USWNT vs Nigeria: 2022 Friendly Top Storylines and Predictions | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
AP Photo/Roberto Martinez
The United States women’s national team starts its third two-game series against an opponent in 2022 on Saturday afternoon.
The USWNT took on Nigeria inside Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas as part of a two-game set in a four-day span.
Most of the players that won the Concacaf W Championship in July are on the roster for Vlatko Andonovski’s side for the two September friendlies.
The USWNT will use the consecutive friends to start preparing for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and 2024 Summer Olympics. The squad also has to be sharp ahead of a clash with England on October 7.
Nigeria comes into the set of games ranked 46th in the FIFA world rankings. The Super Falcons will use Saturday’s game in Kansas City and Tuesday’s clash in Washington DC as early preparation for the Women’s World Cup. They qualified by finishing fourth in the Women’s African Cup of Nations.
USWNT vs Nigeria info
Date: Saturday, September 3
Start Time: 1pm ET
Live Stream: FoxSports.com and Fox Sports app
Top story lines
Focus On 2023 World Cup Roster
Now that the Americans have qualified for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023, they can focus on booking spots on the plane to the tournament.
Manager Vlatko Andonovski opted for consistency with his roster for the first matches after the World Cup and Olympic qualifying tournament that took place in Mexico in July.
Kelley O’Hara and Trinity Rodman are the only two members of the 23-person squad that traveled to Mexico that will not be available for the September friends. O’Hara is dealing with an injury and Rodman has a family commitment.
Hailie Mace and Savannah DeMelo were named in place of O’Hara and Rodman. Mace could play in front of her home club crowd. She is the only member of the NWSL’s Kansas City Current to be on the roster for Saturday’s match in Kansas City.
The competition for certain spots could even be tough for players that were in Mexico for the qualifying tournament.
Most of the players with 15 or fewer caps have the most motivation to impress because their spots are guaranteed on the plane to Australia and New Zealand yet.
It is safe to assume that Alyssa Naeher, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle are among the players already headed to the Women’s World Cup.
A World Cup roster without Megan Rapinoe does not seem normal, but at 37, she may have to play her way on to the squad to fend off challenges from younger attacking players.
That may be one of the tough decisions that looms for Andonovski, or Rapinoe could be in such good form that she forces her way into the roster and another veteran’s spot comes under threat from a rising talent.
All of the games before the roster is finalized next summer will be important for players on the fringe of the roster and Andonovski should give those candidates ample playing time to maximize the talent going into the southern hemisphere in 2023.
Home Unbeaten Streak Can Be Extended To 70
The USWNT comes into Saturday with a 69-game home unbeaten streak.
In 2022, the Americans have six wins and one draw on home soil. They have outscored their opponents 33-1 in home games this year.
The lone slip-up for the USWNT came back in January, when it played to a scoreless draw with the Czech Republic to open up its calendar year in the SheBelieves Cup.
Since then, the USWNT pummeled a few opposing defenses by scoring at least five goals on four occasions. The lone concession on home soil came on a 70th-minute strike by Uzbekistan in the middle of a 9-1 blowout on April 9.
The USWNT showed off its form in Mexico in July, as it did not concede a goal over five matches at the Concacaf W Championship. The team outscored its opponents 13-0 in that tournament.
A similar result is expected on Saturday against a Nigeria team that came in fourth in the Women’s African Cup of Nations in July. The Super Falcons could be viewed as a tough opponent, though, since they held Canada to four goals over two games in April, one of which was a 2-2 draw.
The USWNT should be wary of the threat posed by Nigeria, but it does have the quality across the field to produce another win and extend the home unbeaten run to 70 games.
Prediction: USWNT 3, Nigeria 0
The USWNT has too much quality in attack, led by Morgan, and its defense has been superb throughout 2022. Expect the Americans to not allow many chances and eventually crack the Nigeria back line for a few tallies.