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USWNT returns to action on Saturday to host Uzbekistan in Columbus, Ohio

With qualifiers for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2024 Summer Olympics three months away, the U.S. Women’s National Team continues its preparations on Saturday, April 9, taking on Uzbekistan at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio.

The match kicks off atc and will be broadcast in English on FOX, with broadcast coverage beginning at 5 p.m. ET, and in Spanish on Vix, TelevisaUnivision’s free streaming service.

These will be the first matches for the USWNT since winning its third consecutive SheBelievesCup back in February. The USA clinche its fifth tournament title with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Iceland on February 23. The 2022 SheBelieves Cup marked the USA’s first matches of the year and included a 0-0 draw vs. Czech Republic on Feb. 17 and a 5-0 victory over New Zealand on Feb. 20.

Following the match in Columbus, the USA will close out its two-game set with Uzbekistan in Chester, Pennsylvania. The teams will meet at Subaru Park, home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ViX.

USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns FC; 0), Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 79)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 7/0), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC; 77/0), Imani Dorsey (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 1/0), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 11/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 10/0), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 0/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 150/2)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA; 108/25), Jaelin Howell (Racing Louisville FC; 4/0), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 69/18), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA; 15/5), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 36/5), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 5/0), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 25/2) 

FORWARDS (5): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 6/3), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 70/21), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 12/2), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 13/1) 

The 22-player U.S. roster for these matches against Uzbekistan features 17 players who helped the U.S. win the SheBelieves Cup in February. Veterans and World Cup champions Abby Dahlkemper and Lindsey Horan return to the roster after missing the SheBelieves Cup due to injury while goalkeeper Bella Bixby and defenders Imani Dorsey and Naomi Girma are the other new additions from February. Midfielder Samantha Mewis was initially named to this roster when it was announced on March 29 but was ruled out on April 1 as she continues to recover from a knee issue and was not replaced.

INSIDE THE SERIES: USA VS. UZBEKISTAN

The matchup in Columbus will be the first meeting ever between the USA and Uzbekistan, making Uzbekistan the 55th different country the USWNT has faced in its nearly 37-year history. Uzbekistan is the eighth different opponent from Asia and the first new AFC opponent for the USWNT since Thailand in 2016. That match against Thailand was also played in Columbus, a 9-0 victory of the USA in what was also the final international match for legendary USWNT midfielder Heather O’Reilly.

SUCCESS ON HOME SOIL

The USA heads into Saturday’s match in Columbus on a 65-game home unbeaten streak, which includes 58 wins and seven draws. During this unbeaten streak, the USA has outscored its opponents 237027 (what is this number?), including a 107-3 margin during its last 27 matches at home, all but two of which have been wins save for a 0-0 draw with Korea Republic on Oct. 21 and a scoreless draw vs Czech Republic on Feb. 17. The match against South Korea ended the USA’s home winning streak at 22 consecutive games, the second-longest such streak in USWNT history. The USA’s longest home winning streak was 23 games and spanned from April 1993 to February 1996.

The USA has not allowed a goal on home soil in over two years, last conceding at home on March, 11, 2020 in a 3-1 win over Japan in the final match of the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. Since then, they’ve kept a program record 17 straight home clean sheets, the longest such streak in program. The home shutout streak currently stands at 1,562 minutes which is over 26 hours of match play without allowing a goal at home. Four different goalkeepers have played a hand in this shutout streak, with Alyssa Naeher registering seven of the 16 home shutouts. Jane Campbell (4 clean sheets), Adrianna Franch (3) and Casey Murphy (2) also registered shutouts during this span, with Naeher and Franch also pitching a combined shutout on July 1 vs Mexico.

ROAD TO DOWN UNDER

A new cycle is well underway with less than three months until the start of qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be co-hosted in Australia and New Zealand beginning in July of 2023. The Concacaf qualifying tournament is scheduled to take place in Monterrey, Mexico from July 4-18, 2022, with the top four teams guaranteeing their spot in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Two more Concacaf representatives will advance to a 10-team intercontinental playoff tournament to determine the final teams in the expand 32-team field for 2023.

The draw for the 2022 Concacaf W Championship will be held on April 19 in Miami (7 p.m. ET). The event will place the eight competing nations – the USA, Canada and the six qualifying group winners – into two groups of four teams each. The USA, which will head Group A, and Canada, which will head Group B, have received byes straight to the final tournament as the highest-ranked teams in the region. The six qualifying group winners will be determined during the April FIFA window.

The eight team Concacaf W Championship will consist of group play, followed by semifinal and championship rounds. Along with qualifying for the World Cup, at conclusion of the Concacaf W Championship, the winning nation will also guarantee its place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games Women’s Football Tournament and the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup. The runner-up and the third-place nations will progress to a Concacaf Olympic play-in to be played in September of 2023. The winner of the play-in will also guarantee their place in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games and the 2024 W Gold Cup

The USA is looking to qualify for its ninth consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup, having played in every tournament since the competition’s inception in 1991 and winning a record four titles. The USA will also have the opportunity to qualify for an eighth consecutive Summer Olympics.

USA ROSTER NOTES

  • The most capped player on the roster is Kelley O’Hara (150) while the least capped players are Aubrey Kingsbury (0), Bella Bixby), Naomi Girma (0), Imani Dorsey (1) and Trinity Rodman (2).
  • Just two players have 100+ caps: Kelley O’Hara and Lindsey Horan (108).
  • Alyssa Naeher is the oldest player on the roster (33.9 years old) while O’Hara is the oldest field player (33.6 years). Rodman is the youngest (19.8 years old) and was eight years old when O’Hara made her USWNT debut.
  • Nine players on the roster are under the age of 25: Alana Cook, Mallory Pugh, Emily Fox, Ashley Sanchez, Catarina Macario, Jaelin Howell, Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma and Trinity Rodman.
  • Lindsey Horan is the top scorer on the roster with 25 goals. Mallory Pugh has 21 goals for the USWNT while Rose Lavelle has 18. No one else on the roster has more than five international goals (Macario and Kristie Mewis).
  • Four different players have scored for the USWNT so far in 2022 – Mallory Pugh (3), Catarina Macario (2), Ashley Hatch (1) and Kristie Mewis (1). The USA’s other three goals this year came via own goals.
  • Seven different players have registered an assist for the USWNT this year. Ashley Sanchez leads the way with two assists while Macario, Pugh, Hatch, Margaret Purce and Sofia Huerta each have one assist.
  • In total, eight different players have been directly involved in goals for the USWNT this year, tallying either a goal or an assist.
  • Defender Alana Cook leads the USA in total minutes played so far in 2022 with 266 minutes of action, followed by midfielder Andi Sullivan (231) and defender Emily Fox (226).
  • Head coach Vlatko Andonovski is 30-2-6 in 38 games (two at the end of 2019, nine in 2020, 24 in 2021, and three so far in 2022), setting a record for best start for a head coach in USWNT history. His first ever game in charge of the USWNT came in Columbus, Ohio in a 3-2 win over Sweden on Nov. 7, 2019 at MAPFRE Stadium.
  • Of Andonovski’s first 38 games, 27 have been at home and 17 have been against teams ranked in the top-13 in the world.
  • Eleven different players have earned their first cap under Andonovski, seven of whom are on this roster.
  • Five of the last six goals the USWNT scored in the SheBelieves Cup were scored by players under 24-years-old (Mallory Pugh – 3, Catarina Macario – 2). Only four of the previous 115 goals the USWNT has scored (excluding own goals) were scored by players before their 24th birthday dating back to the start of 2020.
  • Seven of the 12 NWSL clubs have players on the roster with the Washington Spirit having six and OL Reign and NJ/NY Gotham FC having three each.

IN FOCUS: UZBEKISTAN | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

Current FIFA World Ranking: 48
AFC Ranking: 10
FIFA Country Code: UZB
2023 World Cup Qualifying: N/A
World Cup appearances: None
Best World Cup Finish: N/A
Record vs. USA: 0-0-0
Last Meeting vs. USA: None
Coach: Midori Honda (JPN)
Championship Honors: None

UZBEKISTAN WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Tilovova Laylo (PFK Sevinch), 12-Saidova Zarina (FC Bunyodkor), 13-Uzganova Nigora (FC Sogdiana) 

DEFENDERS (7): 2-Nabieva Yulduz (FC Bunyodkor), 3-Kuchkarova Ugiloy (FC Sogdiana), 9-Irisboeva Ziyoda (FC Bunyodkor), 11-Mirzayorova Mukhlisa (FC Metallurg), 17-Zarbieva Tanzilya (FC Sogdiana), 21-Tojiddinova Shokhida (FC AGMK), 22-Khusniddinova Solikha (Kocaeli Bayan FK, TUR)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 4-Zaynitdinova Shakhrizoda (Trabzonspor, TUR), 5-Panjieva Maftuna (FC Sogdiana), 6-Turdalieva Irodahon (FC Sogdiana), 10-Ablyakimova Ilvina (FC Bunyodkor), 14-Takaboeva Setora (Trabzonspor, TUR), 15-Vokhidova Madina (FC Qizilkum), 19-Kamoltoeva Nozima (FC Sogdiana)  

FORWARDS (6): 7-Kudratova Nilufar (PFK Sevinch), 8-Ergasheva Dildora (FC Sogdiana), 16-Juraboeva Diyora (FC Metallurg), 18-Norboeva Aziza (FC Bunyodkor), 20-Zaripova Kamila (Trabzonspor, TUR), 23-Khabibullaeva Diyorakhon (FC Sogdiana)

UZBEKISTAN ROSTER NOTES

  • Uzbekistan gained its independence and became a country in 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
  • Uzbekistan played in the Turkish Women’s Cup during the February FIFA window, defeating Lithuania 1-0, falling to Ukraine 2-0 and drawing with Venezuela, 0-0.
  • In 2021 in friendly games, Uzbekistan defeated India, 1-0, lost to Belarus, 3-1, drew Belarus 1-1, and defeated Iran 5-0. In Asian Cup qualifying, the Uzbeks downed Mongolia 12-0 and lost to South Korea, 4-0.
  • All of Uzbekistan’s players play domestically (19 players) or in Turkey, where three players play for Trabzonspor and one for Kocaeli Byana.
  • Two players compete for PFK Sevenich, which won 11 First Division titles in a row from 2006-2016, before the streak was broken by FC Metallurg, which has two players on the roster.
  • Reigning champions FC Bunyodkor have five players on the roster while FC Sogdiana eight players on the roster.
  • This summer, the Uzbekistan will play the qualifying rounds for the 2023 Asian Women’s Cup in China PR and was drawn into Group C with Thailand, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The group winners and the top five second place teams in the 24-team pre-qualifying tournament will advance to the final tournament.
  • Uzbekistan’s head coach is famed Japanese player Midori Honda. In 1991, she played for Japan in the first-ever Women’s World Cup. Now 56, she debuted for Japan at the age of 17 in 1983 and played 44 times for her country.
  • She has been coaching in Japan’s top league since 2001 and was also an assistant coach for the Japan U-20s at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, a tournament that the USA won and at which Japan finished third.

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