PREVIEW: USWNT Set to Face Australia in SydneyWatch Australia-USA on Friday, November 26 at 11 p.m. ET on FS2
After a long year in which the U.S. Women’s National Team has played 22 matches under strict COVID protocols, the USA will wrap up its 2021 schedule with its 23rd and 24th matches of the year, both against Australia, co-host of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The first match will take place at Stadium Australia in Sydney on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. local time (Friday, Nov. 26 at 11 p.m. ET on FS2) in what will be the third meeting between this USA and Australia this calendar year.The teams played twice at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Following the match in Sydney, the USA will play its final game of 2021 in Newcastle, kicking off against the on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 8:05 p.m. local/4:05 a.m. ET on ESPN.
USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns FC; 0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 7), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0)
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 2/0), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC; 77/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 43/1), Imani Dorsey (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 0/0), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 6/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 7/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 197/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 61/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 106/24), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 66/17), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 12/3), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 31/4), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 0/0), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 20/2)
FORWARDS (6):Bethany Balcer (OL Reign; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 7/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 10/1), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 43/13), Morgan Weaver (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0)
The roster for the Australia matches features 10 players who won bronze medals at the 2020 Olympics and six who were on the team that won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but there are only two players on the roster age 30 or older – 36-year-old defender Becky Sauerbrunn and 30-year-old midfielder Kristie Mewis. The average age of the remaining 21 players will be 25.6 years on the first match day in Australia. The average caps per player on the 23-player roster is 30. With six of the 23 players on this roster in search of their first full senior team caps. Twenty-two of the 23 players on the roster play in the National Women’s Soccer League with 18 on teams that made the NWSL playoffs and four from the 2021 NWSL Champions Washington Spirit.
INSIDE THE SERIES: USA vs. AUSTRALIA
The USA has played Australia 32 times overall, including twice earlier this summer at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan. The teams played to a 0-0 draw on July 27 in the final match of the group stage. The result sent the USA through as the second-place finisher in Group G while Australia advanced to the knockout rounds from third in the Group G standings. The teams met again nine days later in Kashima, Japan, squaring off in the bronze medal match. The Americans won 4-3 as Megan Rapinoe and the now-retired Carli Lloyd each scored twice, helping the USA claim its sixth all-time Olympic medal. Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Emily scored for the in the defeat.
The USA leads the all-time series between the teams, 27-1-4 and while the two countries first met in 1987, Australia only beat the USA for the first time on June 27, 2018, a 1-0 victory in Seattle, Washington. The teams tied 1-1 on June 29, 2018, in East Hartford, Connecticut, but the USA picked up a rousing win in the most recent meeting before the Olympics, a 5-3 triumph on April 4, 2019, in Commerce City, Colorado. Alex Morgan scored her 100th international goal, Mallory Pugh tallied a brace in front of her hometown crowd and Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath added goals of their own in a thrilling matchup that also saw the USA erase a 2-1 deficit. Lindsey Horan is the only player on this current U.S. roster who has scored against Australia at the senior international level.
Over its last five games with Australia, the USA has a record of 2-1-2 and all three matches have been decided by two goals or fewer.
RETURN DOWN UNDER
The U.S. Women’s National Team has not played in Australia in 21 years. The most recent visits were in 2000, a year in which the USA played in three different competitions in Australia, the final one being the Sydney Olympics where the USA earned a silver medal. The USA has never played Australia in Sydney, but did play the in Newcastle in 2000, winning 1-0, which was the most recent meeting between the teams in Australia.
Football Australia expects large crowds for both matches as this will be the first time the have played at Stadium Australia. Football Australia is looking to break the attendance record for a WNT match of 33,600 set vs. Sweden at the Sydney Olympics. The largest crowd ever to watch the USA outside the United States in a friendly match is 40,000 at USA vs. China in 2003 in Wuhan. The second largest crowd to watch the USA in a friendly outside the USA was 34,885 against Japan in Yokohama in 1998 in a doubleheader with the Japan Men’s National Team.
2023 FIFA WOMEN’S 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 playoff tournament 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.
The U.S. roster features six players who have played -- mostly on loan -- for clubs in the W-League during the Australian summer. Kristie Mewis played briefly for Canberra United in 2013 and Abby Dahlkemper played for Adelaide United in 2015. Sofia Huerta played two seasons, one for Adelaide United during the 2016-2017 season when she was named the club’s player of the year and one for Sydney FC during the 2018-2019 season. Huerta played every minute of every game for Sydney, scoring a goal in the semifinal match against Brisbane, which Sydney won 2–1. Huerta scored again in the Grand Final, helping Sydney to a 4–2 victory over Perth, to win the 2018–19 W-League Championship. Ashley Hatch played for Melbourne City in 2017-2018, the same season Emily Sonnett played for Sydney FC. Lynn Williams played briefly for Western Sydney in 2019.
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
Becky Sauerbrunn is by far the most experienced player on the roster with 197 caps Lindsey Horan (106) caps is the only other player on this roster with 100+ caps.
Thirteen players on this USA roster have 10 caps or fewer, including six uncapped players: Bethany Balcer, Bella Bixby, Imani Dorsey, Casey Murphy, Ashley Sanchez and Morgan Weaver.
Just one player -- Carli Lloyd – has played in every game in 2021. Her streak will end on Nov. 27. Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan and Alex Morgan have played in 20 matches each while Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn have played in 19 each.
Overall, 21 different players have been directly involved in at least one of the USWNT’s goals during the 2021 calendar year with either a goal or an assist, ten of whom are on this roster.
Horan and Lynn Williams have five goals each in 2021, the most by anyone on this 23-player roster. Horan and Rose Lavelle have five assists each, which also leads this roster and is tied for second on the team overall in 2021, behind Lloyd’s six assists.
Eight of the 10 NWSL clubs have players on the roster with Portland Thorns FC having five. OL Reign and the Washington Spirit have four each.
Eleven players on the roster have represented the USA in a FIFA Women’s World Cup at the youth level.
Vlatko Andonovski is 27-2-4 in 33 games as head coach of the USWNT (two at the end of 2019, nine in 2020 and 22 so far in 2021), setting a record for best start for a head coach in USWNT history.
Of first 33 games, 24 have been at home and 15 have been against teams ranked in the top-13 in the world. first game in charge was against Sweden, a 3-2 win on Nov. 7, 2019.
IN FOCUS: AUSTRALIA | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FIFA World Ranking: 11
AFC Ranking: 2
World Cup Appearances: 7 – 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
2023 World Cup Qualifying: Automatic qualifier (co-host)
Record vs. USA: 1-27-4
Last Meeting vs. USA: Aug. 5, 2021 (USA won, 4-3)
Head Coach: Tony Gustavsson
AUSTRALIA DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Lydia Williams (Arsenal, ENG), 12-Teagan Micah (, NOR), 18-Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham United, ENG)
DEFENDERS (9): 4-Clare Polkinghorne ( GIK, SWE), 14-Alanna Kennedy (Manchester City, ENG), 7-Steph Catley (Arsenal, ENG), 21-Ellie Carpenter (Lyon, FRA), 3-Courtney Nevin (Melbourne Victory), 8-Charlotte Grant (, Sweden), 5-Karly (LSK , NOR), 2-Angela Beard (Fortuna , DEN), 24-Jessika Nash (Sydney FC)
MIDFIELDERS (4):19-Kyra Cooney-Cross (Melbourne Victory), 10-Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride), 13-Tameka (West Ham United, ENG), 6-Clare Wheeler (Fortuna , DEN)
FORWARDS (9): 20-Sam Kerr (Chelsea, ENG), 9-Caitlin Foord (Arsenal, ENG), 11-Mary Fowler (Montpellier, FRA), 15-Emily (Aston Villa, ENG), 16-Hayley Raso (Everton, ENG), 17-Kyah Simon (Tottenham Hotspur, NED), 22-Bryleeh Henry (Western Sydney Wanderers), 23-Remy Siemsen (Sydney FC), 25-Charlize Rule (Sydney FC)
AUSTRALIA ROSTER NOTES
Since falling to the USA in the bronze medal match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Australia is 1-1-1 in its last three outings. The Matilda’s fell to the Republic of Ireland, 3-2 on September 22 in Dublin, before returning to Australia during the October international window to play their first home games in nearly 600 days. Australia beat Brazil, 3-1, on October 23 and the teams played to a 2-2 draw three days later. Both matches against Brazil were played in Sydney.
Australia, despite having 23 of the 25 players on its roster in their 20s or younger, is one of the most experienced teams in the world. Five players have 100 or more caps, led by defender Clare Polkinghorne, who has played 138 times and scored 13 goals for the . Midfielder Emily van Egmond (110/24), defender Alana Kennedy (101/8), forward Kya Simon (103/26) and Sam Kerr (102/49), are the other members of the Century Club on the roster.
Veteran Tameka is on 99 caps and is set to earn her 100th in Sydney. would become the 12th 100-capped Matilda all-time. The USA has 41 players who have played 100 or more times for the USA, 11 who have played 200 or more times and three in the 300-cap club.
Australia has 12 players on its roster who have scored at the full international level. The USA has nine.
Only six of Australia’s players are currently with clubs in their homeland. Only one is currently in the USA (van Egmond; Orlando Pride) and the other 18 are spread out over Europe. England is a popular destination for the , with nine players playing in the Women’s Super League, but three players are in Sweden, two are in France (including defender Ellie Carpenter at Lyon where she’s a teammate with the USA’s Catarina Macario), two are in Denmark and one player is in Norway.
With 49 international goals, Kerr is not only the leading scorer on the roster but is the all-time leading scorer in Australia Women’s National Team history, and with one more goal, will tie Tim Cahill as the all-time leader in Australia soccer history.
Australia is preparing for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup that will be contested in January 20-Feb. 6 in India. The 12-team tournament is split into three groups of four teams each. Australia was drawn into Group B with Indonesia (Jan. 21), Philippines (Jan. 24) and Thailand (Jan. 27). All three of Australia’s group games will be played in Mumbai.