- The US Women’s National Soccer Team is headed to London to face England at Wembley Stadium in October.
- The match against the Lionesses — who just won the 2022 Euros — marks a massive test for the US.
- The reigning World Cup champs have faced just one team ranked in FIFA’s Top 10 since the Olympics.
The US Women’s National Soccer Team is gearing up for a massive test ahead of the 2023 World Cup.
The Stars and Stripes announced Tuesday that they’re headed across the pond to face England for a friendly at London’s Wembley Stadium in early October. The matchup marks just the second time since the Tokyo Olympics that the United States will face an opponent ranked in FIFA’s Top 10, while the Lionesses will use the opportunity to contend with the reigning World Cup champions.
England is fresh off winning this summer’s 2022 UEFA Women’s Euro in spectacular fashion, securing the country’s first major trophy from either its men’s or women’s senior national soccer teams since 1966.
The Lionesses faced a handful of FIFA Top 10 teams — including No. 7 Spain, No. 5 Germany, and No. 2 Sweden — en route to hoisting the trophy on Sunday. The US, meanwhile, has only faced a single Top-10 opponent since its disappointing bronze-medal finish at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.
“To get a chance to play the European champions in London at Wembley is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often, so we’re all thankful that the match could be arranged,” USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a statement Tuesday. “I saw England play live at the Euros, and I’m looking forward to an amazing atmosphere at Wembley and another big event for women’s soccer on October 7.”
Andonovski’s side bested No. 6 Canada — the reigning Olympic gold medalists — in last month’s CONCACAF W Championship to win the tournament and secure its spot in both the 2023 World Cup and 2024 Olympics. The Americans’ 1-0 victory over their northern neighbors came by way of a penalty kick, which veteran forward Alex Morgan converted in the 78th minute of the contest.
The US hasn’t faced England since a 2020 SheBelieves Cup contest in Orlando, Florida. Though the Stars and Stripes came away with the 2-0 victory in that match — and later went on to win the tournament — Andonovki’s team looks markedly different now than it did then.
Decorated striker Carli Lloyd scored both goals to lead the US past the Lionesses — who, at the time, were managed by Phil Neville. Lloyd has since retired, but she’s far from the only familiar American face no longer with the team.
In fact, only 10 of the 23 players who were on Andonovski’s roster for that last matchup against England were still a part of the USWNT’s CONCACAF W Championship campaign in July. With so much roster turnover and the onboarding of many young — albeit talented — new players in a relatively short span, the US has spent its time since the Olympics building team chemistry and forming its new identity.
But, at times, the new-look national team has faltered along the way. In October 2021, for example, the USWNT earned a scoreless draw against No. 18 South Korea in front of a friendly crowd in Kansas. More recently, the Americans have earned relatively narrow victories over No. 28 Colombia, No. 6o Haiti, and No. 26 Mexico, in addition to its penalty kick-fueled win over Canada.
Needless to say, facing a Sarina Wiegman-led England — who crushed No. 2 Sweden 4-0 en route to the Euro Final — will pose a great challenge for the young USWNT. But Andonovski recognizes that it’s precisely the type of challenge his team needs as it readies to defend its World Cup title.
“This is exactly the kind of match we need at exactly the right time in our World Cup preparations,” Andonovski said. “We can test ourselves against a very talented England team.”