USWNT to finish 2021 schedule with two away matches against Australia
CHICAGO – The U.S. Women’s National Team will finish its 2021 schedule with two away matches against Australia.
The games will mark the first visit to Australia for the U.S. Women in 21 years and the USA’s first trip to Australia since it was named co-host of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.
The first match will take place at the massive Stadium Australia in Sydney on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. local time (Friday, Nov. 26 at 11 p.m. ET on FS2) and the second will be at the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Tuesday, November 30 at 8:05 p.m. local time (4:05 a.m. ET on ESPN). Newcastle is just over 100 miles north of Sydney on the western coast.
Stadium Australia, built for the 2000 Summer Olympics, seats 83,500 fans and will host the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023TM Final. Newcastle is not a World Cup venue but is home to the Newcastle Jets, the A-League women’s team in the top-flight in Australian professional soccer.
“This trip and these games will be fantastic tests and learning opportunities,” said U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “Getting to go to one of the countries hosting the next Women’s World Cup and having to deal with the travel and facing one of the best teams in the world is a great way to end the year. We really appreciate that Football Australia and the Australian government came together to make this trip possible.”
The USA and Australia met twice this past summer in Kashima at the 2020 Olympics in Japan with the first match taking place in group play, a 0-0 draw. The USA also faced the Matildas in the bronze medal match, a 4-3 victory for the Americans as Megan Rapinoe and the now-retired Carli Lloyd each scored twice, helping the USA claim its sixth all-time Olympic medal.
This will mark the third time the USA and Australia have met four times in a calendar year, an anomaly that also took place in 1995 and 1997. The last time the USA played in Australia was in 2000 when it made three trips Down Under; one in January for a four-team friendly tournament, one in June for the Pacific Cup and again in September for the 2000 Olympics at which the USA earned the silver medal.
The USA and Australia are familiar foes, having met 32 times over the years, including at the 1995 and 2015 World Cups and in the 2004 Olympics. Australia boasts a roster stocked with talented players, most notably the NWSL’s all-time leading scorer in Sam Kerr. Widely considered one of the world’s best strikers, she currently plies her trade for Chelsea FC in England.
The U.S. team will be able to enter Australia due to rising vaccination rates that have enabled authorities in New South Wales (the state in which Sydney and Newcastle are located) and Football Australia to put procedures in place to allow for the matches to be played. The USA will arrive in Australia on Nov. 23 and leave immediately after the second match. Once the USA arrives in Australia, the team will operate inside a highly controlled environment that will limit the exposure to the broader community. The Matildas played Brazil twice in the October international window and that was the first time that athletes were allowed to complete Australia without first undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine period since the nation’s borders closed to non-essential travel due to the global pandemic.
As has been the case since U.S. Soccer matches started being played during the pandemic, the staging of the training and the games will fall under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines in cooperation with the Australia government and Football Australia. Everyone entering the environment will be tested for COVID-19 before traveling, upon arrival and periodically thereafter. The USA will not begin full team training in Australia until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed.
- Australia’s head coach is Tony Gustavsson, who was the assistant coach for the USA under Pia Sundhage in 2012 and under Jill Ellis from 2014-2019, helping the USA win the Olympic gold medal in London and Women’s World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019.
- The last time the USA played Australia in Australia was June 11, 2000, a 1-0 win in Newcastle. The lone goal of the match was scored by Shannon MacMillan.
- The USA has never faced Australia in Sydney.
- As Australia will not have to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, friendly matches against the world’s top teams gain increased importance for the Matildas, who are currently 11th in the latest FIFA World Rankings.
- The USA is 27-1-4 all-time vs. Australia, although Australia is the last team to defeat the USA on American soil, a 1-0 victory for the Matildas in the summer of 2017. Of those 32 matches, just five have been played in Australia. Eighteen have been played in the USA and nine have been played on neutral ground in six different countries.