Two stoppage time goals lifted the U.S. women’s national team over Nigeria in a close match on Wednesday night to close out the Summer Series. Christen Press scored the first-ever goal in Q2 Stadium, home of Austin FC, in first-half stoppage time. Lynn Williams, only five minutes after entering the match as a substitute, sealed the USWNT victory with a second-half stoppage time goal.
Nigeria gave the United States its toughest test of the tournament. Nigeria tested the backline and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, with Asisat Oshoala leading the way up top. Oshoala recently won the UEFA Women’s Champions League final with Barcelona.
Naeher was forced to make a save and a couple stops against the Nigerians. Meanwhile, Nigerian goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi put on a clinic, making four saves, including one spectacular second-half save against Press in the second half.
The U.S. win comes at a time where head coach Vlatko Andonovski is filling out his final 18-player roster for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Williams certainly made a statement with her goal, as she is fighting for a forward spot. Meanwhile, in the second Summer Series game against Jamaica, there was a goalkeeper switch as Adriana Franch took the spot between the sticks, giving Andonovski a different view of goalkeeping.
There are still questions surrounding USWNT roster spots, though. Julie Ertz is recovering from an injury and there is no timetable to if she’ll be ready for Tokyo. Tobin Heath, who hasn’t played a club match since at least April, has been training with the team during the Summer Series, but did not feature in any matches. Meanwhile, against Jamaica, Rose Lavelle rolled her ankle and left the game. She did not play against Nigeria.
Nigeria will not be heading to the Olympics. Zambia will be representing the Confederation of African Football.
— Rachael Kriger (@RachaelKriger) June 17, 2021
Three Takeaways from USWNT vs. Nigeria
- Good to have Randy back: I’m a bit biased here. Randy Waldrum, head coach of Nigeria, is also the head coach of the University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer team, where I am based and who I’ve worked for as an announcer for two years. Randy Waldrum is a great coach, and to see him get another shot at the international level is fantastic and makes the women’s game better. He even gave Gotham FC forward Ifeoma Onumonu her first cap and call up.
- Mewis should’ve gotten red: Now which one am I talking about? Kristie Mewis, early in the match, went for goal and collided with goalkeeper Oluehi. However, it was the antics afterward that caught the eyes of many viewers. Mewis looked to step on Oluehi after the play was whistled dead, and ran away like nothing happened, while the Nigerian goalkeeper lied in pain on the ground. It wasn’t a good look for Mewis, and it was certainly red-card worthy.
- Look out for Nigeria: Nigeria is a talented, fast, strong and tactical team. Waldrum is doing good things with this group, and they’re only going to get better. A team that has one of the greatest kits out there, repeatedly, Nigeria will be a team to look out for when the 2023 World Cup comes around.
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) June 17, 2021
What’s next for the U.S.?
Before the team heads to Tokyo, the USWNT have a few more matches to get final preparations ready. On July 1 and 5, the team will face Mexico in East Hartford, Connecticut. Mexico will not be heading to Tokyo, as Canada was the second Concacaf nation to qualify for the Olympics.
But first, Andonovski has a final roster to name.