PREVIEW: USWNT Closes Out September Window in CincinnatiWatch USA-Paraguay on Tuesday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1 and TUDN
Coming off a 9-0 victory on Thursday night in Cleveland, the U.S. Women’s National Team will close out its two-game series against Paraguay on Tuesday, September 21 in Cincinnati, the hometown of USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle, at newly opened TQL Stadium. The match will be broadcast in the United States on FS1 and TUDN, with pre-game coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET on FS1 and 7:30 p.m. ET on TUDN. Official kickoff will be at 7:45 p.m. ET.
Thursday night’s meeting at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium saw the legendary Carli Lloyd – playing in the first of her final four matches for the USA – match the USA’s single-game scoring record with five goals on the night and in the process pass the great Kristine Lilly on the USWNT’s all-time scoring charts. Midfielder Andi Sullivan added an assist and her first two international goals while Lynn Williams and Tobin Heath also found the back of the net. Making her first start for the USWNT in nearly two years, forward Mallory Pugh also had an impressive outing with three assists on the evening.
Thursday, Oct. 21, at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and TUDN) and will then travel to St. Paul, Minnesota to complete that two-game series at Allianz Field on Tuesday, Oct. 26 (7:30 p.m. ET pre-game on FS1 and 8 p.m. ET on TUDN).
USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 5), Adrianna Franch (Kansas City NWSL; 9)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash; 75/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 40/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 123/24), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 35/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 146/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 194/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 59/0)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 63/15), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 9/1), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 29/4), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 18/2)
FORWARDS (6): Tobin Heath (Arsenal, ENG; 178/36), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 313/133), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 187/111), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 64/18), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 7/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 41/13)
All 22 players from the 2020 Olympic Team were invited for the two matches against Paraguay, but due to injuries, USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski called up three players who were not on the Olympic Team -- Sullivan, Pugh and Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith. All three saw action in the Sept. 16 win over Paraguay with Pugh (three assists) and Sullivan (two goals, one assist) directly involved in five of the USA’s nine goals on Thursday night in Cleveland.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, midfielders Julie Ertz and Samantha Mewis and forward Megan Rapinoe will not play in these two matches due to injuries. Naeher and Mewis did join the team during this international window for evaluation and rehabilitation, but Naher has returned to Chicago to continue her rehab. Forward Christen Press is not on the roster as she opted out of the matches.
CARLI DOING CARLI THINGS
Playing in the first of her final four matches in a U.S. uniform, Lloyd turned in yet another memorable performance in the Crest, scoring five times in the win over Paraguay, with her goals coming in 3rd, 6th, 34th, 38th and 61st minutes. Lloyd’s third goal of the game put her ahead of Lilly on the USWNT’s all-time scoring charts and she now sits at 133 career international goals, trailing only Abby Wambach (184) and Mia Hamm (158). With her five-goal outpouring, Lloyd became just the ninth player the score five goals in a USWNT game, joining Brandi Chastain (1991), Michelle Akers (1991), Tiffany Milbrett (2002), Abby Wambach (2004), Amy Rodriguez (2012), Sydney Leroux (2012), Crystal Dunn (2016) and Alex Morgan (2019).
At 39 years old, Lloyd leads the team in both goals (10) and assists (6) in 2021 and has three more games remaining in her historic USWNT career. Lloyd will play her Farewell Match on Oct. 26 in Minnesota against Korea Republic. Lloyd is currently the second-most capped player in world soccer history with 313 games played for the USA and her 133 goals now rank fourth all-time in world history. Following the Oct. 26 match, Lloyd will have at least one more NWSL game to play before she hangs up her boots for good as NJ/NY Gotham FC finishes the regular season on Oct. 30 by hosting Racing Louisville at Red Bull Arena.
PUGH, PUGH, PUGH
Pugh, who made her senior national team debut in 2016 at the age of 17, impressed in her first action for the USWNT of the year and tallied a career-high three assists in the victory over Paraguay. The now 23-year-old Pugh is the first player to record three or more assists in a game since Alex Morgan dished out three assists in the USWNT’s 13-0 victory over Thailand at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Prior to Pugh’s start against Paraguay, her most recent game action for the USWNT came at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup at which she made one appearance, her lone action of 2020. Pugh tallied an assist on Lindsey Horan’s goal in the USA’s 3-1 win over Japan on March 11, 2020. She had not started a game for the USA since October 3, 2019, when she started and scored in the USA’s 2-0 win over Korea Republic.
Pugh, who took part in the USA’s January and SheBelieves Cup training camps earlier this year, has been in an excellent run of form with the Chicago Red Stars, scoring three times with three assists while causing havoc in opposing defensive thirds.
BACK IN THE BUCKEYE STATE
The Sept. 21 match in Cincinnati will be the 21st game the USWNT has played in the state of Ohio. The USWNT has an overall record of 17-1-2 in matches contested in the Buckeye State, having played matches in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Mansfield. The USA is 4-0-0 all-time when playing in Cincinnati, though this will be the first USWNT game – and first U.S. Soccer event – at TQL Stadium. The USWNT most recently beat New Zealand, 5-0, on September 19, 2017 at Nippert Stadium, powered a brace from Alex Morgan and goals from Pugh, Williams and Lindsey Horan.
QUEEN OF THE QUEEN CITY
Lavelle, one of the most popular and accomplished female athletes ever to come out of Cincinnati, will get a chance to play for the USA in her home city for the second time, but the first in the new state-of-the-art TQL Stadium, home of MLS side FC Cincinnati. The Mount Notre Dame High School graduate, who professes her love for her hometown at every opportunity, went on to star at Wisconsin and with the USA’s Youth National Teams before breaking through with the full USWNT over 2017-2018. Her dramatic goal in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final that clinched the 2-0 victory over Netherlands and the USA’s fourth World Cup title was wildly celebrated in Cincinnati, which celebrated Rose Lavelle Day on July 19, 2020. One newspaper led with “The Queen of the Queen City doesn’t wear a crown. She wears cleats.” Throngs of fans shouting "USA, USA" converged on Fountain Square and local officials and FC Cincinnati celebrated Lavelle, who had the World Cup Trophy with her, for her amazing achievement.
Lavelle was on-hand at TQL Stadium on September 18 as FC Cincinnati took on NYCFC in an MLS showdown, scoring a ceremonial penalty kick prior to the start of the match. Hamilton County, which encompasses Cincinnati, has declared 9/21/2021 as Rose Lavelle Day.
INSIDE THE SERIES: USA vs. PARAGUAY
Thursday’s matchup in Cleveland was the first meeting ever between the USWNT and Paraguay at the senior level.
The USA and Paraguay had squared off previously at the youth levels, playing once in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and twice in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Current USWNT players Crystal Dunn and Kristie Mewis played against Paraguay at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, a 3-1 U.S. victory. Kristie Mewis captained the squad while younger sister Samantha Mewis was an unused sub in that match.
In the USA’s 6-1 victory over Paraguay at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, forward Sophia Smith came off the bench in the second half. Three years later at the 2019 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, Smith started and scored twice in the USA’s 6-0 win over.
Paraguay became the 54th different country the USA has faced in its almost 36-year history.
SUCCESS ON HOME SOIL
The USA enters Tuesday’s game against Paraguay on a 59-game home unbeaten streak which includes 54 wins and five draws. During this home unbeaten streak, the USA has outscored its opponents 213-27, including an 83-3 margin during its last 21 matches at home, all of which have been wins. The USWNT's 21-game home winning streak dates back to a 3-2 win over Sweden on November 7, 2019, which was also Vlakto Andonovski’s first match in charge of the USWNT.
The 21-game home win streak is the second-longest such streak in program history and
is the team's longest since a 20-game home winning streak that spanned from October 2005 to October 2007. The USA's longest home winning streak was 23 games and spanned from April 1993 to February 1996.
The USA’s defense has been especially stout on home soil, pitching 19 clean sheets during the 21-game home winning streak, including an active streak of 11 consecutive shutouts. The USWNT last allowed a goal at home on March 11, 2020, in its 3-1 win over Japan to close out the 2020 SheBelieves Cup.
2023 WORLD CUP ON THE HORIZON
With COVID-19 delaying the Olympics, there is now less than a year until the start of qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be co-hosted in Australia and New Zealand beginning in July of 2023. The Concacaf qualifying tournament is scheduled to take place in July of 2022, with the top four teams guaranteeing their spot in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Two more Concacaf representatives will advance to a 10-team intercontinental play-off to determine the final teams in the expand 32-team field for 2023.
Also new this cycle is the qualifying format for Concacaf itself. On August 19, the confederation announced the qualifying path to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is now also the path to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris and, for a few teams, the newly instituted 2024 W Gold Cup. The newly dubbed 2021 Concacaf W Qualifiers will begin for all teams -- except the USA and Canada -- during the FIFA Women’s Match Windows in November 2021 and April 2022 and will serve as the preliminary round of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship. The eight team Concacaf W Championship will be held in July 2022 and will consist of group play, followed by semifinal and championship rounds. Along with qualifying for the World Cup, at conclusion of the Concacaf W Championship, the winning nation will also guarantee its place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games Women’s Football Tournament and the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup. The runner-up and the third-place nations will progress to a Concacaf Olympic play-in to be played in September of 2023. The winner of the play-in will also guarantee their place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games and the 2024 W Gold Cup.
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
As she enters her final three games in a U.S. uniform, Lloyd is by far the most experienced player on the roster with 313 caps and now has the second-most ever caps in USWNT history as she has moved past Christie Pearce Rampone (311). The next most experienced player on this roster -- defender Becky Sauerbrunn – is 119 caps behind her with 194.
The other players on this active roster with over 100 caps are forwards Alex Morgan (187) and Tobin Heath (178), defenders Kelley O’Hara (146) and defender Crystal Dunn (123).
Overall, 21 different players have been directly involved in at least one of the USWNT’s 58 goals in the 2021 calendar year.
So far this year, 13 players have scored the USA’s 58 goals: Carli Lloyd (10), Megan Rapinoe (9), Christen Press (6), Samantha Mewis (6), Alex Morgan (4), Lindsey Horan (4), Lynn Williams (4), Tobin Heath (3), Kristie Mewis (2), Margaret Purce (2), Rose Lavelle (2), Andi Sullivan (2) and Catarina Macario. Three of the USA’s 58 goals in 2021 have been own goals.
Twenty different players have also tallied an assist in 2021: Carli Lloyd (6), Christen Press (5), Lindsey Horan (5), Samantha Mewis (4), Mallory Pugh (3), Lynn Williams (3), Rose Lavelle (2), Megan Rapinoe (2), Kristie Mewis (2), Crystal Dunn (2), Julie Ertz (2), Tierna Davidson (2), Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Emily Sonnett, Casey Krueger, Sophia Smith, Tobin Heath, Catarina Macario and Andi Sullivan.
Carli Lloyd is the only player to have appeared in all 19 games for the USWNT in 2021. Lindsey Horan and Crystal Dunn have played in 18 matches each while Dunn leads the team with 17 starts on the year.
Vlatko Andonovski is 25-2-3 in 30 games as head coach of the USWNT (two at the end of 2019, nine in 2020 and 19 so far in 2021), setting a record for best start for a head coach in USWNT history.
IN FOCUS: PARAGUAY | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FIFA World Ranking: 50
CONMEBOL Ranking: 5
World Cup Appearances: N/A
Olympic Appearances: N/A
Record vs. USA: 0-1-0
Head Coach: Epifania Benítez
PARAGUAY DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): 12-Alicia Bobadilla (San Lorenzo de Almagro, ARG), 1-Cristina Recalde (C.D. Juan Grande, ESP)
DEFENDERS (9): 15-Sofía Almirón (Sol de América), 8-Lorena Alonso (Sol de América), 4-Daysy Bareiro (C.D. Juan Grande, ESP), 3-Limpia Fretes (Cerro Porteño), 13-Fiorella Martínez (Libertad-Limpeño), 2-María Martínez (Olimpia), 14-Deisy Ojeda (Olimpia), 11-Mirta Pico (Sol de América), 5-Tania Riso (Deportivo Capiatá)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 16-Cynthia Ayala (Minas Brasilia Futebol, BRA), 6-Fany Gauto (Santa Fe de Bogotá, COL), 10-Fanny Godoy (C.D. Juan Grande, ESP), 7-Celsa Sandoval (Esporte Clube Bahia, BRA), 17-Yanina Servín (Cerro Porteño)
FORWARDS (2): 18-Ramona Martínez (Olimpia), 9-Liz Peña (Libertad-Limpeño)
PARAGUAY ROSTER NOTES
Prior to Thursday’s match against the USA, Paraguay had played one match in 2021, a 7-0 loss to Japan in Sendai in April. Three matches against Colombia in June were cancelled due to COVID.
Paraguay finished fourth at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, wining Group A over Colombia, Mexico and Jamaica, before falling in the semifinal to Argentina (3-0) and in the bronze medal game to Costa Rica (1-0).
Paraguay went out in the group stage of the 2018 Copa America Femeina, finishing third in its group behind Colombia and Chile, but did draw Chile and beat Peru and Uruguay. Paraguay lost to Colombia 5-1. Its group finish did earn the berth to the 2019 Pan American Games.
Paraguay has brought a small roster – just 18 players – but nine players have 25 for more caps, led by defender Limpia Fretes (55 caps/10 goals) and midfielder Fanny Godoy (50/10), who plays in Spain for C.D. Juan Grande in the Spanish Second Division.
Paraguay’s tops scorer on this roster is midfielder Fabiola Sandoval, who has 25 goals in 44 caps. She played for Paraguay at the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, as did five of her teammates on this roster: D Lorena Alonso, D Daysy Bareiro, D Limpia Fretes, M Fanny Godoy and D Deisy Ojeda. All but Bareiro and Ojeda (who were on the bench) played against the USA U-20s during group play.
Paraguay utilized 14 players total in the first meeting against the USA, with Ramona Martinez, Cynthia Ayala and Liz Peña seeing the field as substitutes.
With the expansion of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to 32 countries, Paraguay will be hoping to earn one of three automatic berths via the 2023 Copa America Femenina or – if they can finish fourth or fifth -- one of two berths into the 10-team playoff tournament that will produce the last three teams for the World Cup tournament.