Andonovski Era begins with USWNt tackling familiar foe Sweden

News Release, US Soccer

The U.S. Women’s National Team will play its final two matches of an historic year when it takes on Sweden on Nov. 7 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1 & TUDN) and Costa Rica on Nov. 10 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 & TUDN).

The matches also mark the first games for newly-appointed U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski. The USA played five matches on its 2019 Victory Tour following the Women’s World Cup triumph, winning four and drawing one, as it said goodbye to former head coach Jill Ellis, but now sets its sights on preparation for the Olympic qualifying tournament that will be held in late January and early February of next year.

The USA is 18-1-3 so far in 2019 and is riding a 21-match unbeaten streak. The USA dropped the first game of the year, a 3-1 setback to France in Le Havre, a result that was avenged in Paris in the quarterfinal of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

ANDONOVSKI ERA BEGINS: On Oct. 28 at a press event in New York City, Vlatko Andonovski became the ninth official head coach in U.S. WNT history. Andonovski (Ann-DON-ahv-skee), 43, comes to U.S. Soccer after serving as a head coach during all seven seasons of the National Women’s Soccer League, a stint which included two championships with FC Kansas City (2014 and 2015).

He spent five seasons with FC Kansas City (2013-2017) and the last two with Reign FC (2018-2019). He was twice named NWSL Coach of the Year, in 2013 and again after the just-completed 2019 season. He named his first roster on Oct. 31 and coached the team in his first training camp during this week in Columbus.

Andonovski is the third-youngest coach to take over the U.S. WNT program in its history.

USA VS. SWEDEN

  • The meeting with Sweden, which is ranked fifth in the world after its third-place finish at the World Cup this summer, comes less than five months after the teams met in the final Group F match in Le Havre, France, a 2-0 victory for the Americans on goals from Lindsey Horan and a Sweden own goal that was created by Tobin Heath.
  • The match at the World Cup was the sixth time – and fifth World Cup in a row – in which the U.S. played Sweden. The teams met in the USA’s first Women’s World Cup match in 1991, and also in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, all in the group stage. After the win in France, the USA is 4-1-1 against the Swedes at the Women’s World Cup.
  • The USA’s last loss in regulation time at a World Cup game against the Swedes – a 2-1 defeat in 2011. The USA is 13-0-3 in World Cup games since.
  • Before the match in Le Havre this summer, the USA and Sweden met most recently in Gothenburg on June 8, 2017, as Rose Lavelle scored the game-winner in the 56th minute for the 1-0 U.S. victory.
  • That match was the first between the teams since quarterfinal of the 2016 Olympics which saw Sweden triumph in a penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime. Blackstenius scored for Sweden and Alex Morgan scored for the USA. The USA out-shot Sweden 27-6 in the match. Sweden would go on to win the Olympic silver medal.
  • The USA has played Sweden 39 times dating back to 1987 – the fourth most of any country (behind Canada, China PR, and Norway). In the last 14 matches with Sweden dating back to 2010, the USA is 6-3-5, making for one of the most competitive rivalries among top teams in recent years.
  • Before the victory in Gothenburg in the summer of 2017, the USA had failed to beat Sweden in the previous four games between the teams, losing 1-0 at the Algarve Cup in 2014, tying 1-1 at the Algarve Cup in 2013, tying 0-0 in group play at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and falling in penalties at the 2016 Olympics.
  • The USA was coached by a Swede from 2008-2012 when Pia Sundhage – the current head coach of Brazil — compiled a 91-6-10 record and won two Olympic gold medals.
  • The USA had not beaten Sweden with Pia as head coach of Sweden until the final game between the teams in which she was on the bench, that coming in the summer of 2017 in Gothenburg.

LAST TIME AT MAPFRE? The U.S. Women have played at MAPFRE Stadium (formerly Columbus Crew Stadium) eight times. With the Columbus Crew moving to a new downtown stadium in 2021, this could be the final U.S. WNT match at this stadium which has been the site of some important history for the USA. The WNT first played in Columbus in 1999 in a match after the famous World Cup victory. The USA also played a 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup match at the venue, defeating North Korea 3-0 as defender Cat Whitehill became the first and so far, only U.S. defender to score twice in a game. More recently in Columbus, the USA said goodbye to legend Heather O’Reilly in a 9-0 victory against Thailand during her farewell game on Sept. 15, 2016, and also downed Germany, 1-0, in cataclysmic weather conditions during the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. The USA is 6-1-1 all-time at MAPFRE.

U.S. ROSTER NOTES

  • Andonovski named 17 players from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup roster along with seven other players that include three first-time call-ups. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, who had a fine season with the Washington Spirit and was named to the NWSL Best XI and NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, defender Alana Cook, a former Stanford star who is playing in France with Paris Saint-Germain, and defender Imani Dorsey, who was the NWSL Rookie of the Year in 2018 for Sky Blue FC while playing mostly in attacking positions, have all played with the U.S. Under-23 WNT but will see their first training camp action with the senior side.
  • In addition, defender Casey Short and midfielder Andi Sullivan return to the roster. Short and Sullivan – two players who were in the mix for the World Cup Team – were called into the USA’s Victory Tour matches due to injuries to World Cup Team players.
  • Forwards Lynn Williams and Margaret “Midge” Purce also return to a camp roster. Williams has 19 caps and four international goals but has not played for the USA since the 2018 SheBelieves Cup and the uncapped Purce has not been in with the USA since the summer of 2018.
  • In addition, Kelley O’Hara, Ali Krieger, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, and Megan Rapinoe were not available for selection as they continue to recover from injuries but attended the training camp for a few days at the start.
  • On Oct. 23, U.S. forward Alex Morgan announced that she and husband Servando Carrasco, a midfielder for the Los Angeles Galaxy, were expecting their first child, a girl. Morgan is due in April of 2020.
  • Twelve different players have scored the USA’s 68 goals this year. Carli Lloyd leads the team with 13 and Morgan and Rapinoe have nine each. Tobin Heath has eight goals, Samantha Mewis and Mallory Pugh have six and Lindsey Horan has five each. Rose Lavelle has four and Christen Press has three. Allie Long has two, and Jessica McDonald, Julie Ertz, Morgan Brian and have one each. The USA has benefited from one own goal.

IN FOCUS: SWEDEN

FIFA World Ranking: 5

AFC Ranking: 4
World Cup Appearances: 8 (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)

Best Women’s World Cup finish: Runners-Up (2003), Third-Place (2019)

Record vs. USA: 6-22-11
Head Coach: Peter Gerhardsson

SWEDEN WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION:

GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Hedvig Lindahl (VFL Wolfsburg, GER), 12-Jennifer Falk (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 21-Zecira Musovic (FC Rosengård)


DEFENDERS (7):
 2-Jonna Andersson (Chelsea FC, ENG), 3-Linda Sembrant (Juventus, ITA), 4-Hanna Glas (Paris Saint-Germain FC, FRA), 5-Nathalie Björn (FC Rosengård), 6-Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea FC, ENG), 15-Jessica Samuelsson (FC Rosengård), 23-Emma Kullberg (KIF Örebro)

MIDFIELDERS (3): 9-Kosovare Asllani (CD Tacón, ESP), 17-Caroline Seger (FC Rosengård), 22-Michelle De Jongh (Vittsjö GIK)

FORWARDS (10):7-Madelen Janogy (Piteå IF DFF), 8-Lina Hurtig (Linköpings FC),10-Sofia Jakobsson (CD Tacón, ESP), 11-Stina Blackstenius (Linköpings FC), 13-Julia Karlernäs (Piteå IF DFF), 14-Hanna Bennison (FC Rosengård), 16-Julia Zigiotti Olme (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 18-Pauline Hammarlund (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC), 19-Anna Anvegård (FC Rosengård), 20-Loreta Kullashi (Eskilstuna United DFF)

SWEDEN NOTES:

  • Gerhardsson named 15 players from his 2019 WWC Team to the 23-player roster for this match.
  • Sweden and the USA both advanced out of Group F at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and both made it to the semifinal round, where the USA beat England 2-1, but Sweden fell to the Netherlands, 1-0.
  • Sweden would go on to defeat England in the Third-Place match for its best finish at a Women’s World Cup since finishing second to Germany at the 2003 tournament.
  • Sweden and the USA both came into their much-hyped Women’s World Cup group match with six points. Sweden struggled a bit to put away Chile in its opening game before scoring twice late for the 2-0 victory and then dispatched Thailand with aplomb, winning 5-1.
  • The USA’s 2-0 victory in the Group F finale gave the USA the group title – and the more difficult path to the Final, which went through Paris and host France – but Sweden certainly had no walkovers, dispatching Canada in the Round of 16 (1-0) and then rival Germany in the Quarterfinal (2-1), a team it hadn’t beaten in major tournament play since 1991. Sweden’s goal scorers in the World Cup were: Kosovare Asllani (3), Sofia Jakobson (2), Stina Blackstenius (2), Madelen Janogy, Linda Sembrant, Fridolina Rolfö, Linda Hurtig and Elin Rubensson.
  • Sweden’s top finishes in major tournaments were at the 1984 EURO (Champions), the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup (runners-up) and at the 2016 Olympics (runners-up).
  • Sweden has world-class players in numerous positions, including at goalkeeper with Hedvig Lindahl, who was a finalist for the FIFA Best Goalkeeper of the Year, at defender with Nilla Fischer (who was named to the FIFA Women’s Best XI but is not on this roster) and Linda Sembrant, in the midfield with Kosovare Asllani and Caroline Seger and upfront with Sofia Jakobsson and Stina Blackstenius.
  • Despite having one of the most competitive professional leagues in the world, Sweden has seven players playing for top clubs outside the country, two in England, two in Spain, and one in Germany, France, and Italy.
  • Two of Sweden’s top players – Asllani and Jakobsson – are currently playing in Spain with CD Tacón – which will officially become the women’s club for Real Madrid in the summer of 2020 as the Spanish giant makes its first foray into women’s professional soccer.
  • Sweden has begun its qualifying for the 2021 UEFA Women’s Euro, to be staged in England, downing Latvia 4-1 in September, then routing Hungary (5-0) and Slovakia (7-0) in October.
  • Asllani, Blackstenius, Madelen Janogy and Sembrant have scored twice each in qualifying. Nathalie Björn, Magdalena Eriksson, Lina Hurtig, Amanda Ilestedt, Jakobsson, Loreta Kullash, Fridolina Rolfö and Seger all have single scores.
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