Vlatko Andonovski makes his debut as USWNT head coach Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of Reign SC)
The U.S. women’s national team will play its first game under new head coach Vlatko Andonovski when it hosts Sweden at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio Thursday night (7:30 p.m., FS1 and TUDN).
Andonovski, who was hired last week, succeeds Jill Ellis. Ellis guided the Americans to consecutive Women’s World Cup championships, including this summer in France.
But that is in the past as the U.S. will begin preparations for qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.
The USA is 18-1-3 this year and is riding a 21-match unbeaten streak. The Americans dropped their first game of the year, a 3-1 defeat to France in Le Havre, a result that was avenged in Paris in the quarterfinal of the World Cup.
The USWNT has played at MAPFRE Stadium (formerly Columbus Crew Stadium) eight times, going 6-1-1. With the Columbus Crew moving to a new downtown stadium in 2021, this could be the final match for the squad at this stadium, which has been the site of some important history for the USA.
The team first played in Columbus in 1999 in a match after capturing the World Cup that year. The Americans also played a 2003 Women’s World Cup match there, defeating North Korea, 3-0, as defender Cat Whitehill became the first and only U.S. defender to score twice in a game.
More recently in Columbus, the USA said goodbye to legend Heather O’Reilly in a 9-0 victory against Thailand during her farewell game Sept. 15, 2016, and also downed Germany, 1-0, in difficult weather conditions during the 2018 SheBelieves Cup.
After the Sweden game, the USA will host Costa Rica at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. Nov. 10 (ESPN2 and TUDN).
The U.S. roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Aubrey Beldsoe (Washington Spirit; 0/0), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 2/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 23/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 56/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain; 0/0), Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 52/0), Imani Dorsey (Sky Blue FC; 0/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 169/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 30/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 38/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 86/7), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 93/19), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 77/12), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 36/10), Allie Long (Reign FC; 50/8), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 59/14), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 13/0)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 160/32); Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 286/118), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 13/2), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 128/49), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 60/18), Margaret Purce (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 19/4)