USWNT to Host New Zealand WNT Twice in September

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The United States Women’s National Team will host the New Zealand WNT in a pair of international friendlies this September. The first match will take place on the 15th in Commerce City, Colorado, and the second on the 19th in Cincinnati, Ohio. This two-game series will be the first match between the countries since the Rio Olympics, where the US won 2-0.

Commerce City is home to the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer and has hosted a number of friendlies over the years, drawing sizable crowds to these matches. The most recent USWNT game in Colorado against Japan last June sold out in just 10 minutes, so it was not a surprising decision to select the city as the site for an international friendly. Colorado natives Lindsey Horan and Mallory Pugh will likely be among the roster selections for the USA, which should delight the local fans.

To the outside observer, Cincinnati may seem like an odd choice to host a WNT match. The US women have not played in Cincinnati since their post-Olympic Victory Tour in 2008, and the area has not historically been a hotspot of support for soccer. But the success of FC Cincinnati in the United Soccer League (they currently top the USL attendance table at over 19,000 per game and drew crowds of over 30,000 for matches against two MLS sides) has made it an attractive choice to host a match. An additional attraction for Cincinnati fans will be rising USA talent and Cincinnati native Rose Lavelle.

New Zealand will provide a good challenge for the USA and has several players with experience in the US women’s leagues over the years. Although former NZ captain Abby Erceg elected to retire from international play, citing mistreatment from the NZ Federation, Rosie White, Katie Bowen, and Rebekah Stott all currently play in the NWSL and will likely be on the NZ roster.