For the first time since 2015, the U.S. Women’s National Team will travel abroad for a pair of friendlies, starting with a stop at Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg to face Sweden on June 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and UDN. The game will be the first meeting between the two since the heartbreaking quarterfinal loss for the WNT in penalty kicks at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, where Sweden went on to win the silver medal.
Besides the topic of redemption for the U.S. Women, as well as the continuous preparation towards qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the USA vs. Sweden match also includes a handful of interesting storylines. It brings together a former coach and her former players; a former coach and former assistant coach; a couple of old teammates and a long, competitive history on the field for both programs.
Sweden is coached by former U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage, who led the USA to gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Sundhage was also at the helm for the USA’s runner-up finish at the 2011 Women’s World Cup. During her stint as head coach from 2008-12, Sundhage won three Algarve Cup titles and was named the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Coach of the Year.
Sundhage worked alongside current head coach Jill Ellis while she was in the USA, however since she returned to her native land to coach Sweden, the teams have met only four times in very close games, with two of them under the leadership of Ellis as the other two were under former head coach Tom Sermanni. The USA has failed to win any of those games, tying three and losing one (the game at the Olympics officially counts as a tie). The teams tied 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in 2013; the USA then lost 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in 2014. Then there was the 0-0 draw at the Women’s World Cup in 2015 (where the U.S. of course went on to win the title), and the 1-1 (3-4 pks) draw at the Olympics in Brazil last August that the U.S. lost in penalty kicks.
Six players on this current roster earned at least one cap under Sundhage. These players are: Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.
Beyond the coaching ties, a few players on this roster also spent various amounts of time playing in Sweden. Christen Press (Tyresö FF), and Klingenberg (Tyresö FF) both played with and against many of the Sweden National Team players, while a few others played with them in clubs outside Sweden, such as Carli Lloyd and Kosovare Asllani in Manchester City; Asllani and Lindsey Horan at PSG and Hedvig Lindahl and Crystal Dunn at Chelsea.
Sweden is currently preparing for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro that kicks off in the Netherlands on July 16. While the game against 6th-ranked Sweden may be a friendly, the implications are a bit greater, as the WNT players will arrive with a chip on their shoulders and a desire to prove themselves in what is now one of the most competitive rivalries among the world’s top teams in recent years.
The USA has played against Sweden in Sweden just twice before, a 1-0 win in Skelleftea in the summer of 2008 as Carli Lloyd scored the USA’s lone goal and a 3-1 win in Halmstad in the summer of 2012 as Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath scored. Sweden’s all-time leading scorer Lotta Schelin tallied for her country.Read more
BRASILIA, Brazil (Aug. 12, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team fell to Sweden 4-3 in a penalty shootout after drawing 1-1 through 120 minutes of U.S. dominated action at Mané Garrincha Stadium in the quarterfinal round of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Sweden was content to soak up U.S. pressure throughout the match and into extra time, dropping deep into its own half and looking for the counter-attack. The USA out-shot Sweden 27-6, but put just six shots on goal.
Sweden took the lead against the run of play in the 61st minute through Stina Blackstenius’ opportunistic counter attacking strike. Alex Morgan replied 16 minutes later, but the U.S. could not find another through regulation and overtime as Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl had a fine game.
Lisa Dahlkvist struck the winning penalty kick for Sweden on the fifth and final kick of the shootout to knock the USA out of the Olympic Games before the semifinal round for the first time in history. Morgan, who sent the match to extra time when she scored the USA’s equalizer in the 77th minute of regulation, had her shot saved in the opening round of the shootout before U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo made one save in the third round to reignite the USA’s chances. However, forward Christen Press sent her shot over the bar and Solo was unable to stop Dahlkvist, setting off a wild celebration from the Sweden team.
The U.S. will return to action in September with matches against Thailand on Sept. 15 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio and the Netherlands on Sept. 18 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Kick off times and TV information will be announced at a later date.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
SWE – Stina Blackstenius (Lisa Dahlkvist), 61st minute: Sweden won possession of the ball deep in their own half and Kosovare Asllani played a short sideways pass to Lisa Dahlkvist who’s one-touch pass split the USA center back pairing for Blackstenius to run onto. As she entered the box, Julie Johnston closed in with a sliding tackle, but Blckstenius got off the shot at the last moment and it rolled across goal into the far left side netting. USA 0, SWE 1 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Alex Morgan, 77th minute: A clearance by Sweden was collected by the USA and worked through midfield out to Tobin Heath on the right wing. Heath sent a long, searching pass into the box that sailed beyond Crystal Dunn and ricocheted off Sweden defender Jessica Samuelsson into the center of the six-yard box and into the path of Morgan who screened off her defender and lashed a first-time left footed shot into the left side of the goal. USA 1, SWE 1 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Alex Morgan: Morgan’s shot to the left side was saved by Hedvig Lindahl. USA 0, SWE 0
SWE – Lotta Schelin: Schelin’s shot to the left side went in as Hope Solo guessed the other way. USA 0, SWE 1
USA – Lindsey Horan: Horan shot to the lower left corner to score. USA 1, SWE 1
SWE – Kosovare Asllani: Asllani sent her shot into the right side of the net as Solo jumped the other way. USA 1, SWE 2
USA – Carli Lloyd: Lloyd sent her shot into the upper left side with power, leaving Lindahl, who guessed correctly, no chance to save. USA 2, SWE 2
SWE – Linda Sembrant: Sembrant’s shot to the top left was saved by Solo who punched the ball over top of the net. USA 2, SWE 2
USA – Morgan Brian: Brian’s quick shot was unstoppable as it sailed high into the left side netting. USA 3, SWE 2
SWE – Caroline Seger: Seger shot to the right with a hard attempt that got past Solo, who guessed correctly. USA 3, SWE 3
USA – Christen Press: Press sent her shot over the top left side of the goal. USA 3, SWE 3
SWE – Lisa Dahlkvist: Dahlkvist sent her shot into the right side of the net as Solo jumped to the left. USA 3, SWE 4. FINAL
Next on the Schedule: The USA returns Stateside for a pair of September matches. The team will first play Thailand on Sept. 15 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, before heading down south to Atlanta for a game against the Netherlands at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 18. Kickoff and TV information will be announced at a later date.
- The USA is now 16-0-3 in 2016. The team has scored 58 goals while allowing just seven.
- The USA started in a 4-3-3 formation with the same lineup that featured in the opening match of the tournament. Alex Morgan at striker with Tobin Heath and Mallory Pugh on the wings. Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian were the attacking midfielders with Allie Long at holding mid. Kelley O’Hara was at right back, Meghan Klingenberg at left back, while Julie Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn patrolled the middle of the backline. Hope Solo was in goal for her fourth consecutive Olympic match. Lloyd wore the captain’s armband the USA.
- The backline of Solo, O’Hara, Johnston, Sauerbrunn and Klingenberg, which was reunited for the first time since the USA’s tournament opening win vs. New Zealand, started together for the 10th time in 2016.
- Since Pia Sundhage returned to her native land to coach Sweden, the teams have now met four times in very close games and the USA has drawn three and lost one. The teams tied 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in 2013, the USA lost 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in 2014 and then there was the 0-0 at the Women's World Cup last summer. Tom Sermanni was the USA head coach for the first two games while Jill Ellis was the U.S. coach in the WWC.
- Morgan, who has 69 career goals, is in eighth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list and closing in on Cindy Parlow who has 75. Morgan has six Olympic goals, good for third on the USA’s all-time list behind Lloyd (8) and Abby Wambach (10).
CHICAGO (Aug. 11, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will look to secure a spot in the Olympic semifinal when it faces Sweden in the first quarterfinal match of the day on Friday, Aug. 12 (12 p.m. ET on NBCSN, nbcolympics.com) at Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia. After finishing atop Group G, the U.S. WNT will now face a familiar foe in Sweden, who finished third in Group E, in a rematch of last year’s Women’s World Cup group clash. The USA is 16-0-2 in 2016, earning 15 shutouts while allowing six goals. Fans can follow all the action from #USAvSWE on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp, and follow the team along its Olympic journey on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (ussoccer_wnt).
USA vs. Sweden: The USA has an all-time record of 20-5-11 against Sweden dating back to 1987. The most recent meeting was during group play at the 2015 Women’s World Cup with the teams playing to a scoreless draw in Winnipeg. The last matchup before that World Cup game came on March 7, 2014 in Albufeira, Portugal, during the 2014 Algarve Cup, where the USA lost 1-0, as Lotta Schelin scored. Behind Norway (19) and China PR (9), Sweden (5) is tied with Denmark as the nation that has defeated the USA the most times.
An Olympic Regular, But No Podium: Sweden has qualified for every Women’s Olympic Football Tournament to date, but they have yet to win a medal. The Swedes’ best Olympic performance so far came at Athens 2004, where they reached the semifinal, one round further than they managed at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and a considerable improvement on their first two Olympic appearances, at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, where they went out in the group phase.
Nice to See You Again: Talented attacking player Kosovare Asllani, who currently plays for Manchester City, played for the Chicago Red Stars in WPS in 2010. Caroline Seger (Philadelphia Independence and Western New York Flash) also spent some time playing in the United States, and played with young U.S. star Lindsey Horan at Paris Saint-Germain. Whitney Engen, Christen Press, Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Meghan Klingenberg all spent various lengths of time playing in Sweden and have played with and against many of the Sweden National Team players.
Former Coach, Current Rival: From 2008-2012, Pia Sundhage was the head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team, taking the USA to the top of the podium at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and to a runner-up finish at the 2011 Women’s World Cup. She was voted FIFA Women’s World Coach of the Year in 2012 after winning the Olympic gold medal with the United States. She also won three Algarve Cups during her spell in charge of the U.S. WNT. Sundhage also coached in the WUSA with the Philadelphia Charge and the Boston Breakers. Since Pia Sundhage returned to her native land to coach Sweden, the teams have met three times in very close games and the USA has failed to win any of them, tying two and losing one. The USA has scored just one goal in those three games, but Sweden has scored just two. The teams tied 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in 2013, the USA lost 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in 2014 and then there was the 0-0 at the Women’s World Cup last summer. Tom Sermanni was the USA head coach for the first two games while Jill Ellis was of course the U.S. coach in the WWC.
Eight - Ten: Out of the 18-player U.S. Women’s National Team competing at the Olympics, 10 players played in a WNT game while Pia Sundhage was in charge of the USA. The eight exceptions are: Morgan Brian, Crystal Dunn, Julie Johnston, Lindsey Horan, Alyssa Naeher, Christen Press and Mal Pugh; though some did attend a senior camp while Sundhage was at the helm.
WNT Animated, Presented by Ritz: U.S. Soccer has released a new video series titled "WNT Animated, Presented by Ritz" that features the players of the U.S. Women's National Team. The videos feature the players and personalities in Brazil, highlighting one-of-a-kind stories in animation form. Watch all 18 player videos plus one bonus video featuring head coach Jill Ellis.
NIKE Produces New Olympic-Specific Home Jerseys: The U.S. Women’s National Team will debut a new home kit at the 2016 Olympics that has been developed exclusively by Nike for the reigning Women’s World Cup champions to wear in Brazil. The Olympics-specific jerseys are now available for purchase at ussoccerstore.com.
DEFENDERS (6): 6-Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), 8-Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), 4- Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 14-Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), 3-Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
Sweden Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Hedvig Lindahl (Chelsea LFC, ENG), 18-Hilda Carlén (Piteå IF)
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Jonna Andersson (Linkopings FC), 3-Linda Sembrant (Montpellier HSC, FRA), 4-Emma Berglund (FC Rosengard), 5-Nilla Fischer (VfL Wolfsburg, GER), 6-Magdalena Eriksson (Linkopings FC), 15-Jessica Samuelsson (Linkopings FC)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Lisa Dahlkvist (KIF Örebro DFF), 9-Kosovare Asllani (Manchester City WFC, ENG), 14-Emilia Appelqvist (Djurgårdens IF DFF), 16-Elin Rubensson (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 17-Caroline Seger (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA)
FORWARDS (5): 8-Lotta Schelin (FC Rosengard), 10-Sofia Jakobsson (Montpellier HSC, FRA), 11-Stina Blackstenius, (Linkopings FC), 12-Olivia Schough (Eskilstuna United DFF), 13-Fridolina Rolfö (Linkopings FC)
- Video: Behind the Crest – WNT in Brazil: Ep. 2
- VIDEO: Behind the Crest – WNT in Brazil: Ep. 1
- USA Ready to Raise the Bar in Olympic Quarterfinal
- Four Years Later, And a Shot at Gold
- A History of the WNT at the Olympics Games
- Hope Closes in on History (Again)
- WNT to Play Thailand and Netherlands in September
- VIDEO: Mallory’s Excellent Adventure
- Olympic Rookies Ready for Golden Opportunity
- High Expectations, High Rewards
- At Home at Right Back
- All U.S. WNT Group Games at 2016 Rio Olympics Will Air on NBCSN
- U.S. Soccer and Jill Ellis Agree to Multi-Year Contract Extension