USWNT Faces Iceland In Decisive Finale At 2022 SheBelieves Cup, Pres. By VisaWatch USA-Iceland on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and PrendeTV
The 2022 SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa will come to a conclusion on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas as the USA and Iceland are set to meet in the de facto championship game at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and PrendeTV. By virtue of victories over New Zealand (1-0) and the Czech Republic (2-1), Iceland sits atop the tournament table with six points and needs a tie or a win to lift the SheBelieves Cup in its tournament debut. The USA is on four points and needs a victory to lift the SheBelieves Cup trophy for the third year a row. A victory over Iceland would give the USA a fifth title in the seven-year history of the tournament.
The USA heads into Wednesday’s final match day on the heels of a 5-0 victory over New Zealand on Sunday afternoon at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Leading 3-0 at halftime after three own goals by New Zealand in the opening 45 minutes, forward Ashley Hatch found the back of the net in the 51st minute, heading home a cross from defender Sofia Huerta. Mallory Pugh added an exclamation point in stoppage time, scoring her first goal for the USWNT since late 2019 as she broke in behind the defense and finished her one-on-one chance.
The USA has kept back-to-back clean sheets and has allowed just one shot on target in each of the first two matches at the SheBelieves Cup.
New Zealand (0 points) and the Czech Republic (1 point) will meet at 5 p.m. CT on ESPN3 in the first doubleheader of the day. Both teams no longer in contention for the tournament title.
USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 0), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 3), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 79)
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 6/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 47/1), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 10/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 10/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 149/2), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 64/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 201/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars; 88/8), Jaelin Howell (Racing Louisville FC; 3/0) Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 69/18), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA; 14/3), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 35/4), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 4/0), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 24/2)
FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 5/3), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 69/19), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 11/2), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 12/1), Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current; 46/14)
The U.S. roster for the 2022 SheBelieves Cup is made up almost entirely of players who attended the USWNT January training camp in Austin, Texas, with the addition of midfielder Catarina Macario, who missed the event due to an important match in France with her club Olympique Lyonnais, and veteran Becky Sauerbrunn, who missed the camp due to a minor injury. Sauerbrunn came on late in the second half against the Czech Republic to earn her historic 200th cap while 19-year-old Trinity Rodman came on in the 60th minute to make her USWNT debut. Rodman becomes the fourth teenager since 2010 to earn a cap for the USWNT, joining Tierna Davidson, Mallory Pugh and Lindsey Horan and is the 11th player to earn a first cap under USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
INSIDE THE SERIES: USA vs. ICELAND
The matchup in Frisco will be the 15th meeting all-time between the USA and Iceland, but the first since 2015 when the teams played to a 0-0 draw at the Algarve Cup. The USWNT leads the all-time series 12-0-2, with its only other non-win against Iceland coming in a 0-0 draw in April of 2000.
The last five meetings between the teams all took place at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, with the USA going 4-0-1 over those last five meetings and outscoring Iceland by an overall margin of 10-2. Three players on this current USA roster – Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Morgan Gautrat (formerly Brian) saw action in the 2015 match.
Wednesday’s game will be the first between the teams in the USA since 2006 when the USWNT beat Iceland, 2-1, in a friendly played at the University of Richmond.
Team captain Becky Sauerbrunn played in her historic 200th match for the USA on Feb. 17 against the Czech Republic making her the 12th player in USWNT history to play 200 or more times. She is just the fourth defender to hit 200 caps, but just the second to almost exclusively have earned every cap on the back line, joining USWNT General Manager Kate Markgraf. On Feb. 20, Sauerbrunn moved into a tie with Markgraf for 11th on the USWNT all-time caps list with 201 caps. Should she see the field on Wednesday against Iceland, Sauerbrunn would move into a tie with goalkeeper Hope Solo for 10th on the all-time appearances list.
With Sauerbrunn’s addition, the USA’s 200-cap club is now comprised Kristine Lilly (354 caps), Carli Lloyd (316), Christie Pearce Rampone (311), Mia Hamm (276), Julie Foudy (274), Abby Wambach (255), Joy Fawcett (241), Heather O’Reilly (231), Tiffeny Milbrett (206), Solo (202), Markgraf (201) and Sauerbrunn (201).
A two-time World Cup champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Sauerbrunn has started in 169 of her 20 caps and at 36 years of age, became the oldest player in USWNT history to reach 200 caps.
VISA SHEBELIEVES CUP MVP
For the third year in a row, Visa, the presenting sponsor of the SheBelieves Cup, will award the MVP trophy to the most outstanding player of the tournament. The award will be announced following the conclusion of the final match and with the input of a selection committee comprised of representatives from all competing nations. For the second consecutive year, fans will also get the opportunity to vote for the Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP award using an online ballot to select among a list of finalists chosen by the committee. The fan vote will be incorporated into the overall determination of the 2021 Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP. Spain attacker and reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Alexia Putellas won the inaugural award in 2020 while USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle took home the honors in 2021 after leading the USA to its second consecutive title.
This year’s committee is comprised of committee chair Jene Baclawski, Carli Lloyd (USA), Hana Vymolova (Czech Republic), Jenny Bindon (New Zealand), and Borghildur Sigurdardottir and Sigurdur Poroarson (Iceland).
SHEBELIEVES CUP IN YEAR SEVEN
The SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa, is just one part of U.S. Soccer’s SheBelieves initiative to inspire and empower women and girls to achieve their goals in sport and beyond. The tournament, which will feature six total games, was first played in 2016. The USA won the inaugural edition, France took top honors in 2017, the USA won again in 2018, England finished first in 2019 and the USA returned to the top of the podium in both 2020 and 2021.
The tournament format for the 2022 SheBelieves Cup is the same as the first six years. The winner will be determined by total points (three for a win, one for a draw), with the first tiebreaker being overall goal difference, followed by goals scored, then head-to-head result. If teams are still tied, the next tiebreaker will be the Fair Play ranking based on yellow and red cards. Each team is allowed six substitutes per game over three sub opportunities and two concussions subs, if necessary. Halftime subs, concussion substitutions and/or additional substitutions due to an opponent’s concussion sub do not count against the three opportunities limit.
The SheBelieves Cup is just one part of the broader SheBelieves movement, an initiative led by U.S. Soccer to inspire and encourage women and girls. The campaign launched in the run-up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup and has since grown into a powerful message of empowerment and believing in oneself. The SheBelieves Cup represents a showcase event for the campaign, which also features efforts such as the SheBelieves Summit Presented by Deloitte, SheBelieves Hero™, a nationwide search for a young community leader who embodies the SheBelieves ethos, SheBelieves Ambassador, a program where female focused nonprofit organizations partner with U.S. Soccer to bring the SheBelieves movement to their community, SheBelieves Rocks, a music competition for female bands, and SheBelieves FanArt, a celebration of the artwork created by fans.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The USA carries a 64-game home unbeaten streak into the match which includes 57 wins and seven draws. During this home unbeaten streak, the USA has outscored its opponents 232-27, including a 102-3 margin during its last 26 matches at home, all of which have been wins save for the 0-0 draw with Korea Republic on Oct. 21 and the scoreless draw vs Czech Republic on Feb. 17. The match against South Korea ended the USA’s home winning streak at 22 consecutive games, the second-longest such streak in USWNT history. The USA's longest home winning streak was 23 games and spanned from April 1993 to February 1996.
The USA has not allowed a goal on home soil in nearly two years, last conceding at home on March, 11, 2020 in a 3-1 win over Japan in the final match of the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. Since then, they’ve kept a program record 16 straight home clean sheets, the longest such streak in program history. Four different goalkeepers have played a hand in this shutout streak, with Alyssa Naeher registering seven of the 16 home shutouts. Jane Campbell (4 clean sheets), Adrianna Franch (3) and Casey Murphy (1) also registered a shutout during this span, with Naeher and Franch also pitching a combined shutout on July 1 vs Mexico.
The U.S. Women are no stranger to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, which is also home to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. This will be the USA’s 11th match at the home of Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas. Toyota Stadium was the venue for the USA’s final match before the global pandemic shut down sports all over the globe in March of 2020, in which the USA beat Japan, 3-1, to clinch the 2020 SheBelieves Cup title. The USWNT has a perfect record in Texas, winning all 29 matches its played in the Lone Star State. The Americans have outscored opponents, 123–11, in those 29 matches in Texas.
ALL EYES ON WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
A new cycle is underway with less than five months until the start of qualifying 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 Monterrey, Mexico from July 4-18, 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, 2021, 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 Championship began for all teams -- except the USA and Canada -- during this February FIFA window and serves as the preliminary round the World Cup and Olympic qualifiers. The eight team Concacaf W Championship 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.
USA ROSTER NOTES
- On Feb. 23, the USWNT will play its 700th official match and have won 548 of the first 699 matches. The USWNT has won a major tournament in each of the seven 100-game spans.
- Sauerbrunn is by far the most experienced player on the roster with 201 caps. Defender Kelley O’Hara is the only other player on this roster with 100+ caps, with O’Hara having 149 international appearances.
- Eleven players on the roster have 12 caps for fewer: Sophia Smith, Sofia Huerta, Margaret Purce, Emily Fox, Ashley Hatch, Alana Cook, Casey Murphy, Jaelin Howell, Ashley Sanchez, Aubrey Kingsbury and Trinity Rodman. Huerta and Fox both hit 10 caps against New Zealand on Feb. 20. Kingsbury is the only uncapped player on this roster.
- Sauerbrunn is the oldest player on the roster (36.7 years old) while Rodman is the youngest (19.8 years old). Rodman was five-years-old when Sauerbrunn made her USWNT debut.
- Nine players on the roster are under the age of 25: Cook, Mallory Pugh, Fox, Tierna Davidson, Sanchez, Catarina Macario, Howell, Sophia Smith and Rodman.
- The average caps per player on 23-player roster is 41.
- Mallory Pugh is the leading scorer on this roster with 19 international goals, followed by Rose Lavelle with 18 goals. Lynn Williams (14 goals) is the only other player on this roster with 10 or more international goals.
- Eight field players on this roster have yet to score an international goal.
IN FOCUS: ICELAND | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
Current FIFA World Ranking: 16
UEFA Ranking: 10
FIFA Country Code: ISL
2023 World Cup qualifying: Currently second in UEFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Group C behind the Netherlands with five points from four matches.
World Cup appearances: None
Best World Cup Finish: N/A
Record vs. USA: 0-12-2
Last Meeting vs. USA: March 9, 2015, a 0-0 draw at the Algarve Cup in Portugal
Coach: Thorsteinn Halldorsson
ICELAND DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Sandra Sigurðardóttir (Valur), 12-Telma Ívarsdóttir (Breidablik), 13-Cecilía Rán Rúnarsdóttir (Bayern Munich, GER)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Sif Atladóttir (Selfoss), 3-Elísa Viðarsdóttir (Valur), 4-Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir (Bayern Munich, GER), 6-Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir (Valerenga, NOR), 11-Hallbera Guðný Gísladóttir (Kalmar, SWE), 18-Guðrún Arnardóttir (Rosengard, SWE), 19-Natasha Moraa Anasi (Breidablik), 20-Ásta Eir Árnadóttir (Breidablik)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 5-Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir (Orlando Pride, USA), 7-Karitas Tómasdóttir (Breidablik), 8-Karólína Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir (Bayern Munich, GER), 10-Dagný Brynjarsdóttir (West Ham, ENG), 14-Selma Sól Magnúsdóttir (Rosenborg, NOR), 15-Alexandra Jóhannsdóttir (Frankfurt, GER), 16-Amanda Andradóttir (Kristianstad, SWE), 17-Agla María Albersdóttir (BK Hacken, SWE), 22-Ída María Hermannsdóttir (Valur)
FORWARDS (3): 9-Berglind Björg Þorvaldsdóttir (Brann, NOR), 21-Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir (Brann, NOR), 23-Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir (Wolfsburg, GER)
ICELAND ROSTER NOTES
- Iceland has scored three goals and allowed one over its first two matches of the 2022 SheBelieves Cup, both wins, and put together solid performances in both. Against New Zealand in the 1-0 win, Iceland scored before 60 seconds had elapsed and got two first half goals in the 2-1 victory vs. the Czech Republic, even though the Czechs had a 22-15 shot margin.
- Iceland has a big year coming up, starting with the SheBelieves Cup, World Cup qualifiers in April, the UEFA Women’s Euro this summer in England and more World Cup qualifiers in September.
- Iceland has a few strong teams in its domestic league, but in a credit to the talent on the National Team, 15 players on this SheBelieves Cup roster are playing outside of Iceland with some of the top women’s clubs in the world.
- Iceland’s one player in the NWSL is fan favorite Gunnhildur “Gunny” Jonsdottir, who played for the Utah Royals from 2018-2020 and is currently with the Orlando Pride. She has 86 caps and 12 international goals.
- Five players play in Germany, four in Norway, four in Sweden and one in England.
- After Natasha Anasi scored her first international goal in Iceland’s 2-1 win vs. the Czech Republic, Iceland has 13 players that have scored internationally. The USA has 12 players who have scored internationally on this tournament roster.
- American fans may be familiar with the 5-foot-11 Dagný Brynjarsdóttir who helped Florida State to the NCAA title in 2014 and has played at Bayern Munich, with the Portland Thorns from 2016-2019 and currently is with West Ham in England. She has 33 career international goals most of this roster and third most ever for her country, and 98 caps. She scored 44 career goals for the Seminoles.
- Iceland’s all-time caps leader Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir currently plays in Lyon with USWNT players Lindsey Horan and Catarina Macario, but she is not on this roster as she makes a comeback from having a baby.
- Iceland’s most capped goalkeeper on this roster is 35-year-old Sandra Sigurðardóttir (39 caps), who plays domestically with Valur, but Telma Ívarsdóttir played very well in her international debut on Feb. 20 vs. Czech Republic.
- This summer, Iceland will be playing in the UEFA Women’s Euros for the fourth time and fourth in a row. Iceland advanced to the quarterfinals in 2013 where it lost to host Sweden, 4-0, but failed to get out of the group in 2009 in Finland and 2017 in the Netherlands.
- Iceland will play in Group D this summer in England where it was drawn with France, Italy and Belgium, a difficult group to be sure, but not insurmountable.
- Iceland is currently in a battle in its UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifying group, sitting in second place with nine points with three ones and one loss from four matches behind the Netherlands, which has three wins and two draws from five matches. The second-place teams in each qualifying group will make the playoffs. The Czech Republic is nipping at Iceland’s heels with one win, two draws and one loss for five points from four matches.