The U.S. Women’s National Team is set to play its final match stateside before kicking off the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, taking on Wales on Sunday, July 9 at PayPal Park in San Jose, California. The World Cup Send-Off Match presented by Visa will kick off at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT with broadcast coverage on TNT, Telemundo, Universo and Peacock. With less than three weeks until opening the group stage in New Zealand, the USA will play its final tune-up against a Wales side that narrowly missed out on World Cup qualification.
Get ready for the Send-Off Match with Five Things to Know about The Dragons.
MAIDEN MEETING IN THE BAY
Sunday’s game in San Jose will be the first meeting all-time between the USA and Wales, making Wales the 56th different opponent the USWNT has faced all-time.
Wales will be the 30th opponent the USA has faced from Europe and the team’s sixth different UEFA opponent since the start of 2022, having faced Czech Republic, Iceland, England, Spain and Germany last year and the Republic of Ireland earlier this spring.
While this will be the first ever meeting between the Women’s National Teams, the USA and Wales met recently at the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar, playing to a 1-1 draw in the opening game of the group stage.
Wales narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s’ World Cup, which would have been a first for The Dragons. Wales finished second in Group 1 in UEFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying, going 6W-2D-2L in group play while outscoring the opposition 22-5.
By virtue of the second-place finish in the group, Wales advanced to the UEFA playoffs, where they defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina in extra time in the first round, winning 1-0 behind a goal from Jess Fishlock in stoppage time of the first half.
In the second round, Wales found itself on the losing end, falling to Switzerland 2-1 after the 30-minutes of extra time. Rhiannon Roberts scored in the 19th minute of that match to give Wales the lead, but Switzerland equalized in the 45th minute and dramatically won the game in 121st minute to avoid the imminent penalty kick shoutout.
RECENT RUN OF FORM
Since falling to Switzerland in the playoff in October, Wales has been on a six-game unbeaten run, closing 2022 with 1-1 draw against Finland and then opening 2023 with a 1-0 victory over the Philippines at the Pinatar Cup. Wales closed out the Pinatar Cup, played in Spain, with draws against Iceland (0-0) and Scotland (1-1) before returning home to Cardiff, where they defeated Northern Ireland 4-1 to open the April international window. Wales then traveled to Portugal and played the hosts – a team the USA will face in the third group stage match of the World Cup – to a 1-1 draw behind a 73rd minute equalizer from forward Rachel Rowe.
INSIDE THE ROSTER
Wales head coach Gemma Graingerhas called up a 23-player roster for Sunday’s game against the USA. Missing from the squad for the game in San Jose will be defender Sophie Ingle, who has captained the squad as of late. Ingle, who helped Chelsea FC win the FA Women’s Super League this spring, is suspended from the match after receiving a red card in her most recent international match, which came in the 1-1 draw with Portugal on April 11.
Sixteen of the 23 players on this Wales roster play their club soccer in England, with three players each on Manchester United and Bristol City. Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Reading have two players each while Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur are all represented on this roster.
Five players are currently unattached as they are between contracts, and goalkeeper Laura O’Sullivan plays domestically for Cardiff City Ladies. Midfielder Jess Fishlock, the most capped player in Wales Women’s National Team history, has played every season of NWSL in the United States for OL Reign.
WALES WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEM ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (3): 1-Laura O'Sullivan (Cardiff City Ladies), 12-Olivia Clark (Bristol City, ENG), 21-Saffia Middleton-Patel (Manchester United, ENG)
Defenders (9): 2-Lily Woodham (Reading (ENG), 3-Gemma Evans (Reading (ENG), 5-Rhiannon Roberts (Unattached), 18-Esther Morgan (Unattached), 23-Ffion Morgan (Bristol City, ENG)
Midfielders (11): 6-Jose Green (Leicester City, ENG), 7-Ceri Holland (Liverpool, ENG), 8- Angharad James (Tottenham Hotspur, ENG), 10-Jess Fishlock (OL Reign, USA), 13-Mary McAteer (Unattached), 14-Hayley Ladd (Manchester United, ENG), 16-Charlie Estcourt (Unattached), 19-Megan Wynne (Southampton, ENG), 20-Carrie Jones (Manchester United, ENG), 22-Anna Filbey (Crystal Palace, ENG), 24-Chloe Williams (Blackburn Rovers, ENG)
Forwards (4): 9-Kayleigh Green (Unattached), 11-Hannah Cain (Leicester City, ENG), 15-Elise Hughes (Crystal Palace, ENG), 17-Ella Powell (Bristol City, ENG)
THE FANTASTIC MS. FISHLOCK
Fishlock, whose 141 caps are by far the most on the roster is also far and away the leading scorer on this roster with 36 international goals. A five-time Welsh Footballer of the Year, Fishlock made her international debut in 2006 and in 2017 became the first Welsh player – male or female – to reach 100 caps.
The now 36-year-old Fishlock has had a long and well-traveled club career as well, spending time under contract or on loan in Wales, England, the Netherlands, Australia, Scotland, Germany, France and the United States. Since the start of 2013, she has been under contract in the NWSL with OL Reign, where she has been a longtime teammate of the USA’s Megan Rapinoe and currently also plays alongside Alana Cook, Sofia Huerta, Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett. During her time in Seattle, Fishlock has helped the club win three NWSL Shields (2014, 2015, 2022), was named the 2021 NWSL Most Valuable Player and is a five-time NWSL Best XI First Team selection (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2021).