It was all about the numbers when the U.S. WNT met Switzerland Wednesday night in Sandy, Utah. Numbers like 11 uncapped players on the American roster, three of whom received their first cap, 3 college players, including two who saw their first full national team minutes.
And there were these numbers, 3-5-2, as Jill Ellis took into account the 3 years until the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France to try out a new formation, eschewing the tried and true 4-4-2. And with all of those digits flying around, let’s not forget that the U.S. WNT won last night 4-0.
The newcomers acquitted themselves very well indeed, led by Western New York Flash striker Lynn Williams, who scored only 51 ticks after her halftime introduction. Williams’ goal only continued a spectacular run for the 23-year-old, who scored the last-gasp equalizer to send the NWSL final on to penalty kicks.
The Flash won that shootout and Williams added the NWSL title to her league MVP and Golden Boot awards for the 2016 season. Another standout amongst the first timers was college star Andi Sullivan and all the Stanford midfielder did was walk off with the official Woman of the Match honors for her performance.
Furthering Ellis’ experimental vibe, the coach started midfielder Allie Long at the center of the back three with veteran Becky Sauerbrunn on her left and Emily Sonnet on the right. Further up the field, Lindsey Horan played just behind strike partners Crystal Dunn and Carli Lloyd.
A look at the scoresheet, minus Williams, shows familiar faces Tobin Heath, Christen Press, and Samantha Mewis, earning just her fourth cap, so it was not all change on the night. Still, it was difficult not to get the message from Ellis that the Olympic flameout wasn’t good enough and with France 2019 far in the distance, nothing is assumed, no position is safe.
Switzerland is a solid side and had to be happy to finish the first half tied at zeros but minus four top players, led by star attacker Ramona Bachmann, Switzerland carried little real threat on the night and keeper Alyssa Naeher was really tested just once, when she tipped a shot over the crossbar after a U.S. turnover.
After picking the pocket of a Swiss defender Williams put the U.S. on the scoreboard soon after the restart to open the floodgates. Oh, Switzerland hung on for a bit but only until the impressive Dunn set up Heath for the second U.S. tally in the 69th minute. Two more goals followed completing a good night for the U.S. and setting the stage, not just for Sunday’s rematch with the Swiss, but more importantly, for the next few years.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 4 4
SUI 0 0 0
USA – Lynn Williams 46th minute
USA – Tobin Heath (Crystal Dunn) 61
USA – Christen Press (Kelley O’Hara) 69
USA – Samantha Mewis (Christen Press) 76
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 12-Emily Sonnett (23-Christen Press, 46), 20-Allie Long (14-Abby Dahlkemper, 72), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn; 17-Tobin Heath (21-Ashley Hatch, 75), 19-Andi Sullivan (3-Samantha Mewis, 75), 6-Morgan Brian, 9-Lindsey Horan (13-Lynn Williams, 46), 8-Casey Short; 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (5-Kelley O’Hara, 64), 16-Crystal Dunn
Subs not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
SUI: 1-Gaëlle Thalmann; 6-Selina Kuster, 14-Rahel Kiwic, 15-Caroline Abbé (capt.), 5-Noelle Maritz; 20-Sandrine Mauron (3-Melanie Müller, 62), 7-Martina Moser, 8-Cinzia Zehnder, 19-Eseosa Aigbogun; 2-Patricia Willi (23-Barla Deplazes, 46), 18-Viola Calligaris
Subs not used: 12-Stenia Michel, 21-Seraina Friedli, 4-Fabienne Bangerter, 16-Fabienne Humm, 22-Vanessa Bernauer
Head Coach: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg
Stats Summary: USA / SUI
Shots: 24 / 4
Shots on Goal: 12 / 2
Saves: 2 / 8
Corner Kicks: 8 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 17
Offside: 5 / 2
SUI – Noelle Maritz (caution) 44th
USA – Lynn Williams (caution) 81
SUI – Viola Calligaris (caution) 85
SUI – Cinzia Zehnder (caution) 86