The United States women’s national team beat Nigeria 2-1 on Tuesday in a friendly at Audi Field in Washington D.C. The match was the second of a two-game series against Nigeria during the September window. USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski made few changes from the previous starting lineup that featured against Nigeria on Saturday, with the Americans winning 4-0. Three positional changes at goalkeeper, center back, and defensive midfielder meant starts for Casey Murphy, Naomi Girma and Sam Coffey, respectively.
Coffey’s inclusion into the starting lineup was her national team debut after spending time with the USWNT during Concacaf W Championship, but she did not crack matchday lineups. Rose Lavelle scored the winning goal for the USWNT with the first coming on an Oluwatosin Blessing Demehin own goal, while Uchenna Kanu equalized during the second half for Nigeria.
Let’s take look at some highlights and takeaways from the match:
Game scenario management in play
Unlike their first game, Sndonovski made a few player rotations for the USWNT, but the formation was largely the same as the team lined up in their 4-3-3 with Mallory Pugh, Alex Morgan, and Sophia Smith leading the attacking line once more.
The team didn’t find the same early success as they did in the previous match, despite Pugh and Smith finding pockets of space to exploit. The breakthrough goal came in the 24th minute by way of an own goal, forced by Pugh and ultimately toe poked through by Demehin.
The opening goal didn’t lead to a flurry of goal scoring compared to the previous match, as the USWNT headed into halftime with the narrow lead.
Megan Rapinoe continues impressive form
Nigeria made an early adjustment into the second half as Kanu entered the game in place of Glory Ogbonna. Kanu, who plays for Tigres Femenil in Liga MX Femenil, leveled the scoreline for Nigeria in the 50th minute. The equalizer ended the USWNT’s shutout streak at 880 minutes.
The goal did wake up the match a bit, as Andonovski’s first substitutions made an immediate impact. Rapinoe entered the game for Smith just after the hour mark and connected with Lavelle in the box for the go-ahead goal just 73 seconds after coming onto the pitch.
USWNT sign historic CBA with USMNT
After the match, the USWNT signed their historic collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer that was negotiated and ratified alongside the U.S. men’s national team back in May 2021.
A special ceremony took place on the field at Audi Field as representatives from both national teams signed the CBA. USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn addressed fans in attendance, thanking her teammates and the public for their support over the years as the USWNT fought for equal pay.
“First and foremost, I want to thank the players past and present for our persistence and basically never shying away from asking the question, ‘Why not?’ And I think us players really knew that we were on the right track, and we started attracting some of the most brilliant minds in their fields to our cause,” Sauerbrunn said to the crowd.
Sauerbrunn continued to thank player association representatives Crystal Dunn and Sam Mewis, and acknowledged Lynn Williams, Midge Purce, Tierna Davidson, Kelley O’Hara, and Alex Morgan as players who negotiated the CBA — before thanking fans of the USWNT.
“Last but not least, I want to thank all of you guys for all the support,” she said. “All the social media posts, the messages of support, the chants of equal pay at really funny times, showing up to our games. You guys make the difference, and you are truly, truly, the best fans in the world.”
Next, the United States will face England at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 7., and the Americans are expected to play another match that month against an opponent yet to be announced.