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Global Jul 24, 2018

USWNT kicking off Tournament of Nations on Thursday vs. Japan

USA vs. Japan
Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kansas
July 26, 2018
Tournament of Nations

(Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Women’s National Team opens its 2018 Tournament of Nations on July 26 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas (6 p.m. CT on FS1) against long-time rival Japan.

The tournament’s first game will feature Brazil vs. Australia at 3:15 p.m. CT. The USA opened the 2017 Tournament of Nations with a 1-0 setback to Australia, but has not lost since, going 15-0-2 over the past year which includes a 7-0-1 mark in 2018. U.S. head coach Jill Ellis named 25 players to the training camp roster for this event that came together on July 20 and chose a final 23-player tournament roster after several days of training at the new U.S. Soccer National Development Center.

These games are providing valuable preparation for the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship which will send three nations to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. After the Tournament of Nations, the USA will have two friendly matches against Chile (Aug. 31 in Los Angeles and Sept. 4in San Jose) before entering World Cup qualifying. The USA’s 2018 has so far featured wins over Denmark, Germany, England, Mexico (twice) and China PR (twice), along with a tie against France.

GETTING SOCIAL : Follow all the #USWNT and tournament action on Twitter using #ToN2018 on @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp, and also on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (ussoccer_wnt).

U.S. Women’s National Team tournament of Nations Roster by Position (Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): 21- Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), 24- Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 16/0), 1- Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 29/0)

DEFENDERS (6): 7- Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 19/0), 12- Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 8/0), 11- Merritt Mathias (Seattle Reign FC; 1/0), 4- Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 139/0), 14-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 17/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): 6- Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 75/6), 2- Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 61/15); 9- Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 51/5), 16- Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 8/2), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 254/100); 3- Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 36/7); 20- Allie Long(Portland Thorns FC; 39/6), 25- McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 2/0)

FORWARDS (6): 19- Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC, ENG; 64/23), 17- Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns; 133/19), 13- Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 142/86), 23- Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 100/44), 15- Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign; 137/37), 12- Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals FC; 131/30)

2018 TOURNAMENT OF NATIONS SCHEDULE
The competition tournament format is same as the SheBelieves Cup and last year’s Tournament of Nations with the four teams each participating in three doubleheader events at three different venues over an eight-day period. The winner of the tournament will be based on total points (three for a win, one for a tie), with the first tie-breaker being overall goal difference, followed by most total tournament goals scored, then head-to-head result and lastly, FIFA Ranking if necessary.

Date Matches Stadium City Kickoff TV
July 26 Brazil vs. Australia Children’s Mercy Park Kansas City, Kansas 3:15 p.m. CT
July 26 USA vs. Japan Children’s Mercy Park Kansas City, Kansas 6 p.m. CT FS1
July 29 Japan vs. Brazil Pratt & Whitney Stadium East Hartford, Conn. 4:15 p.m. ET
July 29 USA vs. Australia Pratt & Whitney Stadium East Hartford, Conn. 7 p.m. ET FS1
Aug. 2 Australia vs. Japan Toyota Park Bridgeville, Ill. 4:45 p.m. CT
Aug. 2 USA vs. Brazil Toyota Park Bridgeville, Ill. 7:30 p.m. CT FS1

U.S. SOCCER BRINGS ELITE WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT TO THE USA, AGAIN: After hosting the third SheBelieves Cup last March, U.S. Soccer once again brings some of the world’s top women’s international soccer teams to the USA for the second installment of the Tournament of Nations. While the SheBelieves Cup with USA, Germany, France and England featured four of the top five teams in the world, the Tournament of Nations features four of the top-eight teams in the world in the top-ranked USA, Japan (6th), Brazil (7th) and Australia (8th). U.S. Soccer is planning on hosting the SheBelieves Cup and the Tournament of Nations in every year that does not feature a Women’s World Cup or Olympic tournament, meaning the next competition is schedule for 2021. These two tournaments mean that the USA will have faced six of the other top-nine teams in the world heading into Concacaf Women’s World Cup qualifying.

MATILDAS LOOING FOR ANOTHER ToN TITLE: Australia won last year’s inaugural Tournament of Nations, defeating the USA 1-0, taking down Japan, 4-2, and rolling past Brazil, 6-1. The USA defeated Brazil 4-3, coming back from a 3-1 deficit, and also beat Japan 3-0 to finish second. Japan, with finished third, drew 1-1 with Brazil, which finished fourth.

PARING IT DOWN: U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis used 2017 to learn more about her team, her veterans and new players, while trying several different formations, playing players in various positions and giving call-ups to numerous younger players. Since the end of the 2016 Olympics, Ellis has used 41 players in matches and has seen 60 different players in a training camp environment. With a solid core that emerged from last year’s tough schedule and heavy evaluation period, the current core group will be the one to move forward and receive the most opportunities to earn roster and starting spots. Ellis has used 34 players in game action so far in 2018.

Here are some facts and figures since October of 2016 (after the Olympics) regarding call-ups by Ellis and her staff:

  • Total number of players called in for at least one training camp: 60
  • Total number of new players called-up for the first time: 29
  • Players who have seen game action over the past 17 months: 44
  • Number of players to earn first caps: 19 – Abby Dahlkemper, Ashley Hatch, Andi Sullivan, Casey Short, Jane Campbell, Jessica McDonald, Kealia Ohai, Lynn Williams, Megan Oyster, Rose Lavelle, Sofia Huerta, Taylor Smith, McCall Zerboni, Savannah McCaskill, Tierna Davidson, Haley Hanson, Hallie Mace, Tegan McGrady and Merritt Mathias.

EVERYTHING ABOUT CONCACAF QUALIFYING: The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will be held from June 7-July 7 in nine cities in France is still a year away, but the Concacaf World Cup Qualifying tournament will be staged in just a few months, taking place from Oct. 4-17. The 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship, which will qualify three teams to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and a fourth into a two-game playoff with Argentina, the third-place team from South America, will be played in three host cities: Cary, N.C., Edinburg, Texas, and Frisco, Texas, home of the new National Soccer Hall of Fame, which is set to open just three days after the completion of the qualifying tournament. The competition will feature eight countries divided into two groups of four. After round-robin play within the groups, the top two finishers from each group will move on to the all-important semifinals.

  • USA HEADLINES GROUP A: The USA, which is ranked first in the world, will be seeded into Group A while Canada, which is ranked fourth, will be seeded into Group B. The USA, Canada and Mexico have automatic berths into the tournament. The five other participants will qualify via:
    o The 2018 Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Qualifier to be played in Jamaica from played August 25 – September 2, which will feature Antigua & Barbuda, Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in a round-robin format and will qualify three Caribbean teams to the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship
    o The 2018 Concacaf Central America Women’s Qualifier being played from August 27-31 in Bradenton, Fla. which will feature Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama in a round-robin format that will qualify the two top finishers to the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship.
  • FINAL DRAW AND TV: The placement in the groups for the other six teams will become known at the Final Draw later this year. FOX Sports, the home of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, will show 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship across the FOX Sports family of networks. Ticket information will be made available once it is finalized.
  • VENUES:
          o All three first round doubleheaders in Group A – which will take place on Oct. 4, 7 and 10 – will be played at the 10,000-seat Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
    o All three doubleheaders in Group B – which will be played on Oct. 5, 8 and 11 – will take place at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas, a 9,700-seat stadium that is home to the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros of the USL and is one of the top venues in the league.
    o The top two finishers in each group will then cross over to meet in the on Oct. 14 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The Third-Place Match and Championship Game will be at Toyota Stadium on Oct. 17.

MAKE IT FOUR IN KANSAS : This will be just the fourth visit to Children’s Mercy Park for the U.S. WNT. The first two matches were low-scoring, on Sept. 17, 2011, a 1-1 draw with Canada, and a 1-0 victory against T&T on Oct. 15, 2015 in World Cup qualifying. The USA also downed Costa Rica 4-0 at Children’s Mercy Park on July 22, 2016. The U.S. Women have also played four matches in Kansas City, Missouri, all at Arrowhead Stadium between 1999 and 2004.

U.S. WNT LEGENDS TIFFENY MILBRETT & CINDY PARLOW ELECTED TO NATIONAL SOCCER HALL OF FAME: The National Soccer Hall of Fame introduced its 2018 class on May 31with a series of surprise announcements in five different cities across the country and 1999 WWC winners and 1996 Olympic gold medalists Tiffeny Milbrett and Cindy Parlow, both legendary goal scores for the U.S. team, were informed of their induction by Hall of Famers Brandi Chastain and Anson Dorrance, respectively. The newest members of the HOF also included former U.S. Soccer President Dr. Bob Contiguglia, legendary goalkeeper Brad Friedel and long-time MLS Commission Don Garber.

MORGAN CLIMBS THE MULTI-GOAL LISTS: With two goals in both April matches against Mexico, Alex Morgan is now third all-time in two-goal games for the USA and fourth all-time in multi-goal games.

U.S. WNT All-Time Two-Goal Games Leaders
Abby Wambach 37
Mia Hamm 28
Alex Morgan 19
Michelle Akers 18
Kristine Lilly 16
Tiffeny Milbrett 10
Cindy Parlow 9
Carli Lloyd 8

U.S. WNT All-Time Multi-Goal Games Leaders
                            2G  3G 4G  5G    Total
Abby Wambach   37    5    2    1        45
Mia Hamm           28    8    2    0        38
Michelle Akers     18    6    0    1        25
Alex Morgan        19                 22
Kristine Lilly         16    1    0    0        17
Cindy Parlow         9    7    1    0        17
Carli Lloyd                             15
Tiffeny Milbrett     10    2    1    1        14

JILL ELLIS FACT FILE : After leading the USA to the Women’s World Cup title, U.S. head coach Jill Ellis was rewarded with a multi-year contract extension on Aug. 5, 2015. She is the third U.S. coach – and first female American coach — to win a Women’s World Cup at the senior level, following Anson Dorrance (1991) and the late Tony DiCicco (1999). Ellis was named the 2015 FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Soccer on Jan. 11, 2016, at the FIFA Awards Gala in Zurich, Switzerland. She was also named the Concacaf Female Coach of the Year. Ellis, who previously served two stints as interim head coach of the U.S. WNT, is the eighth official head coach in U.S. history. She coached seven games as interim coach in 2012 (5-0-2) and two games (1-0-1) as interim in 2014 before she officially came on board, which gave her a 6-0-3 record before she ever was formally named the head coach in May of 2014. She has gone 71-6-12 since then for an overall record of 77-6-15, earning her 50th career WNT win on July 22, 2016, vs. Costa Rica and her 75thon April 8 vs. Mexico. With the win against New Zealand on Sept. 15, 2017, Ellis moved past Anson Dorrance and into fourth place on the all-time win list. Since taking over as head coach, Ellis has won five tournaments: the 2015 Algarve Cup, the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, the 2016 SheBelieves Cup and the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. Jill Ellis Full Bio

U.S. ROSTER NOTES

TEAM

  • Fourteen of the 23 players on this year’s U.S. roster were on last year’s Tournament of Nations squad.
  • The USA came into camp with most of its regulars available, although Kelley O’Hara (hamstring) and Mallory Pugh (knee) are still sidelined due to injuries.
  • There were no players on the roster competing in their first camp with the WNT and the only uncapped player is goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who has been in the player pool for more than five years.
  • Twelve players on the roster have World Cup and/or Olympic playing experience and 11 players on the roster have 51 or more caps while 12 have 39 or less.
  • For the first time in a long while, the U.S. roster features all domestic-based players, with 22 playing in the NWSL along with rising Stanford junior Tierna Davidson. All nine NWSL teams are represented. Davidson is once again the youngest player on the roster. She turns 20 in September.
  • Seven call-ups for this training camp were on the NWSL Team of the Month for June, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, defender Becky Sauerbrunn, defender Merritt Mathias, midfielder Lindsey Horan, midfielder McCall Zerboni, forward Kealia Ohai and forward Crystal Dunn.
  • Since the start of 2017, four players have been involved (goals or assists) in more than seven goals. Alex Morgan (17), Megan Rapinoe (13), Mallory Pugh (11) and Lindsey Horan (eight).
  • Since the start of 2016, five players have at least 20 goals+assists for the U.S. in international play, four of whom were called in for the Tournament of Nations:
Player G+A Goals Assists
Alex Morgan 37 30 7
Carli Lloyd 31 21 10
Crystal Dunn 27 19 8
Christen Press 26 15 11
Mallory Pugh 22 11 11
  • The two goals allowed on corner kicks against Mexico on April 8 broke a streak of not allowing more than one goal in a game in the previous 12 games. The USA went 10-0-2 during that run. The USA scored at least three goals in seven of those 12 games. The match before the 12-game run was the 4-3 win against Brazil at the 2017 Tournament of Nations and the 6-2 win vs. Mexico ended it. The USA then defeated China 1-0 and 2-1 in June friendlies.
  • The USA is unbeaten in its last 16 matches (14-0-2). The USA has averaged 3.1 goals per game and has outscored its opponents 49-13 over those 16 matches and have scored in all 16 games.
  • In the first edition of the Tournament of Nations last year, the U.S. scored four of its seven goals in the final 15 minutes of games, as many of the rest of the teams in the tournament combined, mostly due to the dramatic late-game comeback against Brazil.

FORWARDS

  • After scoring in the opening match of the year against Denmark, twice each in both April games against Mexico, and the game-winner against China PR on June 7, Alex Morganhas 86 goals in 142 caps and at age 29 sits in sole possession of seventh place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list. She has scored 13 goals over her last 15 WNT matches through the end of 2017 and start of 2018. She did not score in the SBC, but did pick up the game-winning assist against Germany on March 1. Morgan’s brace vs. Mexico on April 8 marked the 19th two-goal game of her career and 22nd multi-goal game.
  • Morgan’s opening goal vs. Mexico on April 5 was the first of her international career to come via a penalty kick.
  • For players with more than 50 goals/assists combined, Morgan has averaged a goal or an assist for every 71.7 minutes on the field in her international career. The only players who have done better are Mia Hamm (68.5) and Abby Wambach, who averaged a goal or assist for every 71.5 minutes. Michelle Akers finished her career at 74.0 minutes per goal or assist.
  • The Tournament of Nations last year sparked a quality end of 2017 for Megan Rapinoe, who scored three goals with five assists over the last eight matches of the year.
  • Rapinoe had a monster game on April 8 vs. Mexico, getting four assists and a goal while also setting up the other goal in the match. Her goal against China PR on June 12 gave her 37 for her career and she has moved ahead of April Heinrichs and Sydney Leroux into sole possession of 15th on the all-time goals list.
  • After picking up the game-winning assist against China PR on June 7 from a free kick, she leads the USA with six assists on the year and now has 50 for her career, tied with Carli Lloyd and Shannon MacMillan for seventh in U.S. history. Rapinoe’s 50 assists in 137 caps is the best ratio of anyone ahead of her on the all-time list except for Mia Hamm, who had a remarkable 145 assists in her 276 caps.
  • At the 2018 SheBelieves Cup, Rapinoe took seven shots against Germany, as many as the whole German team, and scored the game-winner in the 1-0 victory. It was also her free kick against France that led to Mallory Pugh’s goal on March 4 and her cross on March 7 that led to the USA’s lone goal against England.
  • Rapinoe recently won the ESPY for Best NWSL player in a category in which Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), and Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage) were also nominated. This was the first year the ESPYs honored a Best NWSL Player, making Rapinoe the first to bring home the award.
  • Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn are tied (with Christine Sinclair) for fourth in the NWSL with seven goals each.
  • Rapinoe leads the NWSL in shots per game (5.8) and shots on target per game (2.5) this season.
  • After being out of the National Team for most of 2017 and 2018 due to injuries, Tobin Heath returned to the U.S. roster for the two matches against China PR in June. She did not play in the first game, but on June 12, made her first appearance since Sept. 19, 2017, and came off the bench to score the game-winner in the 2-1 victory in Cleveland. It was her 19th international goal. The 2016 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year has 133 caps, and is in 25th place on the USA’s all-time caps list, tied with Lauren Holiday.
  • Crystal Dunn scored four goals in 2017, all in back-to-back braces against Russia in April, and got her first of 2018 on Jan. 21 against Denmark, finishing a rebound off a Christen Press shot. The always versatile Dunn came off the bench to play outside back against France on March 4 after Casey Short was injured about 30 minutes after coming on as a sub herself. Dunn then played an excellent game at outside back against England, going the full 90 minutes on the left side to help the USA shutout England, and several of her former Chelsea teammates.
  • She got both starts against Mexico in April and against China in June at outside back, although she did move up to wing later in all four games after second half subs, once again showing her value on all three lines for the USA.
  • Dunn has been on fire in the NWSL, helping the Courage run away with the regular season title while scoring seven goals with five assists and was named the NWSL Player of the Month for June. She was also voted the NWSL Player of the Week at the end of June, the eighth time she’s won the award.
  • Dunn is tied (with Japan’s Yuki Nagasato) for second in the league in assists (behind Sinclair) with five each. Rapinoe is tied for fourth with six other players with four assists each.
  • Christen Press has 100 caps and 44 career goals, most recently scoring on a brilliant strike from distance against Korea Republic on Oct. 22 of last year. Press is in 14th place on the all-time WNT goals list and with one more goal will tie Julie Foudy for 13th place. She averages just under a goal every two games (0.44 goals per game) and 0.82 goals per every 90 minutes she’s been on the field. Against China PR on June 12, she became the 37th female player to earn 100 caps in U.S. history.
  • Press moved from the NWSL to Sweden this spring and started well for Koppersberg/Goteborg in her second stint with the club, scoring four goals in the first three games and was named the Player of the Month for April in the Damallsvenskan, before returning to the NWSL to play for Utah Royals FC.
  • Press has scored in 30 different games for the USA while playing at center forward, on the wing and at outside midfield during her international career.
  • Amy Rodriguez made her NWSL debut this year on April 14, 2018 after missing almost two full club seasons. During the June games vs. China PR, she returned to the U.S. roster for the for the first time since April of 2017, and came off the bench on June 7 to play the final 15 minutes in her first action since April 6, 2917 against Russia. During that camp, she had come back from the birth of her second son, to play 10 minutes against the Russians, but then tore her ACL in the NWSL opener and missed the entire season.
  • Rodriguez, who has 30 goals in her 131 caps, which include several notable scores in U.S. history, was a member of the 2015 Women’s World Cup champions, the 2012 Olympic gold medal team, and played in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. She famously scored the goal in the 1-0 victory against Italy in the second-leg of the 2011 Women’s World Cup playoffs that clinched the USA’s berth to Germany. A-Rod’s 10-minute appearance against China at her club’s home stadium in Sandy, Utah on June 7 marked third impressive comeback after the birth of two sons and the ACL injury.

MIDFIELDERS

  • Carli Lloyd is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year (2015, 2016) and finished second in the voting in 2017. She is the all-time active caps leader with 254. She scored just seconds after coming into the match against Mexico on April 5 and then got the start on April 8 vs. Mexico, bagging her historic 100th goal to become the sixth player to score 100 or more for the USA, and the first since 2009 when Abby Wambach scored her 100th.
  • Lloyd is tied with Tiffeny Milbrett for fifth place on the USA’s all-time goals list. Lloyd is in sixth place on the all-time caps list and is the sixth player in U.S. history to earn 250 caps. She is one cap away from tying Wambach for fifth place.
  • While she played as a withdrawn forward for many of her minutes since the knockout round of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she is still the highest scoring midfielder in U.S. history.
  • Lloyd is the highest active goal scorer in U.S. history with the players ahead of or tied with her – Mia Hamm, Wambach, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and Tiffeny Milbrett – all retired.
  • Lloyd scored 36 international goals between the time she debuted six days before her 23rd birthday, and her 30th birthday. Since turning 30, she has scored 64 goals in 119 games in six years. The 119 games after the age of 30 rank her sixth all-time in U.S. history in that category. Christie Rampone is far and away the leader with 175.
  • Lloyd has 50 career assists and is tied for seventh place all-time, but with six more, can move into fifth.
  • Julie Ertz returned to the roster for the China PR games in June after missing the final two SheBelieves Cup games and both Mexico games in April due to a knee injury. She started both games against China and played 66 and 57 minutes, respectively, over the two matches.
  • At last year’s Tournament of Nations vs. Brazil on July 30, 2017, Ertz scored the dramatic game-winner in the 89th while playing defensive midfielder, and then grew into the position the entire year, scoring five more and playing so well that she was named 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
  • She got 2018 off to a great start as well, scoring the game-winner on Jan. 21 vs. Denmark, before the knee injury set her back a bit.
  • Ertz is the third player to be named both the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year and Young Female Player of the Year. Lauren Holiday (2014 & 2007) and Tobin Heath (2016 & 2009) are the other two, making the five years between the awards for Ertz the shortest time for any player.
  • Just 26-years-old, she played her 50th game for the USA against Brazil, becoming the 54th American female player to achieve that milestone and now has 61 caps and 15 goals.
  • Lindsey Horan enjoyed a fine 2017, helping the Portland Thorns win the NWSL title while scoring four goals with two assists while playing mostly holding midfielder during the year and scored the game-winning goal in the championship. She has been excellent for the Thorns once again in 2018 and is tied (with Australia’s Sam Kerr) for the NWSL lead in goals with nine.
  • For the WNT, she came off the bench for six of her first seven appearances of last year, but then finished strong, starting four of the last six games while scoring a goal and getting four assists. She played 90 in the last three matches of 2017 and full 90s in the first two matches of 2018, as well as the first half of the March 4 match against France before giving way to Savannah McCaskill. She then started and played 74 minutes against England on March 7 before being replaced by Morgan Brian. Horan played the full 90 minutes against Mexico on April 5 and set up two critical goals – for Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd – that blew the game open early in the second half. She started on April 8 against Mexico, and scored her fifth career goal, drilling home a brilliant header off a corner kick. She got the starting nod on June 7 vs. China, playing the first half, and came off the bench on June 12 to play 33 minutes.
  • Horan earned her 50th cap against China on June 7, becoming the 55th U.S. female player to hit that mark.
  • Morgan Brian was hampered by injuries last year and played in just six games, starting two, but has already played in six this year, starting four. She made her return to the field against Germany on March 1, coming on for Carli Lloyd in the 65th minute to see her first action for the National Team since Sept. 15, 2017, when she came off the bench to play the final 16 minutes against New Zealand. On March 4, she got her first start since the France game at last year’s SheBelieves Cup and went the full 90 minutes. She played in all three SheBelieves Cup matches, hitting the field for the final 15 minutes against England on March 7 to help seal the game and tournament. She got the start in her youth soccer hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., on April 5 and started on April 8 vs. Mexico but had to leave with a minor injury after 30 minutes.
  • On June 12 against China PR, she came off the bench at halftime to earn her 75th and became the 42nd female player in U.S. history to play 75 or more times. She is still just 25-years-old.
  • Brian did a stint in France this year with Olympique Lyon before returning to the NWSL and the Chicago Red Stars. She was part of the Lyon squad that won its third consecutive UEFA Champions League title by defeating Wolfsburg of Germany, 3-1, although Brian did not feature in the match.
  • Allie Long scored her first three career goals (all on headers) in 2016. She scored her fourth and fifth goals, also off headers, vs. Russia on April 6, 2017. It was the second brace of her career. She finally got a WNT goal with her feet on Oct. 22 against Korea Republic, slotting home a pass from Horan, and now has 39 caps after coming off the bench in both China games in June.
  • Rose Lavelle returned to the field for the USA on June 12 against China PR, playing 25 minutes off the bench in her first action for the USA since Sept. of 2017 against New Zealand in her hometown of Cincinnati. Lavelle made her U.S. WNT debut on March 4, 2017 against England – the 14th player to be given a first cap under Ellis – and earned her first two senior team caps at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup. She scored her first international goal, against Russia, on April 9.
  • She went on to score her second international goal, the game-winner, against Sweden on June 8, 2017 in Gothenburg in her fifth cap, but a hamstring injury suffered against Norway on June 11 kept her off the field for club and country until the last few months when she returned to USA and NWSL play.
  • Lavelle was the first overall pick in the 2017 NWSL Draft by the Boston Breakers, but was taken by the Washington Spirit in the Dispersal Draft.
  • Samantha Mewis returned to the U.S. roster for the China PR games in June for the first time since suffering a knee injury against Canada in the final game of 2017. Mewis played in every game in 2017 and was second on the team in minutes played behind Becky Sauerbrunn. After playing the entire second half on June 7 against China in her first minutes of 2018 and getting the start and playing 65 minutes on June 12, she now she has 36 caps and seven career goals.
  • McCall Zerboni, long one of the top midfielders in the NWSL, gets her third career call-up. She was called in as an injury replacement for the USA’s match against Korea Republic in Cary, N.C. in October of 2017 and earned her first cap when she entered the match at halftime. Zerboni, who was just a few months shy of her 31st birthday when she debuted, became the oldest player to earn a first cap for the U.S. WNT. She earned her second and first start on June 7, going the entire 90 minutes in center midfield and earning Player of the Game honors.

DEFENDERS

  • Becky Sauerbrunn missed January Camp and the SheBelieves Cup while recovering from a foot injury but was back in action for the USA’s two games vs. Mexico in April, getting the start on April 8 and going 90 minutes. She came on in the 77th minute on April 5 to see her first action of 2018. Sauerbrunn started on June 7 against China at right back but moved back into the middle during the first half, and then started and played 90 on June 12 at center back. With 139 caps, Sauerbrunn is in 20th place on the all-time caps list. She is one of 27 female players to play 130 or more times for the USA.
  • Sauerbrunn was one of only two players to start all games in 2017 and when she came out at halftime on Sept. 19 vs. New Zealand it was the first time she left the field for club or country in 2017.
  • Abby Dahlkemper took advantage of a big opportunity when she played in both games in Europe in June of 2017, the first one off the bench in which she played the entire second half against Sweden, and then started and played all 90 minutes against Norway. She then played all 90 minutes at center back in each of the final nine games of the year, establishing herself on the U.S. backline. She ended up starting 10 of the 11 games she appeared in while playing 945 minutes, fifth best on the team. She started the first match of the year against Denmark on Jan. 21 next to debutante Tierna Davidson and the duo also went the full 90 together on March 1 against Germany, March 4 vs. France, March 7against England.
  • Dahlkemper also went 90 on April 5 against Mexico before getting a rest on April 8 but returned to the starting lineup on June 7 against China and played 65 minutes. Dahlkemper had a stellar 2017 club season and was named the NWSL Defender of the Year.
  • Tierna Davidson helped lead Stanford to the NCAA Championship in 2017 as a sophomore and has been a consistent call-up in 2018 as the youngest player on the roster. She started and played the entire 90 minutes to earn her first cap in the 5-1 victory against Denmark on Jan. 21. She also got the game-winning assist on Julie Ertz’ goal. She went the full 90 minutes in all three SheBelieves Cup matches in what were serious tests for the 19-year-old that she passed with honors. Davidson played 90 minutes against Mexico on April 5 and when she came out of the came in the 60th minute on April 8, it was the first time she had left the field this year.
  • Davidson got her seventh consecutive start on June 7 against China PR at center back, then moved to the outside left and eventually moved back into the middle, showing her versatility. She started and played 90 minutes on June 12 against China again. She has started every one of her caps so far.
  • Davidson is the third teenager since 2013 to earn a first cap for the WNT. Pugh (17 in 2016) and Horan (19 in 2013) are the most recent teenagers to debut for the WNT.
  • Davidson was named to the roster for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship and departed on Jan. 22 after the Denmark match to join her U-20 teammates in Trinidad & Tobago where she helped them qualify for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, but due to full National Team commitments will not play in the U-20 World Cup.
  • Merritt Mathias gets her third call-up after training with the USA during October 2016 friendlies against Switzerland and then during the June friendlies against China PR, where she earned her first cap when she came off the bench on June 12 vs. China PR and became the 25th player to earn a first cap under Jill Ellis.
  • Matthias, who was an important player for FC Kansas City and the Seattle Reign during her first five years in the league before getting traded to the Courage, scored one of the best goals of the year in the NWSL season on a long-distance strike against Utah Royals FC on April 21.
  • Emily Sonnett played in Australia during the NWSL off-season for Sydney FC where she helped lead her team to the Grand Final before falling 2-0 to a Melbourne City side featuring nine NWSL players. Sonnett had an excellent 2017 NWSL season, anchoring the Portland Thorns back line to a championship and scored several key goals, including a header in the 4-1 NWSL Semifinal win against Orlando. She scored four goals during in 2017 (on only six shots on goal), an impressive tally for a center-back.
  • Sonnett missed the China PR games in June due to injury, but has accrued 17 caps, and played excellent games at right back against England on March 7 and Mexico on April 5(going 90 minutes in each) and again on April 8 vs. Mexico. Before she played on Jan. 21, 2018 vs. Denmark off the bench, her most recent cap had come on Oct. 19, 2016 vs. Switzerland.
  • Casey Short injured her ankle in against France in the 2018 SheBelieves Cup, which caused her to miss the third tournament game against England, quite a few NWSL matches and the USA’s June games against China PR.
  • Short has started 17 of her first 21 games for the USA, playing mostly left back, but also played some outside midfield vs. Switzerland last year, and played centrally vs. Sweden on June 8 and vs. Brazil on July 30. She came off the bench at the end of the Germany game on March 1 to replace Kelley O’Hara at left back and came into the match against France at the end of the first half before getting injured.

GOALKEEPERS

  • Against China PR on June 7, Alyssa Naeher earned her 15th career shutout. Now with 29 caps, Naeher earned 13 in 2017 and six so far in 2018. She is the seventh goalkeeper in U.S. history to earn 25 or more caps. She’s allowed 14 goals in her 28 caps, but six came over two games, a 3-0 loss to France at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup and vs. Brazil in the 4-3 win at the 2017 Tournament of Nations.
  • Veteran Ashlyn Harris has 16 caps, earning her most recent against China PR on June 12 when she went 90 minutes to earn the win.
  • Adrianna Franch , who hails from Salina, Kansas, will get to train in her home state with the full National Team. She gets her first call-up since January Camp of this year and is the only uncapped player on the roster but has seen training time with the WNT on-and-off for the past five years. She injured her meniscus and had to have surgery early in the NWSL season but has come back strong and is playing extremely well with Portland, earning her call-up.

ussoccer.com:

IN FOCUS: Japan
FIFA World Ranking: 6
AFC Ranking: 1
Women’s World Cup Appearances (7): 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015
Best Women’s World Cup finish: Champions 2011, Runners-Up in 2015
Record vs. USA: 1-27-7
Head Coach: Asako Takakura

Japan Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Sakiko Ikeda (Urawa Red Diamond Ladies), 18-Ayaka Yamashita (NTV Beleza), 21- Chika Hirao (Albirex Niigata Ladies)

DEFENDERS (6): 2-Mayo Doko (NTV Beleza), 3-Aya Sameshima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 4-Shiori Miyake (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 6-Saori Ariyoshi (NTV Beleza), 22-Risa Shimizu (NTV Beleza), 23-Aimi Kunitake (Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara)

MIDFIELDERS (8): 7-Emi Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 12-Hina Sugita (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 14-Yui Hasegawa (NTV Beleza), 15-Moeno Sakaguchi (Albirex Niigata Ladies), 16-Rin Sumida (NTV Beleza), 17-Yuka Momiki (NTV Beleza Beleza), 19-Rika Masuya (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 24-Narumi Miura (NTV Beleza

FORWARDS (5): 8-Mana Iwabuchi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi (Seattle Reign FC, USA), 11-Mina Tanaka (NTV Beleza), 13-Yuika Sugasawa (Urawa Red Diamond Ladies), 20-Kumi Yokoyama (AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies)

JAPAN NOTES:

  • Japan enters the Tournament of Nations unbeaten in its last seven games overall (5-0-2). Japan has not allowed an opponent to score more than one goal over that span, which includes five games at the AFC Women’s Asia Cup that was sandwiched in between two friendlies, victories over Ghana (7-1) and New Zealand (3-1).
  • Japan are one of the few nations to have appeared at every FIFA Women’s World Cup.
  • Aside from the first edition in 1991, the Nadeshiko’s early showings World Cup were competitive but did not make a big impact. Victory over Brazil and a quarterfinal appearance in 1995 proved to be a fleeting highlight, but that all changed at Germany 2011 as Japan turned on the style in sweeping to the Final before upsetting the USA with a memorable penalty shoot-out victory. Four years later they also reached the tournament decider against the USA, again with a succession of confident though narrow victories, only to crash to a 5-2 defeat in the Final.
  • This year, Japan retained their AFC Women’s Asian Cup crown – just their second continental title – in the tournament which doubled as qualifying for France 2019. Despite the tournament victory in April, it was a challenging ride for Japan which defeated Vietnam, 4-0, and then had a scoreless draw against Korea Republic. However, a 1-1 draw against Australia (courtesy of a Mizuho Sakaguchi goal) in the final group match clinched second in the group and automatic passage to France. Japan then defeated China PR 3-1 in the semifinal, getting a late winner to defeat Australia 1-0 in the championship game.
  • Kumi Yokoyama, who scored the winner in the title game in the 84th minute, led Japan in qualifying by scoring four of their nine goals. Mana Iwabuchi bagged two.
  • Japan head coach Asako Takakura assumed the reins in 2016 with big shoes to fill, as predecessor Norio Sasaki led Japan through a golden period which included two Women’s World Cup Finals – including that 2011 victory – and a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics.
  • Takakura boasts huge credibility both on and off the field, having been a key member of Japan’s midfield in their first two Women’s World Cup appearances. The four-time Asian Women’s Coach of the Year made her National Team debut at the age of 16 and was a midfielder in her playing days. She earned 79 caps for Japan while scoring 30 goals. She played in the 1991 and 1995 World Cups, as well as the 1996 Olympics. She has been an integral part of the Japanese coaching infrastructure for years, having coached every age group from Under-13 upwards. She led Japan to the 2014 Under-17 Women’s World Cup title and the 2015 Asian U-19 Championship while also serving on the FIFA technical study group at the last World Cup. She also coached Japan to third place at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea, defeating the USA 1-0 in the bronze medal game.
  • Said Takakura about the Tournament of Nations: “Last year, we failed to play our game and came back empty handed, so we would like to show the world just how much we have improved since. This is a restart ahead of next year’s World Cup and we will continue to look for new talents and build up on what we have worked on thus far.”
  • Japan made three changes from the tournament roster it originally announced, removing injured defender Rumi Utsugi of the Seattle Reign and Hikaru Naomoto, while adding uncapped defender Mayo Doko and uncapped midfielder Hina Sugita. Defender Nana Ichise was also dropped, but not replaced, and Japan will go with 22 players for the tournament.
  • Japan brought 10 players from its 2017 Tournament of Nations squad but has named mostly the same team that participated in the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan as 16 players from its AFC Cup title winning team are at the ToN this summer. Three of the new players are uncapped in defender Aimi Kunitake, Doko and Sugita, and once-capped midfielder Narumi Miura.
  • Japan is without three experienced players in Utsugi, midfielder Saki Kumagai who is with Olympique Lyon in France and Mizuho Sakaguchi, who is out due to injury.
  • Japan had some mixed results at the 2018 Algarve Cup played in March in Portugal, falling to reigning European champion Holland 6-2 before beating Iceland, 2-1, and Denmark 2-0. Japan then fell in the 5th place game to Canada, 2-0, but they did win the tournament’s Fair Play Award.
  • Japan’s comes to the USA with a squad that has a good mix of experience and youth. Defender Aya Sameshima is the most capped player on the roster with 94 caps and five goals.
  • Five other Japanese players have 50 or more caps in forward Nahomi Kawasumi (87/20), midfielder Emi Nakajima (56/12), defender Saori Ariyoshi (56/1), forward Mana Iwabuchi (53/16) and forward Yuika Sugasawa (51/13).
  • Japan, which has a strong and engaged domestic league, has just one player on its ToN roster who plays their club soccer outside of Japan in Kawasumi for Seattle. Chicago Red Stars forward Yuki Nagasato, who is having a fine NWSL season with four goals and give assists, was not named to the roster.
  • Kawasumi has 13 assists since the start of the 2016 NWSL season, the fourth most in the league over that span.

USA VS. JAPAN:

  • The USA and Japan have a rich history dating back to 1986, the second year of the U.S. WNT program, but of course it’s the more recent meetings which have linked these two countries together in women’s soccer history.
  • While the streak ended at the 2016 Olympics, the USA and Japan met in the three previous world finals, with the USA losing the 2011 Women’s World Cup in penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie over regulation and overtime, then winning the 2012 Olympic gold medal game 2-1, and the historic 2015 Women’s World Cup Final 5-2. Of course, the 2015 final featured the epic hat trick in 16 minutes from Carli Lloyd and goals from Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath.
  • The first meetings between the two countries after the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final came in June of 2016 with the teams playing to a wild 3-3 draw in Commerce City, Colo., as hometown hero Lindsey Horan scored late to make it 3-2, but Japan equalized in stoppage time. The USA then won 2-0 in three days later in Cleveland, getting goals from Julie Johnston and Alex Morgan, in a match that was called in the 76th minute due to weather.
  • The most recent meeting came at least year’s Tournament of Nations with the USA winning 3-0. Megan Rapinoe scored what was one of the best goals of the year in the 12th minute and the USA then broke open a tight game with goals from Mallory Pugh in the 60th and Alex Morgan in the 80th.
  • The USA holds an all-time record of 27-1-7 against Japan and has scored 100 goals while allowing 25.
  • With the lopsided score line in Canada being the exception, of the last 13 matches between the teams since 2011, all but three have been decided by two goals or less.
  • The USA’s lone loss in regulation time to Japan occurred on March 5, 2012 in Faro, Portugal, during the 2012 Algarve Cup, a 1-0 setback. The 2011 Women’s World Cup Final officially counts as a tie.
  • Since falling in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, the USA has gone 5-1-3 against Japan, outscoring them 21-10.
  • 10 players and eight starters who played against the USA in last year’s Tournament of Nations are on Japan’s roster while the USA brings 12 players from that match, including eight starters.

Last Time On the field for the USA:
June 12, 2018 – FirstEngery Stadium; Cleveland, Ohio
International Friendly

USA 2    Rapinoe 35; Heath 75
CHN 1    Li Ying 72

Lineups:
USA: 24-Ashlyn Harris; 14-Sofia Huerta (27-Merritt Mathias, 77), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 12-Tierna Davidson, 19-Crystal Dunn; 2-Julie Ertz (9-Lindsey Horan, 57), 3-Samantha Mewis (16-Rose Lavelle, 65), 6-Morgan Brian (20-Allie Long, 46); 23-Christen Press, 13-Alex Morgan (capt.) (17-Tobin Heath, 64), 15-Megan Rapinoe (10-Carli Lloyd, 57)
Substitutes: 1-Alyssa Naeher, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 25-McCall Zerboni
Head coach: Jill Ellis

CHN: 12-Peng Shimeng; 5-Wu Haiyan (capt.), 6-Lin Yuping, 7-Wang Shuang, 10-Li Ying, 11-Wang Shanshan (21-Xiao Yuyi, 66), 16-Yan Jinjin (29-Li Tingting, 59), 18-Han Peng, 23-Ren Guixin ( 26-Wang Yan, 66), 25-Lou Jiahui, 27-Yao Wei
Substitutes: 24-Yang Yan, 31-Zhou Li, 2-Liu Shanshan, 4-Li Danyang, 9-Tang Jiali, 14-Xu Yanlu, 19-Tan Ruyin, 20-Zhang Rui, 30-Yang Li
Head coach: Jia Xiuquan

Last Time On the field for the USA vs. Japan:
Aug. 3, 2017 – StubHub Center; Carson, Calif
2017 Tournament of Nations

USA 3 Rapinoe 12; Pugh 60; Morgan 80
JPN 0

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 14-Casey Short, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara (16-Taylor Smith, 30); 8-Julie Ertz (20-Allie Long, 54), 3-Samantha Mewis, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (9-Lindsey Horan, 65); 22-Mallory Pugh (12-Lynn Williams, 73), 23-Christen Press (13-Alex Morgan, 73), 15-Megan Rapinoe (2-Sydney Leroux, 73)
Subs not used :, 11-Ali Krieger, 17-Margaret Purce, 18-Jane Campbell, 21-Abby Smith
Not available: 6-Morgan Brian, 19-Crystal Dunn
Head coach: Jill Ellis

JPN : 18-Ayaka Yamashita; 4-Miho Manya (19-Hikaru Kitagawa, 46), 3-Aya Sameshima, 23-Nana Ichise; 6-Rumi Utsugi, 10-Mizuho Sakaguchi (capt.), 7-Emi Nakajima (17-Yui Hasegawa, 46), 5-Madoka Haji (22-Shiho Tomari, 85), 16-Rin Sumida; 15-Yuka Momiki (14-Yu Nakasato, 79) 11-Mina Tanaka (9-Kumi Yokoyama, 64)
Subs not used: 1-Sakiko Ikeda, Hikari Takagi, 8-Riho Sakamoto, 12-Hikaru Naomoto, 13-Yuika Sugasawa, 20-Ayumi Oya, 21-Ayaka Saitoh
Head coach: Asako Takakura

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