The U.S. women’s national team will put its 37-game unbeaten streak on the line against one of its most recent nemeses, Sweden, in an international friendly Saturday at Friends Arena in Stockholm (FOX, 1 p.m. ET).
It will be the top-ranked Americans’ first game on foreign soil this year.
The fifth-ranked Swedes defeated the USWNT, eliminating the team from the 2016 Rio Olympics and denying the Americans a chance to reach the medal round for the first time. In 2015, Sweden played tthe USA to a scoreless draw at the Women’s World Cup, which the latter won.
Following that match, the USA will travel to Le Havre to take on third-ranked France. That contest will be played on April 13 at Stade Océane in Le Havre at 3 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. local on ESPN2.
Head coach Vlatko Andonvoski called up 23 players for the two matches, but only 18 will suit up for each of the two matches, in which each team is allowed six substitutes. Ten players on this USA roster have experience in the Olympic Games. Eighteen players play in the National Women’s Soccer League and the remaining five in Europe, four in England and one in France.
The two-game seies against Sweden and France marks the fifth trip to Europe for friendly matches that the USWNT has undertaken in as many years, with four of those being two-game sets. In 2017, the USA played at Sweden and Norway in June. In 2018, the USA finished the year with games at Portugal and Scotland. In 2019, the USA started the year at France and Spain, and in 2020 the USA played at the Netherlands in November. During those previous seven friendly matches in Europe, the USA went 6-1-0, but five of those wins were by 1-0 scores, and one, against the Dutch, was 2-0. Le Havre marks the site of the USA’s most recent loss, a 3-1 setback to host France in the first match of 2019. The USA has run up a 34-0-3 record in its 37 matches following that defeat at Stade Océane and has won its last nine games on European soil – seven of which came during the USA’s run to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup title.
The most recent on-field action for the USA ended in a trophy lift as the USA won the 2021 SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa in emphatic fashion, clinching the championship with a 6-0 victory over Argentina on February 24. After wins over Canada (1-0) and Brazil (2-0) to open the tournament, the USA powered its way to the finish in the final game of the tournament, led by a brace from Megan Rapinoe, first half goals from Lloyd and Kristie Mewis and second-half scores from Alex Morgan and Christen Press. Rose Lavelle was awarded the Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP award for her performance over the course of the tournament.
With the win, the USA clinched its fourth SheBelieves Cup title, becoming the first back-to-back champion in the tournament’s six-year history and the first team to not allow a single goal over the course of the competition.
The USA enters the match against Sweden on a 37-game unbeaten streak and having won its last 16 games overall. The current 16-match winning streak is the third-longest in program history. The USWNT won a record 18 straight matches from July 25, 1990, to May 25, 1991, and recorded 17 straight wins immediately before this run, from March 5 to October 3, 2019.
One driving force behind the win streak has been the USA’s high-octane offense. The USA has scored in 66 consecutive matches – the longest such streak in USWNT history – and has averaged just more than three goals per game in that time. During this 66-game run the USA has outscored the opposition 221-34.
Defensively, the USA has recorded six consecutive clean sheets, last allowing a goal in the 58th minute of its 3-1 victory over Japan on March 12, 2020. During its 16-game winning streak, the USA has outscored the opposition, 60-3. Two of those three goals were scored by Sweden in the first game of the win streak, which was also Andonvoski’s first match as head coach of the USWNT, a 3-2 victory on Nov. 7, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 5), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 67)
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA; 2/0), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 65/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 28/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 109/24), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 134/2), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 6/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 182/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 51/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 108/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 91/20), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG; 51/14), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 21/4), Samantha Mewis (Manchester City, ENG; 70/21), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 16/0)
FORWARDS (6): Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 299/124), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 173/108), Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG; 142/60), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 173/57), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 3/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 33/10)