The Keeper’s Notes On … the USWNT Marathon on ESPN2

USA vs Japan 2020

USA vs Japan, SheBelieves Cup 2020. Photo by Gia Quilap/Keeper Notes.

Today ESPN2 will air four classic USWNT matches to commemorate Women’s History Month. The 8-hour marathon begins at 5 pm CT. Below are a few “Keeper Notes” for each match, plus a link to the game report. Final scores are not listed on this page for those who may want to watch without knowing the outcome(s), but of course there are a few “spoilers” in the notes.

NOTE: If you don’t have access to ESPN2, you can watch these matches on ESPN+, the streaming service that’s available for just $4.99/month. This service includes access to recent W-League matches and documentaries like The 99ers.


5 pm CT: USA vs Canada
July 19, 2009, Rochester, NY

This match is most notable for Abby Wambach‘s 100th international goal. That milestone goal was her first for the USWNT in more than a year, since she had broken her leg in a friendly match versus Brazil right before the 2008 Olympics. Wambach got to score #100 in front of her hometown crowd and became the 5th USWNT player to reach that total.

USA notes:
Lauren Holiday (then Cheney) assisted on Wambach’s goal. Holiday was the player who replaced Wambach on the 2008 Olympic roster.
• 2019 WWC champs in this game: Tobin Heath (2nd half sub), Carli Lloyd (unused sub), Megan Rapinoe (starter).
Nicole Barnhart got the start in goal, with Hope Solo on the bench. This match was part of a two-game series, so head coach Pia Sundhage started Solo in the following game.
• An 18-year-old Christine Nairn was on the bench. She had earned her first cap two months before, and would score a goal in the following game.

CANADA notes:
• Portland Thorns striker Christine Sinclair served as Canada’s captain.
• Former NWSL goalkeeper and current Concacaf Head of Women’s Soccer Karina LeBlanc played in goal.
• Utah Royals midfielder Diana Matheson played the full 90 in midfield.
• A 22-year-old Stephanie Labbé was on the bench.


7 pm CT: USA vs Mexico
December 8, 2004, Carson, CA

This game served as the official retirement match for three legends of the USWNT, all of whom were two-time World Cup champions (1991, 1999) and two-time Olympic champions (1996, 2004) — Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm. Fawcett was unable to play in the match due to injury; Foudy and Hamm both started. Watch for Mia Hamm’s switch to a “Garciaparra” jersey for the second half, as she wore her married name on her jersey for the only time in her career.

The game also turned out to be the final international match for three other players:
Brandi Chastain (1991, 1999 World Cup champion; 1996, 2004 Olympic champion) who was cut from the team after Greg Ryan took over as head coach in spring 2005.
• Current US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone (1999 World Cup champion; 1996, 2004 Olympic champion), who ended up retiring from soccer at the age of 28 due to nagging back and head injuries. She ended her international career with 75 goals, which is still 8th best all-time in USWNT history.
• Backup goalkeeper Kristen Luckenbill, who had earned a spot on the 2004 Olympic squad through her stellar performances for the Carolina Courage in the WUSA.

USA notes:
• After this match, goalkeeper Brianna Scurry did not appear again for the USWNT until summer 2006 as she took time off from soccer.
• This was the last match for April Heinrichs, the first non-interim female head coach of the USWNT. She stepped down from the role in February 2005.
• This game featured Aly Wagner‘s only 2-goal performance for the USWNT.
• A 19-year-old Heather O’Reilly appeared as a second-half sub in just her 30th USWNT cap.

MEXICO notes:
• Former NWSL players in this match: Pamela Tajonar (started in goal) and Lupita Worbis (started as forward).
• TV analyst and former Houston Dash assistant coach Monica Gonzalez served as El Tri’s captain.


9 pm CT: USA vs Brazil
July 30, 2017, San Diego, CA
This come-from-behind thriller featured Megan Rapinoe‘s first goal since the 2015 World Cup. Just days after the USWNT’s first-ever loss to Australia, the team looked on track to lose again until Julie Ertz‘s insertion into midfield in the 57th minute. That move sparked a remarkable turnaround (the team’s biggest win after trailing by two goals since 2012) and launched the “Ertz Era” of the USWNT midfield.

USA notes:
• Ertz’s goal was the first of her USWNT career to not come from a set piece. The match marked her 50th international appearance.
Carli Lloyd played provider on Ertz’s goal, earning her 50th international assist.
• Samantha Mewis made her 8th straight start of 2017 — she was the only player to start every USWNT match that year.
• This game marked Sydney Leroux‘s first international appearance since the 2015 World Cup. She played her final USWNT game three days later against Japan.
• Two uncapped players sat on the bench – Midge Purce (who eventually earned her first cap last fall versus Costa Rica) and goalkeeper Abby Smith (still uncapped).

BRAZIL notes:
• Current/former NWSL players in this match: Andressinha, Bia, Bruna Benites, Camila, Debinha, Marta, Monica.
• The USWNT conceded one of the earliest goals in its history when Andressinha scored in the 2nd minute.
• This game marked the third time in series history that Brazil scored three or more goals against the USWNT, but just the first time that they didn’t win when scoring that many.


11 pm CT: USA vs Japan
March 11, 2020, Frisco, TX
The 2020 SheBelieves Cup finale featured gorgeous first-half goals from Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press as the USWNT clinched their third all-time SheBelieves Cup title and extended their unbeaten streak to 31 games. New head coach Vlatko Andonovski earned his 10th straight win, tying Pia Sundhage for the best start (10-0-0) by a USWNT head coach.

USA notes:
• Press has scored in 9 of Andonovski’s first 10 games. She appeared in all of them.
Crystal Dunn started the match, the only player to start every USWNT game of 2020 so far.
Adrianna Franch earned her 4th cap, making her first appearance since November 10.
Tierna Davidson saw her first USWNT action since suffering an ankle injury in late October.

JAPAN notes:
Mana Iwabuchi‘s goal was the first goal conceded by the USWNT since November 7, 2019 vs. Sweden. The goal also tied her with Lucia Garcia (ESP), Christen Press (USA) and Alexia Putellas (ESP) for tournament scoring lead (2 goals each).
• Captain Saki Kumagai earned her 112th cap. She’s the cap leader of Japan’s current player pool.

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