Soccer legend Mia Hamm talks USWNT, MLS, NWSL and more
Soccer legend Mia Hamm is ready to talk about all things American soccer. She also talks about her late brother’s bone marrow transplant, and the importance of recognizing bone marrow disease.
There are some bright spots in this disappointing year for the US Women’s National Team, and none brighter than Jaden Shaw.
The 19-year-old made her first start and scored the winning goal in her hometown on Tuesday night to lift the USWNT to a 2-1 win over China in the final match of the year. This was only Shaw’s fourth game with the USWNT, yet she has already scored two goals and is showing signs that she will be a big part of the elite program for many years to come.
“The thing we talk about a lot is doing the next right thing,” interim coach Twyla Kilgore said. “She is someone who has her sights set on the Olympics, but the next step from that is simply to show up at the next camp and give her best. And to do that, she has to be well prepared at home. .
“But she’ll rest first.”
This has been the most challenging year for the four-time World Cup champions in a long time. Maybe ever. They made the earliest ever exit from a major international tournament after losing to Sweden on penalties in the round of 16 at the World Cup, displaying little of the swagger and ferocity that has defined that program.
Even in Tuesday night’s win, they looked lifeless early in the game. They struggled to find a rhythm with seven changes to the lineup since Saturday’s game and were unable to maintain possession against a crowded China midfield. Their seven-game scoreless streak ended just before halftime when China scored only their third goal of the year against the USWNT.
But one thing that has stood out since the World Cup is the young talent the USWNT has. Jenna Nighswonger, the NWSL Rookie of the Year, joins Shaw in her first start for the USWNT – one game after making her debut. Corbyn Albert made her first-team debut on Tuesday night.
Each one of them seemed up to the task of putting the world’s dominant team back on a winning path.
Sam Coffey, who has been in and out of the national mix for the past two years, tied the game in the 62nd minute with her first international goal. Albert threw a shoe at his face, leading to the foul that led to Shaw’s goal.
Niggsunger took the free kick, but her shot hit the Chinese wall. Sophia Smith, a 23-year-old veteran, collected the ball and ran it back into traffic. Shaw pounced on the ball on the run and sent a screamer into the net.
“I have a lot of memories here on this field,” Shaw said after the match. “I am very happy that I am able to play here at this level and in this team.” “It’s been a dream since I was a little kid.”
The USWNT nearly doubled the lead twice in the final minutes of the game. The referee ruled a wonderful header from Lindsay Horan in the 67th minute for offside, and Chinese goalkeeper Xu Huan blocked a powerful shot from Ningsunger over the crossbar in the 89th minute.
“I think the word is excited,” Kilgore said of young Americans. “I think they’re eager and hungry for an opportunity. They know those opportunities don’t come along very often, and they want to seize those opportunities.”
The USWNT still has issues that need to be addressed. The challenge of not having a new coach Emma Hayes until May won’t go away either.
more: Questions we want answered after the trailer for Netflix USWNT’s “Under Pressure” documentary series is released
But he ended a disappointing year on a positive note.
The USWNT finished the year undefeated, with 14 wins and four draws. (The penalty kick loss to Sweden was counted as a draw.) They also allowed just three goals in 18 games, a 0.17 goals against average that is a program record.
The three goals are also the second-fewest allowed by the USWNT in a single season in the past 34 years. The USWNT allowed one goal in 2020 and 2009, but the team also played fewer than 10 games in each of those seasons.
“I spoke to the team at the end of the game and said I was very proud of the way we finished the ’23 season and how far we’ve come in just a few months. I’m really proud of them all,” Kilgour said. “The sky is the limit and our current ceiling where we finish this game will be our floor when we get back to it.”
Here’s what to know about the final USWNT game of the year:
Emily Fox is ‘fine’ after being substituted at half-time to be checked for concussion.
The defender was subjected to several blows in the first half and appeared to be out of her element. But interim coach Twyla Kilgore said after the game that Fox was examined during the first half and was cleared to play.
“They were able to come out and check her for a body injury, but they were also able to evaluate her condition for her head, and she was in good health,” Kilgore said.
However, at halftime, Kilgore said Fox told staff she wasn’t feeling well.
“We knew we needed to get it checked out and it would take a little longer. Just out of an abundance of caution, we replaced it,” Kilgore said.
USWNT spokesman Aaron Heifetz said Fox is now “feeling good.”
Jaedyn Shaw gave hometown fans their money’s worth.
Shaw, who grew up minutes from Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, scored the go-ahead goal in the 79th minutey minute. It was the second international goal for the 19-year-old, who was playing in only her fourth match for the USWNT.
The USWNT were awarded a free kick in the 77th minutey The minute after a huge foul on Albert Kopin. Jenna Nijswinger’s shot hit the Chinese wall, but Sophia Smith jumped on the ball and recycled it back into traffic. The ball fell to Xu, who fired a shot into traffic that went past Chinese goalkeeper Xu Huan.
Shaw beamed as her teammates congratulated her while her large group of family and friends — Shaw said there were 50 people in the group — jumped up and down and cheered.
“They’re like the loudest people here,” Shaw said.
Shaw received a huge ovation when she left the match in the 86th minute, to be replaced by Alyssa Thompson.
Sam Coffey has confirmed that the USWNT will be excluded from its final game of the year.
Kofi scored her first international goal in the 62nd minute when she shot the ball into the top corner of the goal after a corner kick. The goal tied the game at 1 and appeared to breathe some life into a lackluster performance by the USWNT.
Jenna Nijswinger’s corner kick fell into a crowd, and the ball swung in front of the goal for several seconds before Emily Sonnett was able to get possession of the ball. Sonnett worked hard to keep possession before spotting Coffey to her left and passing the ball to her.
Kofi’s shot flew from about 16 yards out into the top corner of the net, and there was little goalkeeper Xu Huan could do to stop it.
“It was kind of a downbeat play,” Coffey said. “He (Sonnett) did a really good job of finding the ball and setting it up. I’m very happy that I was able to help this team win.”
The USWNT nearly doubled the lead five minutes later, but Lindsay Horan was ruled offside.
Corbyn Albert, who earned her first call-up to the senior national team this window, made her USWNT debut, coming on as a substitute for captain Lindsay Horan in the 69th minute. Olivia Moultrie came on at the same time, replacing top scorer – and Portland Thorns teammate – Sam Coffey. . This is the 18-year-old’s second consecutive appearance.
Albert made a huge mistake when she pointed the shoe at her face. After being examined closely — Albert said she was fine but expected to suffer a black eye — Jenna Niggsunger took the free kick that led to Jaeden Shaw’s goal.
Trinity Rodman, arguably the best player in the USWNT recently, came on as a substitute for Lane Williams in the 58th minute.
Rodman had a hand in each of the three goals in the opener against Saturday, getting the assist on the first two and scoring the third herself. She also scored in both matches against South Africa in September.
The USWNT made two substitutions in the first half hoping to inject some life into their final match of the year.
Sophia Smith, who scored the first goal for the United States in the match that ended in a 3-0 victory for the United States on Saturday, replaced Ashley Hatch. Emily Fox, who was ruled out with a concussion during the break, was replaced by Midge Pearce.
China halted the USWNT’s seven-game elimination streak just before halftime, scoring just their third goal against the Americans this year.
China fired a free kick across the goal mouth and Wang Siqian headed it a few feet wide of the far post. She put it back into the net, and it was scored by Shen Mingyu, who was standing unmarked in front of the goal, to give China a 1-0 lead.
Replays showed that Shane may have been offside, but there is no Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in this match. This was the first goal the Americans had conceded since their group stage draw with the Netherlands in the World Cup. The only other goal allowed by the USWNT came during the SheBelieves Cup last spring.
The USWNT had several chances in the first half, including Jaedyn Shaw’s shot in the 31st minute that rebounded off the near post. But they looked unstable for most of the first 45 minutes, trying to settle into a lineup that included seven changes from Saturday’s match.
However, they controlled the ball and should have shown more in the first half.
Kickoff will be at 8pm ET on Tuesday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. There will be a pre-game ceremony to honor two-time World Cup champion Ali Krieger, who ended her playing career last month by helping Gotham FC win the NFL title.
Tuesday’s USWNT vs. China match will be broadcast on TruTV, Universo, Max and Peacock.
Three days after making her USWNT debut, NWSL Rookie of the Year Jenna Niggsunger made her first start.
Nighswonger and Emily Fox start at outside back, while Naomi Girma and Tierna Davidson play at centre-back. Teenager Jaedyn Shaw also makes her first start for the USWNT after appearing in the last three games – and it’s coming in her hometown, no less.
Interim coach Twyla Kilgore made seven changes to his lineup on Saturday against China, which the team won 3-0. Aubrey Kingsbury replaces Casey Murphy in goal, and Davidson and Nygsungsunger at the back line replace Abby Dahlkemper and Casey Krueger. Sam Coffey joins captain Lindsay Horan and Emily Sonnett in midfield, while Lynn Williams and Ashley Hatch play in attack in place of Sophia Smith and Trinity Rodman.
The changes are not surprising, with Kilgore and new coach Emma Hayes using this camp to get a look at younger and new players.
No, the new USWNT coach will not join the team until her current team, Chelsea, finishes its season in May. She took advantage of the international break to come to the USWNT’s training camp last week and introduce herself to the players, but returned to England before the Americans play China on Saturday.
Who is Emma Hayes? Read more.
There is no camp for January this year. Instead, the USWNT will next be played in February CONCACAF Gold Cupa new competition held by the federation with teams from the federation of North and Central America, the Caribbean and South America.
The USWNT has already qualified for the group stage, as have Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Panama and Paraguay. Group stage matches will be held February 20-28 in Los Angeles, San Diego and Houston, with quarterfinal matches on March 2-3 at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles and semifinals on March 6 at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.
The final of the tournament will be on March 10, also on Snapdragon.
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