Preview & Notes: USWNT looks ahead to SheBelieves Opener against England


There was much focus on the last time both the U.S. women’s national team and England faced off during Wednesday’s media availability with USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski. 

The United States defeated England 2-1 during that July semifinal meeting in France, which saw the U.S. advance and eventually win its fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup title over the Netherlands last year.

Both sides, however, will meet again for the first time since their dual last summer as the 2020 SheBelieves Cup commences at Exploria Stadium on Thursday.

The U.S. and England are set to kick off at 7 p.m. ET.

For Andonovski, who was appointed USWNT head coach last October, he’s expecting his team to not only treat its upcoming game against England but the entire tournament as a rivalry game.

“The way we see this game is like every other game and for us, every game is a rivalry, every team is a rivalry,” Andonovski told reporters. “[And] we approach every game like the most important game and that has been not just now, that’s been the way in the last year or two and the last 30 years, every game is a rivalry game.”

Following Thursday’s game, the 2019 World Cup Champions will then travel to face Spain at Red Bull Arena on Sunday before closing out the SheBelieves Cup on March 11 against Japan at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s media availability at Exploria Stadium:  

Morgan not easy to replace 

With the absence of Alex Morgan, who’s out due to pregnancy, a question posed to USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski was: how do you propose to replace her at the moment?

Here’s what Andonovski said: “A player like Alex Morgan is not easy to replace. She has been great and done a tremendous job for this team in several big competitions, and we expect her to be back. Hopefully, she’s back in, fully fit, and ready to play in the Olympics.

But in the meantime, and after that, I’m glad that we have players like Carli Lloyd who has proved to be successful in every level that she plays, and we have players like Christen Press and Lynn Williams, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and  forwards that can help this team be successful in the front line.”

Andonovski on Ali Krieger making the allocation list

“Ali has done a tremendous job. She played in the qualifiers and we saw that she played three 90-minute games. Very good and helped us win the tournament, which is important, helped us qualify for the Olympics. She has been tremendous and like I said in training, but also her leadership and her experience are also always welcomed in the team.”

SheBelieves Cup 2020 schedule below

March 5
Spain vs. Japan | Exploria Stadium Orlando, Fla. 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3
USA vs. England | Exploria Stadium Orlando, Fla. 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2, TUDNMar. 5

March 8
Japan vs. England | Red Bull Arena Harrison, N.J. 2:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3
USA vs. Spain | Red Bull Arena Harrison, N.J. 5 p.m. ET on ESPN, TUDN

March 11
England vs. Spain | Toyota Stadium Frisco, Texas 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3
USA vs. Japan | Toyota Stadium Frisco, Texas 8 p.m. ET on ESPNews, TUDN XTRA 1

USWNT SheBelieves Cup roster by position (Club; Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 3), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 25), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 61)

DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 58/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 25/1), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage; 101/24), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 107/1), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 129/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 174/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 31/0), Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride; 44/0)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 99/19), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 83/18), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 42/12), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 64/18), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 16/0)

FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 165;33), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 291/122), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage; 17/4), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 135/56), Mallory Pugh (Sky Blue FC; 62/18), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 165/51), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 25/9)

Photo: Mike Gramajo / Orlando Soccer Journal

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