The U.S. women’s team thoroughly dominated Switzerland in the first half of their match in Sandy, Utah, on Wednesday (Oct. 19). But they couldn’t put the ball in the net, and the game remained scoreless at the half.
In the second half, the young, energetic U.S. team attacked relentlessly on offense, while thwarting any attempt by the Swiss to counter-attack. Every time Switzerland gained possession of the ball, the Americans would quickly, almost effortlessly take it back. As the half wore on, Team USA’s speed, technical superiority, and deep bench simply ground the Swiss down, and the match turned into a mismatch. Final score: 4-0.
The teams meet again at noon CT Sunday (Oct. 23) in Minneapolis. The game is on Fox Sports 1.
Here are five oddities, curiosities, or (possibly) interesting facts about Wednesday’s game and its participants.
Wednesday’s result notwithstanding, Switzerland is a team on the rise. The team is ranked No. 15 in the world, its best showing since women’s rankings began in 2003.
Switzerland played in its first World Cup in 2015, and advanced to the knockout round before losing 1-0 to Canada, the host team.
This year, the Swiss qualified for the first time for the UEFA Women’s European Championship, which will take place next summer in the Netherlands. They won all eight games in their qualifying tournament, beating Italy, the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, and Georgia twice each, by a combined score of 34-3.
The roster that Jill Ellis put together for the Swiss matches — essentially, the first in a series of auditions for the 2019 World Cup — includes 11 players who were previously uncapped. That’s the most in 17 years.
To make room for the newcomers, Ellis told several veterans to take a break. Absent are Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, and Megan Rapinoe, among others.
Ellis’ reliance on the National Women’s Soccer League as a talent pool has never been more apparent. There are 20 Americans among the 22 players named to the NWSL’s First XI and Second XI for 2016, two are not Americans. Seventeen of the remaining 20 have at least been called up to train with the U.S. team this year.
One of those NWSL products, Lynn Williams, made her debut with the U.S. team at the start of the second half — and scored her first international goal 49 seconds later.
Williams, a forward with the Western New York Flash, was the NWSL’s scoring leader and most valuable player for 2016.