This week we review the first two days of the SheBelieves Cup, including England's 1-0 defeat of the Americans and look at the roster for the U.S. U-23 National Team for three matches in Spain, which is being coached by the Seattle Reign's Laura Harvey.
SheBelieves Cup update
England falls to two late French goals; defeats U.S. on late Ellen White winner.
England lost to France 2-1 in their first game of the Second SheBelieves Cup in the U.S. last week.
On Wednesday March 1st, England took an early lead through Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs in the 32nd minute. England stymied the French with a high pressing game strategy but seemed to tire near the end and France countered with two late goals in the final ten minutes through Marie-Laurie Delie (the two time Women's World Cup veteran with Paris St. Germain) and Wendie Renard (the center back who was born in Martinique and has been a long-time fixture at Olympique Lyon)—the latter's tally coming late in injury time.
The England-France match was followed by the Americans defeating Germany 1-0 in the nightcap of a doubleheader held at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia and the home of the Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union.
Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars) created the opportunity by cutting inside on goal from the right side and blasting a hard shot off the cross bar that ricocheted to the far side of the goal, where Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) followed with a low shot that rebounded off of the defense and Lynn Williams slotted the loose ball home from 5 yards away.
Williams was the NWSL Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot winner last season for the champion Western New York Flash, who moved during the offseason to North Carolina. A crowd of 16,318 attended the midweek doubleheader.
The four national teams moved to Harrison New Jersey's Red Bull Stadium (home of MLS' New York Red Bulls) on Saturday March 4th, where England sprung the surprise of the tournament with a 1-0 defeat of the Americans.
In a match played in below freezing conditions with a 20 mph wind added in, a sellout crowd of 26,500 watched both sides present a highly entertaining match with numerous attacks on goals. The U.S. had more possession play in the second half as England pressed selectively, unlike the constant pressure they exerted on France in their previous match.
At the end of regulation time, Nobbs sent a corner kick into the middle of the box which Lucy Bronze (who played collegiately at the University of North Carolina) blasted a shot off the bar and Birmingham City substitute Ellen White roofed the ball home from close range. England head coach Mark Sampson made two substitutes during the four minutes of added time and the Lionesses sealed an historical first victory on U.S. soil and fourth overall in the series (4-1-9).
The stats reflected the evenness of the match as both sides had 2 corner kicks and 14 shots, with England finishing with 3 shots on goal to 2 for the Americans. Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool) recorded the shutout in goal.
For the Americans, midfielder Rose Lavelle, who was the number one draft choice in the 2017 NWSL College Draft by the Boston Breakers, had a strong match in her full national team debut. Rachel Daly, the lone Lioness based in NWSL (Houston Dash) did not play in the landmark victory.
England's win shows that they will be a definite force to finish among the medalists at this summer's European Championships, hoping to add to their Bronze Medal finish in the 2015 World Cup.
France and Germany played to a 0-0 deadlock in the other match on March 4th. Long-time French international goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi (Olympique Lyon) was the star of the match, recording five saves overall and saving a penalty kick from Mandy Islacker in the first half, after she brought the Frankfurt striker in the penalty box.
On Tuesday, March 7th, the tournament concludes with France playing the U.S. and England meeting Germany in a rematch of their third place match from WWC 2015 in Canada. A win or a tie by France will give them the title, with only Germany eliminated from the title quest.
France sit on top of the 2017 SheBelieves Cup with four points from two matches and a goal difference of +1, one point clear of England and the US who share three points and an even goal difference, but England have scored twice to the US' once.
Germany hold the other three up with just a point from their two matches thus far.
SheBelieves Cup - Friendly
United States: 0
March 4, 2017
Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.
USA: 24-Ashlyn Harris; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Julie Johnston, 11-Ali Krieger; 19-Crystal Dunn (12-Lynn Williams, 64), 3-Samantha Mewis (20-Allie Long, 77), 9-Lindsey Horan (6-Morgan Brian, 77), 16-Rose Lavelle, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (17-Tobin Heath, 76); 2-Mallory Pugh, 13-Alex Morgan (23-Christen Press, 63)
Subs not used: 1-Alyssa Naeher, 5-Kelley O'Hara, 7-Casey Short, 14-Jessica McDonald, 15-Emily Sonnett, 18-Jane Campbell, 22-Brianna Pinto Head coach: Jill Ellis
ENG: 13-Siobhan Chamberlain; 3-Demi Stokes, 4-Lucy Bronze, 5-Steph Houghton (capt.), 7-Jordan Nobbs (8-Jade Moore, 90+3), 10-Izzy Christiansen (6-Millie Bright, 90+2), 15-Laura Bassett, 17-Fara Williams, 19-Toni Duggan (11-Ellen White, 76), 20-Karen Carney (18-Jill Scott, 63), 22-Nikita Parris (9-Jodie Taylor, 77)
Subs not used: 1-Karen Bardsley, 21-Mary Earps, 12-Rachel Daly, 14-Casey Stoney, 16-Gemma Bonner, 23-Rachel Williams Head coach: Mark Sampson
England Women's National Team Roster by Position:
Laura Bassett (Notts County)
Gemma Bonner (Liverpool)
Millie Bright (Chelsea)
Lucy Bronze (Manchester City)
Rachel Daly (Houston Dash, USA)
Steph Houghton (Manchester City)
Alex Scott (Arsenal)
Casey Stoney (Liverpool)
Demi Stokes (Manchester City)
Note: Alex Scott (the former Boston Breakers WPS player) was injured against France and was not replaced on the trip.
U.S. names 16 NWSL players in U-23 trip to Europe, coached by Seattle Reign skipper Laura Harvey.
NWSL players (of which 11 are 2017 draft picks) comprise 16 of the 22 players selected for the U.S. U-23 National Team Trip to Europe to compete against three other U-23 national teams in La Manga Spain from March 2-7. The Americans will play Japan, England and Norway. Adrienne Jordan, who played at the University of Northern Colorado, is playing professionally in Iceland with IB Vestmannaeyja after playing in the Swedish second division last year and finishing second with the Colorado Pride in the last USL Championship game in 2015. Four of the players are still in college and one—Ashley Sanchez—is still in high school. Sanchez, Emily Ogle and goalkeeper Casey Murphy competed on the U-20 2016 FIFA World Cup side last fall that finished fourth. Ashley Hatch (ex-Brigham Young University and a recent draftee of the champion North Carolina Courage) has one full cap for the Americans—last October against Switzerland. Portland Thorn forward Celeste Bourielle had a successful offseason in the Australian Westfield W-League with Canberra United.
Significantly, former Arsenal Manager Laura Harvey is coaching the side since the tournament is held before NWSL pre-season starts later this month. Other games in the spring and summer will feature primarily college players as the NWSL season begins. The U.S. U-23 WNT will see the team take part in the Portland Thorns Spring Invitational from March 26-April 1. The USA U-23 side will take on three NWSL teams: the Houston Dash on Sunday, March 26, the Portland Thorns on Wednesday, March 29, and the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday April 1, the latter two were playoff sides in 2016.
U-23 Women's National Team Roster by Position:
Casey Murphy (Rutgers; Bridgewater, N.J.)
Madalyn Schiffel (Seattle Reign; Citrus Heights, Calif.)
Mandy Freeman (Sky Blue FC; West Covina, Calif.)
Adrienne Jordan (IBV; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Kristen McNabb (Seattle Reign; Montville, N.J.)
Kayla Mills (Sky Blue FC; West Covina, Calif.)
Katie Naughton (Chicago Red Stars; Elgin, Ill.)
Erica Skroski (Sky Blue FC; New Brunswick, N.J.)
Samantha Witteman (NC Courage; Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Morgan Andrews (Boston Breakers; Milford, N.H.)
Tierna Davidson (Stanford; Menlo Park, Calif.)
Christina Gibbons (FC Kansas City, Raleigh, N.C.)
Tyler Lussi (Portland Thorns; Lutherville, Md.)
Emily Ogle (Penn State; Strongsville, Ohio)
Margaret Purce (Boston Breakers; Silver Spring, Md.)
Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.)
Dani Weatherholt (Orlando Pride; San Clemente, Calif.)
Celeste Boureille (Portland Thorns; San Francisco, Calif.)
Makenzy Doniak (NC Courage; Chino Hills, Calif.)
Ashley Hatch (NC Courage; Gilbert, Ariz.)
Savannah McCaskill (South Carolina; Chapin, S.C.)
Arielle Shipp (Washington Spirit; Westlake Village, Calif.)
Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribalfootball. His latest book is Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey