US National Team Chip Shots: USWNT Victory Tour and More

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It has been a relatively busy week for US Soccer, so let’s jump right in. Ladies first in this week’s edition, after all, they are the ones with the stars over the crest and deserve the recognition.

USWNT

The USWNT Victory Tour got off to a rousing start, as Christen Press led the USWNT, clad in all white kits with the newly minted three stars over the crest, to an 8-0 victory in Pittsburgh over Costa Rica. Press tallied a hat trick, Heather O’Reilly added a brace, Julie Johnston, Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenberg each added one of their own. Klingenberg, who was playing in front of her hometown crowd, paid tribute to the Pittsburgh crown by waiving the “Terrible Towel” for the fans; a custom usually reserved for the NFL Team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team headed to Chattanooga, TN for a rematch against Costa Rica, and it was much of the same, though Costa Rica did manage to score two goals this time around.  Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly had two goals each, Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan added one each, and Costa Rica delivered a gift in the form of an own goal.  Two matches with Costa Rica, a combined scoreline of 15-2.  Not a bad way to start the Victory Tour.

It was a fitting story for Klingenberg to score in Pittsburgh; she was one of the best players in the World Cup, and is one of the rising stars for the USWNT. Her, along with Hope Solo, Julie Johnston, Carli Lloyd, and Megan Rapinoe were all named to the All-Star World Cup Team. Carli Lloyd scored at least one goal in every match of the knock out stage, and of course the hat trick in the final that had everyone in a state of shock. Megan Rapinoe has become the shoulders the USWNT climb on in midfield. It seems that everything flows through her in one way or another, and her accuracy on crosses is enough to make David Beckham and Steven Gerrard take a moment to reflect. Hope Solo, Julie Johnston, and Meghan Klingenberg anchored the defense that recorded five shutouts and a remarkable 540 minutes of clean-sheet soccer. It is safe to say that there should be at least one more World Cup for them all, which is scary for the rest of the world, but exciting for fans of US Soccer.

Following the lead of Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone, Lauren Holiday, and Shannon Boxx is the likes of Lauren Chalupny. She announced her retirement from the international game at the end of 2015. She currently has 103 caps, which will most likely jump up after the Victory Tour to 112 (give or take 2 or 3). She has won an Olympic Gold Medal, a World Cup, and a U-19 World Cup and has served as one of the most versatile players in USWNT history by playing multiple positions. She briefly took some time off in 2009 after some concussion scares, but was deemed fit enough to return to the USWNT and earned a spot on her second World Cup Team.

USMNT

According to his Instagram account, Tim Howard is not only playing for Everton, he is also working other matches with Arlo White and tattooing friends…it’s been a slow week for the USMNT.

Brazil comes to New England on September 8, and it was announced that Neymar will be making the trip. I’m sure there are other players coming too, 23 others in fact, but they aren’t Neymar. Maybe Brazil should just change their name to “The Neymar’s”. It’s catchy. This will be the third match for the USMNT that pits them against a top 10 opponent this year. The other two matches were both wins for the USMNT. They defeated sixth-ranked Netherlands 4-3 (they have since dropped to 12th), and the reigning World Cup Champions and no. 1 ranked Germany 2-1 (they have since dropped to 3rd). Brazil currently sits fifth in the rankings, and provides a great opportunity for the USMNT to prepare for the all-important match against Mexico in October. Can they make it a hat trick on top 10 victories this year?

The U-23 MNT

Andi Herzog’s group was watching closely as the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying draw took place earlier this week. The US were drawn into Group A with Canada, Cuba, and Panama; playing a couple games in Kansas City, then one in Colorado respectively. The matches will be played from October 1-13 and tickets will go on sale later this month. The Olympics require countries playing to use their U-23 team with the addition of three over age players if wanted. In the past, the big names have not been present with the young guns, but it might be a smart move to bring in one or two senior level players to help solidify the group.

The women are dominating, the men are tattooing and the young and up comers are prepping for the Olympics; All in all, not a bad week to be part of US Soccer.