The U.S. Women’s National team only visits Cleveland every once and a while so Cleveland fans made it known that the team is always welcome! With a record-setting crowd for a USWNT game in the State of Ohio of 23,535, FirstEnergy Stadium’s bottom bowl was full and ready for a rematch! As a Clevelander, I was excited to see so much love for what I consider my “home team” and excited for the hope that the stadium wouldn’t be a factory of sadness for one Sunday. In case you’re wondering what I’m referring to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRBDMMVctu8
But, this was an exciting game with a favorable outcome. Earlier this week, the USWNT tied Japan in Colorado 3-3 with two of the goals, one on each side, coming in the dying minutes of the match. The team practiced Saturday afternoon, with the goal being to top their friendly foe, Japan on Sunday June 5th.
It started off with the U.S. taking heavy control of the ball, with a few solid chances early on. Overall, the stars and stripes kept Japan to only two shots on goal. The first USWNT goal came in the 27th minutes off of a low cross from Allie Long to the feet of Julie Johnston to the back of the goal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYVPzCj1cn0
The USWNT kept possession well in the first half, and looked more crisp and composed than in the previous game. Their second goal was off a Crystal Dunn assist to Alex Morgan in the 62nd minute.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) June 5, 2016
Not long after the second goal, an omonious cloud made its way over the stadium and the game was eventually called in the 76th minute for lightning. Overall, I think the team looked more together and seemed to be clicking a little more. The midfield of Morgan Brian, Long and Christen Press all seemed to be making good space and smart passes, with Dunn, Morgan and Tobin Heath all having a good game up top.
The next USWNT match is on July 9 (1 p.m. eastern on FS1) in Chicago against South Africa, for the first time ever. Hope Solo could hit her 100th all-time shutout during this match. We’re in a busy month of NWSL play, as the players return to their club teams. There are still questions left about Jill Ellis’ lineup choices but I think it’s safe to say we’re getting close to a solid starting 11, as well as the 18 chosen for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Who makes the roster? Who makes the starting 11?
*feature photo credit: Aaron Matti