USWNT playing Brazil on Wednesday with SheBelieves Cup title on the line
Powered by three goals from the dynamic Mallory Swanson, the U.S. Women’s National Team has won each of its first two game at the 2023 SheBelieves Cup and controls its own destiny heading into the third and final match day of the tournament.
The USA will play Brazil at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas needing a win or a draw to lift the SheBelieves Cup trophy for a fourth consecutive year and the sixth time overall. Kickoff on Wednesday, Feb. 22 is slated for 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on TNT, HBO Max, Universo and Peacock.
With six points and a plus-three goal differential through its first two games, the USA need just a point to secure the title outright and could even win the tournament with a loss, pending the result of Wednesday’s opening match between Canada and Japan at 4 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. CT (HBO Max, Universo and Peacock).
Canada, which scored in each half to beat Brazil 2-0 on Sunday in Nashville, is currently second in the standings, narrowly ahead Brazil on goal difference. Brazil won its opening match against Japan, 1-0.
Despite two skillful showings in the first two match days, Japan remains in search of its first points of the tournament and is out of contention for the 2023 SheBelieves Cup title.
Following the conclusion of USA-Brazil, the 2023 Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP Award will be announced, recognizing the top performer of the tournament as selected by a committee of representatives from each participating nation as well as a fan vote.
USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current; 10), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 13), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 88)
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 23/0), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 26/0), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 129/24), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 13/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 28/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 213/0), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 72/1)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 125/26), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC; 11/2), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 86/24), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 49/7), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 21/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 41/3)
FORWARDS (7): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 17/5), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 203/120), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 23/4), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 198/63), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 14/2), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars; 86/31), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 51/15)
SWANSON SOARING AT SHEBELIEVES CUP
As she enters her eighth year with the U.S. Women’s National Team, Swanson is in the midst of some of the best form of her young but already highly accomplished international career. The 24-year-old has scored six goals in four games for the USA in 2023, including scoring all three of the team’s goals in the 2023 SheBelieves Cup. She tallied twice in the first half of the Feb. 16 win over Canada and then netted the game’s only goal just before halftime in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Japan in Nashville. The goal against Japan was her seventh career goal at the SheBelieves Cup, moving her into a tie with Megan Rapinoe for the most goals scored by any player in the history of the SheBelieves Cup.
Swanson’s team-high six goals in four games in 2023 have already matched the second-most goals she has scored in any calendar year with the USWNT, trailing only the career-high seven goals she scored in 2022. Dating back to the final game of 2022 against Germany, Swanson has now scored in five consecutive games, the longest scoring streak of her international career and the longest by any USWNT player since Christen Press scored in six straight games from November of 2019 to February of 2020. The 24-year-old Pugh is the first USWNT player under the age of 30 to have a scoring streak of five or more goals since a 22-year-old Alex Morgan achieved the feat in 2012.
BACK IN THE LONE STAR STATE
Wednesday’s game in Frisco will be the USA’s 31st match all-time in the state of Texas and the first since playing Iceland in Frisco in the final game of the 2022 SheBelieves Cup on Feb. 23, 2022. The USWNT has won all 30 of its matches played in Texas, outscoring opponents, 128-11. Alex Morgan has scored 14 goals in 17 career USWNT appearances in Texas, only Abby Wambach, who has 16 goals in California, has scored more in a single state in program history.
SHEBELIEVES CUP IN YEAR EIGHT
The SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa, is just one part of U.S. Soccer’s SheBelieves initiative to inspire and empower women and girls to achieve their goals in sport and beyond. The tournament, which will feature six total games, was first played in 2016. The USA won the inaugural edition, France took top honors in 2017, the USA won again in 2018, England finished first in 2019 and the USA returned to the top of the podium in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The tournament format for the 2023 SheBelieves Cup is the same as the first seven years. The winner will be determined by total points (three for a win, one for a draw), with the first tiebreaker being overall goal difference, followed by goals scored, then head-to-head result. If teams are still tied, the next tiebreaker will be the Fair Play ranking based on yellow and red cards. Each team is allowed six substitutes per game over three sub opportunities and two concussions subs, if necessary. Halftime subs, concussion substitutions and/or additional substitutions due to an opponent’s concussion sub do not count against the three opportunities limit.
Canada is making its second appearance in the SheBelieves Cup after finishing third in 2021. Canada was drawn into Group B at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup along with Nigeria, Australia and the Republic of Ireland. Japan is participating in the SBC for the third time after coming to the USA in 2020 (fourth place) and 2019 (third place) and was drawn into Group C at the World Cup along with Costa Rica, Spain and Zambia. Brazil makes its third appearance in the SheBelieves Cup after participating in 2021 (second place) and 2019 (fourth place). Brazil was drawn into Group F at the World Cup along with France, Jamaica and the Group C playoff winner.
VISA SHEBELIEVES CUP MVP
For the fourth year in a row, Visa, the presenting sponsor of the SheBelieves Cup, will award the MVP trophy to the most outstanding player of the tournament. The award will be announced following the conclusion of the final match. Spain’s Alexia Putellas won the inaugural award in 2020 as voted on by a selection committee of former Women’s National Team players from each participating country while Rose Lavelle claimed MVP honors in 2021 and fellow American Catarina Macario was the 2022 recipient.
A new selection committee comprised of representatives from all competing nations will be announced for the 2023 SheBelieves Cup and fans will once again have the opportunity to vote for the Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP award recipient, using an online ballot to select among a list of finalists chosen by the committee. The fan-vote will be incorporated into the overall determination of the 2023 Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP.
INSIDE THE SERIES: USA VS. BRAZIL
Wednesday’s matchup in Frisco will be the 39th meeting all-time between the USA and Brazil. The U.S. leads the overall series with a record of 30 wins, five draws and three losses, and has won the last five head-to-head meetings between the teams. The U.S. is unbeaten on home soil, with 20 wins and two ties against Brazil in games played in the United States. The USA’s only losses to Brazil came in a friendly in 1997 in Sao Paulo, the 2007 Women’s World Cup semifinal in China, and a December 2014 friendly in Brasilia.
The last matchup between the USA and Brazil came on Feb. 21, 2021, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. in the second match day of the 2021 SheBelieves Cup. Christen Press opened the scoring for the USA with a goal in the 11th minute off an assist from Lindsey Horan while Megan Rapinoe added an insurance tally in the 88th to secure the 2-0 victory for the USA, her goal also coming off an assist from Horan. Ten of the 15 U.S. players who same time in that game against Brazil are on the roster for this year’s tournament.
Rapinoe has three goals and five assists in 10 career appearances against Brazil while Alex Morgan has two goals in nine career games vs. the South American powers. Rose Lavelle and Crystal Dunn have also scored one goal each in previous meetings against Brazil, while Horan has five assists in four career games vs. Brazil.
USA WILL PLAY IN GROUP E AT 2023 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
The U.S. Women’s National Team will face World Cup debutant Vietnam, 2019 World Cup runner-up the Netherlands and the Group A Playoff Winner — either Portugal or Cameroon — in Group E at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place from July 20-Aug. 20 in 10 stadiums and nine host cities, five in Australia and four in New Zealand.
The USA will play the entirety of the group stage in New Zealand. The U.S. will open Group E play against Vietnam on July 22 at Eden Park in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau (1 p.m. local / 9 p.m. ET on July 21), which will also serve as the host venue for the Opening Ceremony of the 2023 World Cup on July 20 when New Zealand plays Norway. The USA then faces Netherlands on July 27 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara (1 p.m. local / 9 p.m. ET on July 26), followed by the Group A Playoff Winner on Aug. 1 at Eden Park in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau (7 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET).
WORLD CUP FIELD NEARLY FINALIZED
The expanded 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be the first to feature 32 countries, up from 24 in 2019 and 2015. Of the 32 teams for Australia/New Zealand, 29 have qualified with only the playoff winners yet to be determined.
Those three remaining spots will be determined this FIFA Window during the Inter-Confederation Playoffs taking place in New Zealand from February 18-23. The ten-team playoff tournament will be used as a test event prior to the Women’s World Cup and features the ten nations split into three groups, with the winner of each group qualifying for the Women’s World Cup. Group A kicked off with Cameroon topping Thailand 2-0 on Feb. 18. The Indomitable Lionesses will now take on Portugal on Feb. 22 for a berth to the World Cup. The game will be played at World Cup venue Waikato Stadium in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa and the winner of Portugal vs. Cameroon will join the USA in Group E at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.
Group B featured Haiti downing Senegal 4-0 on Feb. 18 to advance to a Feb. 22 matchup against Chile with a World Cup berth on the line. That match will be played at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau and the Playoff Group B winner will join England, Denmark and China PR in Group B at the final tournament.
In Group C, which features four teams, Chinese Taipei took a 2-0 lead on Paraguay only to give up two late goals and then fell in penalty kicks. Papua New Guinea lost to Panama, 2-0, with Panamanian American Riley Tanner, who played at Alabama and hails from Michigan, scoring the clinching goal. Paraguay and Panama play for a World Cup berth on Feb. 23 at Waikato Stadium. The winner will join France, Jamaica and Brazil in Group F.
New Zealand and Argentina, both of whom are already in the World Cup, will play a series of friendly matches against playoff teams during the FIFA window as well. Argentina topped Chile 4-0 on Feb. 17 while New Zealand fell to Portugal 5-0. On Feb. 20, Argentina beat New Zealand 2-0 and Thailand and Senegal played to a 1-1 draw on Feb. 21.
SHEBELIEVES MOVEMENT CONTINUES TO GROW
Inspired by the U.S. WNT players, SheBelieves is an initiative led by U.S. Soccer to inspire and encourage women and girls. The campaign launched in the run-up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup and has since grown into a powerful message of empowerment and believing in oneself. The SheBelieves Cup represents a showcase event for the campaign, which also features efforts such as the SheBelieves Summit Presented by Deloitte.
The 2023 SheBelieves Summit will take place on March 11-12 at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas. Returning to its original in-person-only format, the sixth annual SheBelieves Summit will feature speakers from sports, business and beyond, aiming to help provide attendees with the tools needed to help secure jobs in their chosen careers and continue on the journey to reach their goals. Registration for the event is now open.
USA ROSTER NOTES
- The most capped player on this roster is Becky Sauerbrunn at 213, followed by Alex Morgan (203), Megan Rapinoe (198), Crystal Dunn (129) and Lindsey Horan (125), while the least capped players are Trinity Rodman (14), Casey Murphy (13), Naomi Girma (13), Taylor Kornieck (11) and Adrianna Franch (10).
- Eleven of the 23 players on the USA roster for the 2023 SheBelieves Cup have fewer than 30 caps: Sofia Huerta, Emily Fox, Midge Purce, Alana Cook, Ashley Sanchez, Ashley Hatch, Rodman, Girma, Murphy, Kornieck and Franch.
- Morgan is the top scorer on the roster in international play with 120 goals. Megan Rapinoe has 63, Mallory Swanson has 31, Lindsey Horan has 26, and Dunn and Lavelle each have 24.
- Six different players have scored for the USA so far in 2023, led by six goals from Swanson, two goals from Lavelle and one goal each from Morgan, Lynn Williams, Hatch and Kornieck.
- Swanson, Cook and Fox are tied for the team lead in total minutes played in 2023 with 315 minutes of action each. Horan is second with 264 minutes followed by Morgan (249) and Sanchez (243), respectively.
- Ten of the USA’s 12 goals this year have been assisted, with six different players tallying an assist in 2023. Rodman leads the way with three assists, followed by two from Lavelle and Morgan, and one each from Sanchez, Huerta and Williams.
- With her assist on Swanson’s goal against Japan, Alex Morgan now has 49 career assists and is tied with Carin Jennings-Gabarra for 10th place on the USA’s all-time assists charts.
- Swanson’s goal against Japan was the 31st of her international career, breaking a tie with Brandi Chastain and Amy Rodriguez to give her sole possession of 20th on the USA’s all-time scoring charts.
- Nine players have been directly involved in a goal this year with either a goal or an assist, led by Swanson’s six goals. Lavelle is second with four total goal involvements (two goals and two assists) followed by Morgan (one goal and two assists) and Rodman (three assists) with three each.
- The USA has posted four consecutive shutouts to open 2023 with Alyssa Naeher recording clean sheets against New Zealand (Jan. 18) and Canada (Feb. 16) and Casey Murphy pitching the shutouts on Jan. 21 against New Zealand and Feb. 19 vs. Japan.
- Head coach Vlatko Andonovski is 46W-5L-6D in 57 games with the USWNT, 37 of which have been at home and 24 coming against teams ranked in the top-13 in the world.
IN FOCUS: BRAZIL | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FIFA World Ranking: 9
CONMEBOL Ranking: 1
World Cup Appearances: 8 (1991, 1995, 199, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)
Best World Cup Finish: Runners-Up (2007)
Record vs. USA (W-D-L): 3W-30L-5D
Last Meeting vs. USA: Feb. 21, 2021 (2-0 USA win in Orlando, Fla.)
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage (SWE)
BRAZIL DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (3):1-Lorena (Gremio), 12-Letícia (Corinthians), 22-Luciana (Ferroviária)
Defenders (8):2-Bruninha (NJ/NY Gotham FC, USA), 3-Kathellen (Real Madrid, ESP), 4-Rafaelle (Arsenal FC, ENG), 5-Tainara (FC Bayern Munich, GER), 6-Tamires (Corinthians), 13-Tarciane (Corinthians), 14-Lauren (Madrid CFF, ESP), 19-Yasmim (Corinthians)
Midfielders (5):8-Ana Vitória (SL Benfica, POR), 11-Adriana (Corinthians), 15-Julia Bianchi (Chicago Red Stars, USA), 17-Ary Borges (Racing Louisville FC, USA), 21-Kerolin (NC Courage, USA)
Forwards (7):7-Ludmila (Atlético de Madrid, ESP), 9-Debinha (Kansas City Current, USA), 10-Marta (Orlando Pride, USA), 16-Bia Zaneratto (Palmeiras), 18-Geyse (FC Barcelona, ESP), 20-Nycole (SL Benfica, POR), 23-Gabi Nunes (Madrid CFF, ESP)
BRAZIL ROSTER NOTES
- Brazil is one of the few nations that have qualified for every Women’s World Cup and every Olympics.
- Brazil heads to Texas looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Canada on Feb. 19 in Nashville, Tenn. It was a hard-fought and evenly contested affair from the opening whistle which saw the teams combine for 24 shots and 30 fouls. Brazil outshot Canada 14-10 and put six shots on goal to Canada’s five, but the Canadians were more ruthless inside the penalty box.
- This will be the second time Brazil faces the USA with former USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage at the helm. Sundhage took over the job in June of 2019. She ended her tenure with her tenure with the USA in 2012 and coached her home country Sweden from 2012-2017 and the Sweden U-17s for two years before taking the Brazil job.
- She coached Brazil to a quarterfinal appearance at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a title at the 2022 Copa America Feminina last summer in Colombia.
- Sundhage was extremely popular with players and fans alike when she coached the USA from 2008-2012, winning two Olympic gold medals and making it to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, a match the USA should have won, but lost in penalty kicks. Her overall record with the USA was 91-6-10. Of the four USWNT head coaches who have coached more than 100 games (Tony DiCiccio, April Heinrichs, Jill Ellis and Sundhage), her six losses were the least of the four, although Ellis only had seven and DiCicco only had eight.
- Brazil’s roster for the SheBelieves Cup brings together a core of highly experienced veterans with a young group of players still looking to build experience on the international stage. Six-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta makes her return to the squad after tearing her ACL in late March of 2022 and is by far the most experienced player on this roster with 184 appearances and 122 international goals. Marta, who celebrated her 37th birthday on Feb. 19, is also the oldest player on this roster and is looking to make her sixth World Cup roster.
- Defender Tamires is the next most experienced player on this roster with 136 caps while dynamic attacker Debinha has 134 caps and is the second leading scorer on this roster with 58 international goals.
- Debinha, the MVP of the 2019 NWSL title game, made headlines this summer when she signed with the Kansas City Current in free agency. She is one of 15 players on this roster currently playing her club soccer outside of the country and one of six players set to compete in the National Women’s Soccer League this season. Marta plays for the Orlando Pride, midfielder Kerolin is entering her second season with the North Carolina Courage, outside back Bruninha made two appearances for NJ/NY Gotham FC last year, and midfielders Ary Borges (Racing Louisville FC) and Julia Bianchi (Chicago Red Stars) could make their NWSL debuts this season.
- Five other players play their club soccer in Spain, two in Portugal and one each in Germany and England.
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