USWNT to host China PR in pair of summer friendlies
CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will face China PR in two summer friendly matches on Thursday, June 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (7 p.m. MT on FS1) and the second on Tuesday, June 12 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
The match at Rio Tinto Stadium will mark the first appearance for the U.S. WNT in Utah since the establishment of the Utah Royals FC, the newest team in the National Women’s Soccer League. Utah and Major League Soccer club Real Salt Lake calls Rio Tinto Stadium home.
GAMES FOR THE AGES
The USA played China in two consecutive world finals in the 1990s, winning 2-1 in the 1996 Olympic gold medal game, the first contested in women’s soccer, and then winning the historic penalty kick shootout that decided the 1999 Women’s World Cup. The USA and China have met 56 times, second behind Canada on the list of most common opponent for the U.S. WNT, but the two historic women’s soccer nations have not played since the final game of 2015, a 1-0 loss for the USA in what was legendary striker Abby Wambach’s final game.
That loss at the Superdome in New Orleans, which was the final Victory Tour game during a memorable 2015 for the U.S. Women, ended a 104-match home unbeaten streak dating back to 2004. The USA and China met in the quarterfinal round at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup with the Americans emerging with a 1-0 victory on a spectacular header goal from Carli Lloyd.
“Obviously, there’s a great history between the countries and we always enjoy the matches against China,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “They bring a level of technical skill and tactical savvy that challenges us, which is what we need as we continue to prepare for World Cup qualifying in the fall.”
DID YOU KNOW…
- China will enter the 2018 AFC Asian Women’s Cup from April 6-20 in Jordan in pursuit of a berth to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top three finishers will be the first teams to qualify and join host France.
- The Steel Roses are in Group A with host Jordan, Thailand and the Philippines. Group B features Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam.
- The U.S. Women will be making their sixth trip to Utah and will be playing their fifth match at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- The USA last played in Utah on Oct. 19, 2016 in a 4-0 victory vs. Switzerland during which five players made their WNT debut: Abby Dahlkemper, former BYU star Ashley Hatch, Casey Short, Andi Sullivan and Lynn Williams. Williams also scored in that game, becoming the 20th WNT player to score in her first cap.
- The USA’s first match in Utah took place at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus, a 5-0 win vs. Ireland in 2003.
- Rio Tinto was also the site of Alex Morgan’s first cap on March 31, 2010, a 1-0 victory against Mexico in a match played in ankle-deep snow.
- This will be just the fourth visit to Cleveland for the U.S. WNT. The previous three matches took place at FirstEnergy Stadium with the most recent visit a 2-0 win against Japan on June 5, 2016.
- One of those three previous Cleveland matches – the first – came against China, a 2-0 win in June of 2007.
- FirstEnergy Stadium was also the site of a 4-0 win over Germany on May 22, 2010, that featured the 130th and final goal of Kristine Lilly’s historic international career.
- The USA is 34-9-13 all-time against China. The nine wins for China are the most of any country against the USA besides Norway (19).
- Of the 56 all-time meetings between the teams, a remarkable 45 have featured margins of victory that were two goals or less.