matches, beginning with Sweden vs. Australia on July 24 at 5:30 p.m. local/4:30 a.m. ET at Saitama Stadium, followed by USA-New Zealand.
The top two finishers in each group plus the two best third-place teams advance to the quarterfinals. Should teams be level on points and the end of group play, the first tiebreaker is superior goal difference followed by most total goals scored. The winner of Group G will meet a third-place team from Group E or F in the quarterfinal. The second-place finisher in Group Gwill face the first-place team from Group F, while the third-place team in Group G could meet the first-place team from Group E to open the knockout round.
Group E play got underway Wednesday night in Sapporo, with Great Britain beating Chile, 2-0, in the opening match of the tournament, followed by a 1-1 draw between Canada and hosts Japan.
In Group F, Brazil downed China, 5-0, while the Netherlands topped Olympic debutant, Zambia, by a score of 10-3.
For the first time in a world championship event, teams are allowed five substitutes each, plus one potential concussion substitute according to the new established protocols, in addition to an extra sub if a match in the knockout rounds goes into overtime. Two yellow cards in separate games over the first four matches will result in a one-game suspension, but single yellow cards will clear after the Quarterfinals.
INSIDE THE SERIES: USA vS. NEW ZEALAND
The USA has played New Zealand 17 times overall, with three of those meetings coming at the Olympics. The USWNT leads the all-time series, 15-1-1 and has won all three previous meetings at the Olympics, outscoring the Football Ferns by an overall margin of 8-0. New Zealand will become the fourth different team the USWNT has faced four times at the Olympics, joining Brazil, Japan and Norway.
The USA defeated New Zealand, 4-0, in the final group stage game of the 2008 Olympics and eliminated the Football Ferns in the quarterfinal of the 2012 Olympics, winning 2-0 at St. James’ Park. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the USA opened Group G play with a 2-0 win over New Zealand, powered by goals from Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan. Lloyd and Morgan both have six career goals against New Zealand, including a pair of braces.
The teams most recently met on May 16, 2019, with the USA beating New Zealand 5-0 in front of 35,761 fans in St. Louis during the Send-Off Series for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Lloyd netted a brace for the USA with goals in the 61st and 83rd minutes, while Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis also found the back of the net.
ONE HUNDRED ON THE HORIZON FOR HORAN
With her next cap, USA midfielder Lindsey Horan will reach the 100-cap milestone, becoming the 41st American female to play 100 times for her country. The 27-year-old Horan debuted for the USA at the Algarve Cup in March of 2013 against China PR but became a mainstay on the roster in 2016, when she played in 24 games (14 starts) and made the Olympic Team. Since then, Horanhas been a consistent force in the midfield, amassing 22 goals and 33 assists through 99 caps. Horan has started 66 of her 99 caps and has been in some of the finest form of her career as of late. Since the start of 2020, Horan has played in 21 matches and has been directly involved in 17 goals – with 10 goals and seven assists – the second-most on the team during that span behind only Christen Press, who has 12 goals and seven assists.
Horan will be 27 years and 59 days old on July 24, which would make her the 18th-youngest player in USWNT history to reach 100 caps and the youngest to do so since Alex Morgan hit the 100-cap mark at 26 years and 211 days in January of 2016.
On June 30, the International Olympic Committee agreed to a more flexible approach towards the participation of the alternate players in the Olympic Football Tournaments, ruling that all participating countries are now entitled, if they choose, to reconstitute their teams ahead of every match. This means that while each team must still only have 18 players on its game day roster for each Olympic match, teams now can choose those 18 from a total of 22 players – the original 18 named to the Olympic Team plus the four named alternates, who are now members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team. The IOC made it clear that this is an exception made only for the Tokyo 2020 Games and does not create a precedent for future Olympics.
USWNT EYES OLYMPIC HISTORY
Four-time Olympic gold medalists, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team had advanced to the gold medal game of every Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament that had been contested until 2016, when the Americans were knocked out in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round by Sweden. The USA won the inaugural gold medal in 1996 in Atlanta, won silver in 2000 in Sydney and then won three straight golds after standing atop the podium in Athens, Greece in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
The USA’s four gold medals are the most by any nation in the history of the Olympic Soccer Tournament – women’s or men’s – and its five total medals lead all women’s teams in the competition.
2021 USWNT MEDIA GUIDE
The 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team Media Guide is available for download. The Media Guide features all the history and statistics of the USWNT, as well as full bios on technical staff and the current top players, information on the USA’s Youth National Teams, and general important information on U.S. Soccer.
USA ROSTER NOTES
Carli Lloyd has the most Olympic appearances on the roster with 17 and the most Olympic goals with eight. Tobin Heath, who along with Lloyd is competing in her fourth Olympics, has made 13 Olympic appearances.
With her substitute appearance on July 21 vs. Sweden, Lloyd passed Julie Foudy, Kate Markgraf, Kristine Lilly, Joy Fawcett and Hope Solo for sole possession of the second-most Olympic appearances in USWNT history. The USWNT record for most Olympic appearances is 22, held by Christie Pearce Rampone.
The USA’s 22-player roster averages 97 international caps per player and has a combined total of 93 Olympic appearances and 17 Olympic goals, courtesy of Lloyd (8), Alex Morgan (5), Megan Rapinoe (3) and Crystal Dunn (1).
Six players made their Olympic debut on July 21 against Sweden – Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis, Samantha Mewis and Alyssa Naeher.
The average age of the 22 players on the Olympic Team roster is just under 30 years of age.
The loss to Sweden ended the USA’s 44-game unbeaten streak at 40 wins and four ties. The USA had scored two or more goals in 37 of those games. This unbeaten streak was the second longest in USWNT history. The USA’s longest unbeaten streak spanned 51 matches from December 2004 to September 2007. The USA had a 43-game unbeaten run that began in March 2012 and ran to March 2014.
The loss also ended an 11-game unbeaten streak away or on neutral ground, dating back to a 1-0 win vs. Spain on Jan. 22, 2019. Those 11 games of course included the seven at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and all 11 games were played on European soil. In the match before that victory over Spain, the USA lost 3-1 to France in Le Havre.
Before being shut out against Sweden, the USA had scored in 73 consecutive matches and had averaged just over three goals per game in that time. The run of 73 consecutive matches with a goal started after a 1-0 loss to Australia in the Tournament of Nations in 201 and was the longest run of consecutive games with a goal in USWNT history. During this 73-game run the USA outscored the opposition 240-35.
So far this year, 12 players have scored the USA’s 37 goals: Megan Rapinoe (7), Samantha Mewis (5), Christen Press (5), Alex Morgan (3), Lindsey Horan (3), Carli Lloyd (3), Kristie Mewis (2), Tobin Heath (2), Margaret Purce (2), Lynn Williams (2), Rose Lavelle and Catarina Macario.
Thirteen different players have also tallied an assist in 2021: Carli Lloyd (6), Lindsey Horan (4), Christen Press (4), Samantha Mewis (3), Rose Lavelle (2), Megan Rapinoe (2), Kristie Mewis (2), Alex Morgan (2), Crystal Dunn (2), Ali Krieger, Emily Sonnett, Casey Krueger and Tierna Davidson.
Overall, 16 different players have been directly involved in at least one of the USWNT’s 37 goals in the 2021 calendar year.
Rapinoe (7 goals, 2 assist), Press (5 goals, 4 assists) and Lloyd (3 goals, 6 assists) lead the way with nine goal contributions while and Samantha Mewis (5 goals, 3 assists) has been involved in eight.
IN FOCUS: NEW ZEALAND | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FIFA World Ranking:22
Olympic Appearances: 4th (2008, 2012, 2016, 2020)
Best Olympic Finish: Quarterfinals (2012)
Overall Record in Olympics: 2-8-1 (GF: 7; GA: 19)
Record vs. USA:1-15-1
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
NEW ZEALAND OLYMPIC ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): 22-Victoria Esson ( IL, NOR), 18-Anna Leat (East Coast Bays AFC), 1-Erin Nayler (Unattached)
DEFENDERS (8): 19-Elizabeth Anton (Unattached), 8-CJ Bott ( IF, NOR), 8-Claudia Bunge (Melbourne Victory, AUS), 8-Abby Erceg (North Carolina Courage, USA), 3-Anna Green (Lower Hutt City AFC), 5-Meikayla Moore (Liverpool, ENG), 7-Ali Riley (Orlando Pride, USA), 20-Marisa van der Meer (Unattached)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 14-Katie Bowen (Kansas City, USA), 15-Daisy Cleverley (Georgetown University, USA), 12-Betsy Hassett (UMF , ISL), 10-Annalie Longo (Melbourne Victory, AUS), 2-Ria Percival (Tottenham Hotspur, ENG), 16-Emma Rolston (Arna-Bjornar, NOR)
FORWARDS (5): 11-Olivia Chance (Brisbane Roar FC, AUS), 9-Gabi Rennie (Indiana University, USA), 21-Michaela Robertston (Lower Hutt City AFC), 13-Paige Satchell (Unattached), 17-Hannah Wilkinson (Unattached)
NEW ZEALAND ROSTER NOTES
The USA and New Zealand will be meeting for the 18th time overall and for the fourth consecutive Olympics. The USA is 15-1-1 all-time against New Zealand, including a 3-0-0 mark in the Olympics.
New Zealand is making its fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympics, having qualified for every Olympic Games since its debut in 2008. New Zealand’s best showing at the Olympics came in 2012 when they reached the quarterfinal round, before falling to the USA 2-0.
New Zealand opened its Olympic campaign with a 2-1 loss to arch-rival Australia. The Aussies scored in the 20th and 33rd minutes through Tameka and superstar Sam Kerr respectively, but the Kiwis were able to pull a goal back in the first minute of stoppage time through substitute Gabi Rennie, who plays college soccer at Indiana, and who had come into the game in the 89th minute. It was her first career cap.
New Zealand has participated in the last four Women’s World Cups and last four Olympics thus has a slew of veteran players with excellent experience. The Football Ferns have nine players with 71 caps or more (the USA has 13) led by Ria (151 caps/14 goals) and Abby Erceg (142/6).
New Zealand qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Games after winning, as expected, the 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup in New Caledonia, which also served as Oceania’s qualification tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. New Zealand outscored the opposition 43-0 over the course of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup, winning its fourth consecutive title.
Head coach Tom Sermanni is in his fourth year with the Football Ferns, after being hired in October of 2018, but will step down after the Olympics. Sermanni coached the USWNT from January 2013 to April 2014, amassing a record of 18-2-4. During his time with the USWNT, six players on the USA’s 2020 Olympic roster made their senior national team debuts – Julie Ertz, Kristie Mewis, Christen Press, Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan and Samantha Mewis.
Sermanni is a widely liked and respected figure in women’s soccer. In addition to coaching the USA, he was long-time coach of the Australian Women’s National Team (2005-2012). He also coached the Orlando Pride in the NWSL for the first three seasons of its existence (2016-2018) and coached in the USA’s first pro league, the WUSA, from 2002-2003 with the New York Power. He was also an assistant coach for Canada at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
New Zealand has three players playing for NWSL clubs in midfielder Katie Bowen for the NWSL Kansas City and team captain and center back Abby Erceg, who has been a mainstay for the North Carolina Courage. Long-time defender and team captain Ali Riley plays for the Orlando Pride.