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The U.S. Women’s National Team continues its quest for gold at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil with its quarterfinal match against Sweden on Friday, Aug. 12 at Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia. Here are five things to know about the #USWNT heading into the quarterfinal match, which kicks off at 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBC Universo and NBCOlympics.com.
Road to Rio
After winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the number-one ranked U.S. WNT shifted its focus to the 2016 Olympics in hopes of becoming the first nation to win both tournaments in consecutive years. The USA began 2016 with a 5-0 win in a friendly against Ireland, followed by first place finishes in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February and the inaugural SheBelieves Cup in March.
The U.S. has compiled a 16-0-2 record in 2016, earning 15 shutouts while allowing just six goals, three of which came against Japan on June 2. Alex Morgan leads the team with 12 goals this year, followed by Carli Lloyd and Crystal Dunn, each with 11. Goalkeeper Hope Solo is 14-0-2 with 12 shutouts, including the 100th of her career, earned against South Africa on July 9 in Chicago.
For the Olympics, the WNT will wear new home kits featuring the letters “USA” on the chest in place of the crest to align with the Olympic tournament’s uniform regulations.
Blend of Talent
The USA roster is made up of 18 players, including two goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders and four forwards, but numerous players on the roster can and have played multiple positions. Lloyd, Solo and winger Tobin Heath join a list of 12 other U.S. players to be named to three Olympic rosters. Of the 18 players, 11 are on an Olympic Team for the first time.
Four players (Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Allie Long and Mallory Pugh) are the only players who were not on the 2015 Women’s World Cup-winning side. Pugh is the youngest player on the team at 18 years, 3 months and 14 days old, while Solo is the oldest at 35 years and 4 days old.
The roster has a combined 81 Olympic appearances and 17 goals – all scored by Lloyd (8), Morgan (5), Dunn (1), Pugh (1) and Megan Rapinoe (2), who made a remarkable recovery to make the team after tearing her ACL in December of 2015.
Golden Olympic History
The U.S. is by far the most successful in Olympic women’s soccer history, having won four gold medals and one silver in the five tournaments that have been held so far. The USA is 25-2-4 all-time in the Olympics, having only lost in the gold medal game in 2000, and the opening match of the 2008 tournament, both to Norway.
On Monday, Aug. 1, the WNT celebrated the 20th anniversary of its first gold medal which came at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta -- the first Olympic Games in which women’s soccer was contested. The U.S. has won a record 11 consecutive games in the Olympic Football Tournament.
Though the 18 players named to the Olympic Team are all business on the field, the team has built a reputation for being relatable, entertaining and honest off the field. Case in point, the WNT sat down to share each of their individual stories with the fans leading up to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
This year, U.S. Soccer took things to the next level by creating WNT Animated, Presented by Ritz, a series featuring fun, inspirational and educational animated stories from the 18 personalities that make up the team, plus a bonus episode featuring U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. Let us know which episode is your favorite in the comments below.
Tournament Across Brazil
While the official Opening Ceremony took place on Friday, Aug. 5, the WNT kicked things off against New Zealand (2-0 W) two days prior due to the length of time required to host a 12-team tournament. The U.S. remained in Belo Horizonte for Group G play against France (1-0 W) on Saturday, Aug. 6, before taking a 1,600-mile flight to Manaus – where the MNT played Portugal to a 2-2 draw in the 2014 World Cup – to finish Group G play against Colombia (2-2 T) on Wednesday, Aug. 9, where Pugh became the youngest U.S. WNT player to score in the Olympic Games. The USA traveled the 1,200-mile distance to Brasilia to begin the knockout stage of the Games against Sweden.
All USA matches will be available across a wide array of viewing options, airing on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), NBC Universo and the Soccer Specialty Channel as well as on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. All WNT matches on NBCSN will be called by NBC Sports Group’s lead Premier League announcer Arlo White (play-by-play) and two-time U.S. women’s soccer Olympic gold medalist Kate Markgraf (analyst). They will be joined by reporter Sebastian Salazar of CSN Mid Atlantic.Read more
The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated New Zealand 2-0 on goals from captain Carli Lloyd and forward Alex Morgan to get off to a strong start in Group G play at Mineirão Stadium in its first match of the 2016 Olympic Games.
France leads Group G (1-0-0; 3pts) on goal differential with the U.S. in second (1-0-0; 3 pts), while New Zealand and Colombia sit at the bottom with zero points. The U.S. next plays France on Saturday in Belo Horizonte (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBC Universo).Read more
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (Aug. 3, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated New Zealand 2-0 on goals from captain Carli Lloyd and forward Alex Morgan to get off to a strong start in Group G play at Mineirão Stadium in its first match of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Lloyd staked the USA to an early lead in the ninth minute before Morgan struck just 34 seconds into the second half. On the defensive side, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn and Meghan Klingenberg put in a commanding performance to help earn the USA’s 14th shutout of 2016.
The USA now leads Group G (1-0-0; 3pts) with France and Colombia yet to play their opening group game. The U.S. next plays France on Saturday in Belo Horizonte (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBC Universo).
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Carli Lloyd (Tobin Heath), 9th minute: The USA kept the ball pinned in New Zealand’s defensive half when center back Becky Sauerbrunn stepped up and volleyed a clearance out to Tobin Heath on the left wing. Heath brought the ball down and drove toward the penalty area before cutting back toward the top of the box to lose her defender and swing in a cross toward the back right post where Lloyd was able to maneuver between two defenders and head the ball back across the face of goal into the left side netting for the early lead. USA 1, NZL 0 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Alex Morgan (Morgan Brian), 46th minute: Allie Long collected a New Zealand clearance in the center of the USA’s offensive half and played a sharp pass to Heath near the top left of the box. Heath cushioned the ball for Brian to hit a quick pass to Alex Morgan out on the left, and the USA forward struck a left footed shot from a wide angle between the near left post and Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler for the game’s second and final score. USA 2, NZL 0 FINAL (SEE GOAL)
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. WNT returns to action in Group G play at the 2016 Olympic Games against France at Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte on Aug. 6 (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBC Universo) before taking off to Manaus for its final Group G game vs. Colombia on Aug. 9 (6 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBC Universo).
- The USA improves to 15-0-1 in 2016. The team has scored 54 goals and pitched 14 shutouts while allowing just four goals.
- The WNT is 12-1-1 all-time against New Zealand, outscoring the Football Ferns 49-5 in 14 matches.
- This is the third consecutive Olympics in which the U.S. and New Zealand have met with the USA winning all three meetings, two of which have come in group play (2012, 2016) and one in the first knockout round of the 2008 Olympics.
- Carli Lloyd’s goal was the 89th of her career and seventh Olympic goal for the USA, pushing her to second all-time to Abby Wambach's 10 Olympic tallies.
- Lloyd has now hit double-figures in goals scored for 2016 (10 goals); it is the fourth calendar year – and third in a row – that she's hit 10 or more goals (2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016)
- Alex Morgan scored her fifth Olympic goal and 68th overall. The goal ties her with Mia Hamm and Tiffany Milbrett for third behind Lloyd and Wambach on the USA’s Olympic goals-scored list.
- The game marks the first Olympic starts for Mallory Pugh, Morgan Brian, Allie Long, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Johnston and Meghan Klingenberg.
- It was also the first start in a senior level world championship for Pugh and Long.
- The defense of Hope Solo, Kelley O’Hara, Sauerbrunn, Johnston and Klingenberg took the field together for the ninth time in 2016.
- Lloyd earned her 225th cap and 13th in the Olympics, tied with Solo for the most on the team. She is the most-capped player at the 2016 Olympic Football tournament.
- Pugh, who made her 15th appearance this year and 11th start has a team-leading seven assists. With tonight’s start she becomes the youngest American female player to start in an Olympic match.
- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. New Zealand
Date: Aug. 3, 2016
Competition: 2016 Olympic Games; Group G
Venue: Mineirão Stadium; Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local)
Weather: 68 degrees; clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
NZL 0 0 0
USA - Carli Lloyd (Tobin Heath) 9th minute
USA - Alex Morgan (Morgan Brian) 46
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 3-Allie Long, 14-Morgan Brian (9-Lindsey Horan, 64), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 2-Mallory Pugh (16-Crystal Dunn, 51), 13-Alex Morgan (12-Christen Press, 81), 17-Tobin Heath
Subs not used: 6-Whitney Engen, 11-Ali Krieger, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 18-Alyssa Naeher
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
NZL: 1-Erin Nayler; 2-Ria Percival, 6-Rebekah Stott, 5-Abby Erceg (capt.), 7-Ali Riley; 14-Katie Bowen (10-Sarah Gregorius, 60), 16-Annalie Longo, 4-Katie Duncan (11-Kristy Yallop, 72), 12-Betsy Hassett; 9-Amber Hearn, 17-Hannah Wilkinson (8-Jasmine Pereira, 83)
Subs not used: 3-Anna Green, 13-Rosie White, 15-Meikayla Moore, 18-Rebecca Rolls
Head Coach: Tony Readings
Stats Summary: USA / NZL
Shots: 12 / 4
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 10 / 16
Offside: 4 / 4
NZL - Betsy Hassett (caution) 18th minute
NZL - Ali Riley (caution) 30
NZL - Ria Percival (caution) 64
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Natalia Rachynska (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Sanja Rodak (CRO)
4th Official: Maria Carvajal (CHI)
Budweiser Woman of the Match: Becky SauerbrunnRead more
USA vs. New Zealand
Aug. 3, 2016
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Live Broadcast: NBCSN, NBC Universo
Tonight’s U.S. WNT Starting XI vs. New Zealand: 1-Hope Solo; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 3-Allie Long, 14-Morgan Brian, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 2-Mallory Pugh, 13-Alex Morgan, 17-Tobin Heath
Subs: 6-Whitney Engen, 9-Lindsey Horan, 11-Ali Krieger, 12-Christen Press, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 16-Crystal Dunn, 18-Alyssa Naeher
- The USA will start in a 4-3-3 formation, featuring Alex Morgan at striker with Tobin Heath and Mallory Pugh on the wings, Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian patrolling center midfield with Allie Long as holding midfielder. Kelley O’Hara is starting at right back, Meghan Klingenberg at left back with Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston in the middle. Hope Solo is in goal for her third consecutive Olympics. Lloyd will captain the USA.
- The game marks the first Olympic starts for Pugh, Brian, Long, Sauerbrunn, Johnston and Klingenberg.
- It will also be the first start in a senior level world championship for Pugh and Long.
- The backline of Solo, O’Hara, Sauerbrunn, Johnston and Klingenberg will take the field together for the ninth time in 2016.
- Lloyd earns her 225th cap and 13th in the Olympics, tied with Solo for the most on the team. She is the most-capped player at the 2016 Olympic Football tournament.
- Lloyd has scored 88 career goals, including six in the Olympics and nine in 2016.
- Six players in tonight’s lineup also started against New Zealand in the last meeting between the two sides in April 2015 in St. Louis. They are: Solo, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg, Lloyd and Morgan. Three of tonight’s starters, Klingenberg, Johnston and Brian all scored in that game.
- Morgan has 67 international goals, scoring a team-leading 11 in 13 games she’s played so far this year. She will make her 13th start of 2016 and earn her 113th cap.
- Morgan's two goals on June 2 against Japan marked her 18th career multi-goal game.
- The only other time Morgan has scored double-digit goals for the USA in a calendar year was in 2012, which, coincidently, also happened to be an Olympic year.
- Solo comes into today’s match with 100 career shutouts. She became the first goalkeeper in soccer history to reach the 100 mark on July 9 against South Africa.
- Solo also comes in with 151 wins and will earn her 199th cap tonight, only one away from reaching 200 caps and becoming the first goalkeeper in history to achieve that mark.
- Solo has 12 wins in 2016, 10 by shutout, and also has a good chance to surpass her high of 13 shutouts in a calendar year achieved in another Olympic year, 2008. Solo has earned shutouts against 29 different countries.
- Klingenberg will make her 16th appearance and 15th start this year.
- Long will make her eighth career start and sixth of the year. She scored her first career goals against Colombia on April 6 in Hartford, Connecticut, tallying twice.
- Brian will make her first start since June 5 against Japan. She will earn her 55th international cap and 12th this year.
- Johnston scored her first brace for the USA against Colombia on April 10 in Chester, Pennsylvania. She went on to score against Japan on June 5. She has eight international goals and will earn her 40th cap tonight.
- Pugh, who is making her 15th appearance this year and 11th start, has scored three goals in 2016 and has a team-leading seven assists. With tonight’s start she becomes the youngest American female player to start in an Olympic match.