The U.S. Women’s National Team faces Colombia tonight in their first match at home in 313 days. The two teams play a pair of friendlies with first one tonight and the rematch on the 22nd. Both games will be at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
The last U.S. game at home was a 3-1 victory over Japan in Frisco, Texas on March 11, 2020 to clinch the 2020 SheBelieves Cup.
Date: Monday, Jan. 18
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Exploria Stadium — Orlando, Florida
A new Captain
U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski named veteran defender Becky Sauerbrunn as the team captain moving forward. Sauerbrunn has been co-captain in the past and several veterans have rotated through the position.
“It’s an extraordinary honor to be named the captain,” Sauerbrunn told reporters. “I’m going to work my butt off and follow in the legacy of all the people that have worn the armband and been in this role before.”
“I also consider myself extremely lucky and that I am on a team that is just full of leaders, and I’m fortunate that the veterans on this team are as experienced as they are.”
There are a number of veterans on the team including Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe that have all worn the arm band in past.
“I felt like Becky is the best fit to be captain of the national team but at the same time I had a good conversation with Carli, Pinoe and Alex before I made the announcement and they were very supportive of that,” Andonovski explained. “It’s hard to lead this team as an individual. Leadership is a group role and Becky will need them, I will need them and this team will need them.”
Midfielder Sam Mewis was very supportive of Sauerbrunn being named the captain. “Her moral compass always points true north and whatever she is doing is the right thing so I should be doing the same thing,” Mewis said.
She described Sauerbrunn as a selfless leader and as someone who always checked-in on players, especially new players.
Rapinoe and Lloyd back in camp
Between injuries, recuperating, COVID and probably just needing some time away, both Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe have been absent from U.S. camp for quite some time. Both veterans are in camp now and Andonovski praised for the veterans.
“Both Carli and Pinoe look better than we expected,” Andonovski said. “They look better than the last time we saw them. They are refreshed, physically fit, they followed the program from our high-performance coach. We are going to be able to see both of them in probably both games.”
The new kid
Catarina Macario is in her third camp with the U.S. National Team but this will be her first opportunity to play. She received her citizenship previously but just received her one time FIFA switch. The 21-year-old attacker was born in Brazil but moved to the United States when she was 12.
Macario attended Stanford but is foregoing her senior year to turn professional and has already signed with Lyon in France.
Andonovski has high regard for her ability but also cautioned that she is just getting started and it does not get easier. “Catarina is an exceptional player with exceptional potential but one thing I want to make sure she knows, she is very smart and has been in this environment for three camps and she understands that this is just the beginning.”
“Getting the papers is hard, getting approval from FIFA was another battle she had to fight off the field but now the real battle starts,” Andonovski stated. “Now she is battling for a spot on the best team in the world and that is the hardest battle.”
It is expected that Macario will see time in at least one, if not both games so Andonovski and staff can get a good evaluation in a match. When asked where the versatile attacker might play, Andonvski responded, “She has the ability to play multiple positions and I would not be surprised to see her in both as a 9 and a 10.”
USWNT – January Training Camp Roster (Club; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit; 0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 3), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 25), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 64)
DEFENDERS (10): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA; 1/0), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 62/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 26/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 105/24), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 3/0), Ali Krieger (107/1), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 132/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 2/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 178/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 46/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 103/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 86/19), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; 1/0), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG; 46/13), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA; 0/0), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 15/1), Samantha Mewis (Manchester City, ENG; 67/18), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 16/0)
FORWARDS (5): Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 294/123), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 63/18), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 168/52), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 29/9)