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USWNT Sep 22, 2023

USWNT defeats South Africa 3-0 on final night of Julie Ertz’s international career

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Two goals from forward Lynn Williams and another from forward Trinity Rodman, all in the first half, lifted the U.S. Women’s National Team to a convincing 3-0 victory against South Africa in the final international match for legendary midfielder Julie Ertz.

While Ertz threatened throughout the night on set pieces, Williams bagged a brace off two corner kicks and Rodman added one in transition in to give the USA a win in its first match since the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

On a lovely night at TQL Stadium, and in front of a crowd determined to give Ertz a proper send-off, the U.S. tried to get her a goal, searching for the stalwart midfielder on a number of set piece opportunities. The best early chance came in the 18th minute, as midfielder Lindsey Horan found Ertz near the six, but she sent her header just over the bar. Ertz had another attempt in the 21st, but South Africa goalkeeper Kaylin Swart was able to make a diving save.

South Africa found a few opportunities on the counterattack, speeding down the wings in transition. In the 15th minute, midfielder Gabriela Salgado played it up to forward Thembi Kgatlana, who was able to wheel around goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher but wasn’t able to fully control the ball and it rolled over the end line. In the 26th, Banyana Banyana ripped a shot that defender Naomi Girma was able to deflect.

After knocking on the door with set pieces through the game’s early going, the breakthrough finally came in the 32nd minute. On another corner kick, Horan’s service was flicked off the head of a South African defender – she was pressured by Ertz — towards Williams, who headed it just over the line for her 16th career international goal.

The second goal came just a minute and 39 seconds later, this time in transition after the USA picked off a South African pass. Horan sprung Alex Morgan down the left wing and she teed up Rodman with a low cross on the ground to double the U.S. advantage. With the 2-0 lead, Ertz took her curtain call in the 36th minute and stepped off the field for the last time to a standing ovation from the Cincinnati crowd.

Another set piece goal further extended the USWNT’s lead just before the half. This time midfielder Andi Sullivan took the corner and a nifty heel flick from Lindsey Horan found Williams who deflected the ball into the net with her mid-section to complete her brace. The two goals marked the forward’s second career multi-goal game and her second and third tallies of 2023.

The USWNT threatened again shortly after the break as a bouncing ball in the box fell to Morgan, who played to Williams inside the six, but her shot on goal was deflected. Interim head coach Twila Kilgore made five substitutions as the half proceeded, looking to bolster the U.S. lead. Defender M.A. Vignola made her international debut as a halftime substitute, remarkably in her hometown of Cincinnati, and become the 252nd player to appear for the USWNT. Williams had one last chance for a hat trick in the 88th but wasn’t able to convert.

The USA out-shot South Africa, which advanced to the knockout round at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – its best finish ever at the tournament — by a 19-6 margin and allowed just one shot on goal, which goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher easily saved.

Next up, the USA will face South Africa again on Sept. 24 at Soldier Field in Chicago for legendary forward Megan Rapinoe’s Farewell Match.


USA – Lynn Williams, 32nd minute: Midfielder Lindsey Horan served a corner kick from the left side towards midfielder Julie Ertz just inside the six at the near left post. Her marking defender got a head on the ball and sent it towards the middle of the net, where Williams was lurking just in front of goal. The forward sent a header to the left side and barely over the goal line while a South Africa defender attempted to clear, but the referee ruled that the ball had crossed the line to open the scoring. USA 1, RSA 0

USA – Trinity Rodman (Alex Morgan), 34th minute: After breaking up a South Africa build-up near the half line, Horan sent a ball past the defense to Morgan on the run down the left wing. She dribbled to the top left corner of the box before sending a low cross in for Rodman just past the penalty spot and the Washington Spirit forward one-timed it from the six to the right side to extend the U.S. lead. USA 2, RSA 0

USA – Lynn Williams (Lindsey Horan), 41st minute: Dangerous on set pieces all night, the U.S. netted again on a nice combination from Horan and Williams. This time, midfielder Andi Sullivan took the corner in from the right side, sending a bouncing cross to Horan at the near post, which she deftly flicked the ball across goal to Williams who was by the far post. It bounced off her mid-section into an open net for her second of the night. USA 3, RSA 0


  • Tonight marked the third match between the USA and South Africa with the USA improving to 3W-0D-0L. The USWNT is now 11W-0D-0L all-time against African competition.
  • The USA is now 5W-1D-0L in Cincinnati, 2-0-0 at TQL Stadium and 20W-2D-1L in the state of Ohio. It’s the USWNT’s 10th-straight win in the Buckeye State, dating back to 2016.
  • Julie Ertz captained the USA in her 123rd and final cap. The midfielder debuted for the USWNT in February of 2013, competed in five world championship events with the USWNT, winning back-to-back World Cups in 2015 and 2019 and helping the USA to bronze at the delayed Tokyo Olympics. Ertz finished her U.S. career with an overall winning percentage of 89% — the sixth-best win percentage of any player in USWNT history with 100 or more caps, while helping the team to an overall record of 101 wins, 17 draws and just five losses in her 123 international appearances.
  • Forward Lynn Williams’ two goals marked her second career multi-goal game after netting two in a friendly vs. Costa Rica on Nov. 10, 2019.
  • Forward Alex Morgan’s assist on forward Trinity Rodman’s goal was the 51st of her career, breaking a tie with Shannon MacMillan to take sole possession of ninth on the USWNT all-time assist charts.
  • Rodman’s third goal, coupled with three assists on the year, tie her with midfielder Rose Lavelle for the second-most by any U.S. player this year.
  • Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher recorded her eighth shutout of the year, one away from matching her single-year record with the USWNT, set in both 2018 and 2019.
  • The USWNT’s three first-half goals are the most scored by the team in the first half this year.
  • Defender M.A. Vignola is the first player from the University of Tennessee to appear for the USWNT. She’s the second player to debut for the U.S. this year after midfielder Savannah DeMelo.
  • Midfielder Andi Sullivan earned her 50th cap, becoming the 65th USWNT player to reach the milestone.


Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. South Africa
Date: Sept. 21, 2023
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: TQL Stadium; Cincinnati, Ohio
Attendance: 22,016
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 75 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F

USA                             3          0          3
RSA                             0          0          0

USA – Lynn Williams                                      32nd minute
USA – Trinity Rodman (Alex Morgan)        34
USA – Lynn Williams (Lindsey Horan)        41

USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 19-Crystal Dunn (5-M.A. Vignola, 46), 4-Naomi Girma, 11-Alana Cook, 23-Emily Fox (20-Casey Krueger, 77); 8-Julie Ertz (17-Andi Sullivan, 36), 14-Emily Sonnett, 10-Lindsey Horan (2-Ashley Sanchez, 62); 6-Lynn Williams, 13-Alex Morgan (7-Ashley Hatch, 62), 25-Trinity Rodman (9-Alyssa Thompson, 77)

Substitutes not used: 18-Casey Murphy, 21-Aubrey Kingsbury, 12-Tierna Davidson, 22-Savannah DeMelo, 26-Jaedyn Shaw, 27-Sam Coffey

Interim Head coach: Twila Kilgore

RSA: 1-Kaylin Swart; 2-Lebohang Ramalepe, 3-Bongeka Gamede, 6-Noxolo Cesane (23-Wendy Shongwe, 72), 7-Karabo Dhlamini (5-Fikile Magama, 81), 9-Gabriela Salgado (22-Nomvula Kgoale, 46), 10-Linda Motlhalo, 11-Thembi Kgatlana (Capt.) (17-Melinda Kgadiete, 82), 12-Jermaine Seoposenwe, 14-Tiisetso Makhubela, 19-Kholosa Biyana (13-Sinoxolo Cesane, 89)
Substitutes not used: 16-Andile Dlamini, 21-Kebotseng Moletsane, 4-Faith Owusu, 15-Lonathemba Mhlongo, 20-Robyn Moodaly

Head coach: Wendy Shongwe

Stats Summary: USA / RSA

Shots: 19 / 6
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 8 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 7
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:

RSA – Jermaine Seoposenwe (Caution)                   38th minute
RSA – Kholosa Biyana (Caution)                                45+3
USA – Andi Sullivan (Caution)                                     85


Referee: Katia Garcia (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Enedina Caudillo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Karen Diaz (MEX)
Fourth Official: Kelsey Harms (USA)

U.S. Soccer Insiders Woman of the Match: Lynn Williams

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