The U.S. women's national team defeated Netherlands in a 2-0 win today as they took the pitch for the first time this year since March. USWNT traveled to Europe to take on the Dutch in the Netherlands in a rematch of their 2019 World Cup final to close out their calendar year.
USWNT didn't appear to show signs of a long layoff as they immediately pressed Netherlands in the first half. Naturally there was some rust, with moments of disconnected passes and some shot attempts that went long or wide of the target. The midfield appeared to be too much for Netherlands as halftime approached and the U.S. kept up their press in defence.
The payoff would happen in the 41tst minute as Christen Press and Rose Lavelle linked up for an impressive opening goal as the pair forced a turnover. A quick counter on the possession from Press, as she continued her run and found an open Lavelle out wide, whose shot connected from distance, gave USWNT the lead heading into halftime.
Krisite Mewis made her senior national team return after an impressive club year with Houston Dash and a six year absence from international play. She extended the U.S. lead with a second goal in the 70th minute when Lynn Williams was able to play a through ball for Mewis to get past her defender on goal.
The USWNT ended their 2020 on a 2-0 win to close out an unpredictable year. The team will be back for a January camp in 2021 with NWSL players scheduled to return to markets in February.
Scoreline: USA 2, Netherlands 0 (FT)
⚽ USA: Rose Lavelle (41')
⚽ USA: Kristie Mewis (70')
Rose Lavelle opens the scoring: USWNT were strong over the majority of the match despite not having a national team fixture together in months. There pressure on the ball was everywhere, including on defense, which led to the teams opening goal from Rose Lavelle.
Kristie Mewis scores first national team goal in 2,722 days: After an impressive 2020 with her club side, Mewis made a return to national team camps and subbed on in the second half to score this top class goal after a six year absence from the national team.
Sam Mewis, Midfielder: Currently on loan with Manchester City, Mewis returned to national team camp alongside the return of her sister. A force in the midfield from the opening whistle, her ability to break lines and play out of pressure was on full display today. We are witnessing the evolution of a USWNT icon. Rating: 9
Rose Lavelle, Midfielder: Also on loan with Man. City, Lavelle's tenure with the club has show mixed results as lineups show her in questionable positions. Her performance today was a reminder of how lethal she is on the pitch. Whether it's putting applying defensive pressure, making an offensive run, or on a dribble. Rating: 9
Christen Press, Forward: Currently on loan with Manchester United, a first half shift from Press helped the USWNT set the tone on offense. Her work off the ball with will Lynn Williams provided a blue print, and her vision on the run to find Lavelle earned her the assist on the opening goal. Rating: 8
Crystal Dunn, Defender: Coming off season in NWSL where she played in the Challenge Cup, opted out of Fall Series, and was traded to Portland. Dunn showed today why some time off isn't always a bad thing. Her combing play with Heath was difficult for Netherlands to contain, and if the goals didn't eventually breakthrough, she's always an option to push higher as well. Rating: 8
The unpredictability in 2020 impacted many things for USWNT from training camps together to the Olympics. NWSL's ability to pull off some competitive fixtures in such an unknown time allowed head coach Vlatko Andonovski the opportunity to evaluate and observe current players and larger prospects in his plans for the national team.
"I think that they maximized everything they could and did everything they could have done in 2020 as a league and the teams themselves. I think they did the incredible job helping the players stay in form as much as possible," said Andonovski in post game comments.
"That definitely helps us as a national team and NWSL has done an incredible job I mean, needless to say, ever since the league has been here, this team has won two World Cups. So, definitely has a big, big impact on how much it means for these players and how much it helps them in the preparation for big tournaments."
The league recently released a framework for 2021, that includes players returning to club markets in February, the return of the Challenge Cup, and expanded playoffs. An earlier start and a longer season could benefit the national team for the upcoming 2020 Olympics that were postponed until 2021. Andonovski's extensive NWSL background gives him an added perspective on club play as the team continues to prepare for what is next.
"Now going forward. I just hope that everything goes as planned for the league, because that will be important for us. It will be important for our players to be in good environments, in good training environments, good playing environments, with a good logistical support because ultimately it will make my job a little bit easier."