Five Things to Know: USA vs. Argentina

Coming off a dominant 5-0 win over the Dominican Republic to open the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team will face Argentina on Friday, Feb. 23, on the second match day of Group A play. Kickoff is set for 10:15 p.m. ET / 7:15 p.m. PT at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., with broadcast coverage available in English on Paramount+ and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.

The U.S. currently leads Group A with three points (1W-0D-0L; +5 goal differential) while Argentina is in second with one point (0W-1D-0L; 0 GD) following a scoreless draw against Mexico.

Get set for the USWNT’s second group stage match with Five Things to Know about USA vs. Argentina.

ARGENTINA DRAWS MEXICO IN GOLD CUP OPENER

Argentina and Mexico played to a 0-0 draw on Friday afternoon at Dignity Health Sports Park in the first group stage match of the Concacaf W Gold Cup. Mexico had a chance to grab the lead in the ninth minute after they were awarded a penalty kick following a foul in the box, but Mexican captain Rebeca Bernal put her attempt wide left.

Mexico had the better of play on the afternoon, outshooting Argentina 16-3 with a 5-1 advantage in shots on target. But the Argentinian defense stood strong and goalkeeper Laurina Oliveros did well when called into action, finishing the game with four saves. Forward Mariana Larroquette, who plays for the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League, led the Argentinian attack and created two chances late in the first half but was unable to convert.

The hard-fought battle saw four yellow cards handed out, three to Mexico and one to Argentina midfielder Romina Nunez.

ARGENTINA AS OF LATE

One of four South American participants in the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup, Argentina was invited to participate in this tournament after finishing third at the 2022 CONMEBOL Copa America Femenina.  At that tournament, which was held in Colombia in July of 2022, Argentina qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by defeating Paraguay 3-1 in the Third-Place Match. The dramatic victory saw Argentina fall behind on an own goal, before storming back to score three goals in the final 12 minutes of play – including a game winner in the 90th – to punch its ticket to Australia and New Zealand.

The 2023 World Cup was Argentina’s second consecutive and fourth Women’s World Cup overall.

La Albiceleste finished fourth in Group G, drawing South Africa and playing Italy and Sweden to hard-fought losses. Defender Sophia Braun, who grew up in Oregon and plays for the Kansas City Current in NWSL, and midfielder Romina Nuñez, scored for Argentina in the 2-2 draw against South Africa.

INSIDE THE ROSTER: ARGENTINA

With just two goalkeepers for the tournament, Argentina’s roster for the Concacaf W Gold Cup stands at 22 players – 15 of whom were on the roster for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The roster features two current NWSL players in Braun, who signed with the Current in January of 2024  from Club Léon in Liga MX Femenil, and Larroquette, who is set to begin her second season with the Orlando Pride and spent time with the KC Current in 2021, scoring two goals in 19 appearances. Two more players on this roster are currently competing for U.S. colleges in University of Southern Alabama forward Chiara Singarella and CSU Bakersfield defender Catalina Roggerone. 

ARGENTINA WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB)

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Vanina Correa (Rosario Central), 12-Laurina Oliveros (Boca Juniors)

DEFENDERS (7): 2-Adriana Sachs (Racing Club), 3-Eliana Stabile (Boca Juniors), 4-Julieta Cruz (Boca Juniors), 6-Aldana Cometti (Madrid CFF, ESP), 13-Sophia Braun (Kansas City Current, USA), 18-Celeste Dos Santos (Boca Juniors), 21-Catalina Roggerone (Cal-State Bakersfield, USA)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 5-Vanina Preininger (Boca Juniors), 7-Romina Nuñez (UAI Urquiza), 8-Daiana Falfan (Granada, ESP), 10-Dalila Ippolito (Pomigliano, ITA), 14-Miriam Mayorga (Boca Juniors), 15-Maricel Pereyra (San Lorenzo), 17-Camila Gomez Ares (Boca Juniors)

FORWARDS (6): 9-Estefania Palomar (Boca Juniors), 11-Yamila Rodriguez (Palmerias, BRA), 16-Lorena Benitez (Palmeiras, BRA), 19-Mariana Larroquette (Orlando Pride, USA), 20-Chiara Singarella (University of South Alabama, USA), 22-Nina Nicosia (Pachuca, MEX)

INSIDE THE SERIES: USA vs. ARGENTINA

Friday’s matchup in Carson will be the fifth meeting all-time between the USA and Argentina and the first in an official competition. The U.S. has won each of the previous four meetings, the most recent of which came nearly three years ago on February 24, 2021, during the SheBelieves Cup. The USWNT won that match 6-0 in Orlando, Florida  behind a brace from Megan Rapinoe and goals from Carli Lloyd, Kristie Mewis, Christen Press and Alex Morgan. Rose Lavelle, Casey Krueger, Lindsey Horan and Sophia Smith, all of whom are on the U.S. roster for the W Gold Cup, tallied assists in that match as the USA clinched its fourth SheBelieves Cup title, becoming the first back-to-back champions in tournament history.

The other three meetings between the teams all came in friendlies, a 7-0 win for the U.S. in Brazil on December 18, 2014, in which goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher earned her first cap – and first shutout – and two victories for the Americans in April of 1998, an 8-1 win in Fullerton, California and a 7-0 victory in San Jose.

Overall, the USWNT is unbeaten in its last 25 matches against CONMEBOL competition and has won 16 of its last 17 games against South American opponents. The USA faced two South American opponents in 2023, defeating Brazil 2-1 in the finale of the 2023 SheBelieves Cup and faced Colombia twice during the October international window – a 0-0 draw in Sandy, Utah on Oct. 26 and a 3-0 win for the Americans on Oct. 29 in San Diego.

CALIFORNIA CONNECTION: JENNA NIGHSWONGER

One of three Southern California natives on the USA’s Gold Cup roster, defender Jenna Nighswonger continued the fast start to her U.S. Women’s National Team career, scoring her first career goal in the USA’s 5-0 win over the Dominican Republic.

Nighswonger earned her first call-up for the USWNT’s December 2023 camp after an impressive debut season in the NWSL in which she earned Rookie of the Year honors and helped NJ/NY Gotham FC win the 2023 NWSL Championship. The Huntington Beach product made her international debut on Dec. 2, 2023 in Ft. Lauderdale, coming on midway through the second half and made her first start three days later, playing the full 90 minutes in the USA’s year-end victory over China PR.

Nighswonger, the fourth pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft out of Florida State, made her second consecutive start and first for the U.S. in an official competition on Tuesday against the Dominican Republic and once again went the distance. After showing off her pace and attacking prowess down the wing all evening, Nighswonger made the night even more memorable as she scored her first international goal in the 86th minute, coolly converting from the penalty spot. She became the 122nd player all-time to score for the USWNT and at 23 years and 86 days old, the youngest player to convert a penalty for the USWNT since Aly Wagner (23 years, 28 days) on September 7, 2003, against Mexico.