The U.S. women's national soccer team (USWNT) extended its winning streak to five games with a 3-0 victory over China on Saturday. The victory comes from an energizing visit from new head coach Emma Hayes, who briefly met with the team this week. However, Hayes won't take over fully until Chelsea's season concludes in May.
“100% she was watching live,” interim head coach Twila Kilgore said after the game. “And I will look forward to talking to her when she's ready and has time to do that and get her viewpoints, and we'll go from there.”
The USWNT came out in a 4-2-2-2 formation and changed its shape at various points in the game. The team was also noticeably better at maintaining possession in the buildup, which created more attacking opportunities. “We're trying to do some different things offensively,” Kilgore said. “We're trying to be more dynamic with our passing and movement, and I think we saw some good examples of that tonight.”
Eleven players in camp had fewer than 10 caps, including three — 18-year-old Olivia Moultrie, 20-year-old Korbin Albert, and 23-year-old Jenna Nighswonger — who came in with none. Nighswonger and Moultire debited on Saturday, earning meaningful minutes in the second half.
“I think it's important to get some of these younger players involved,” Kilgore said. “We're going to need them down the road, and it's good to get them some experience now.” The USWNT will face China again on Tuesday in Frisco, Texas, for its final game of the year.
Kilgore: Hayes' influence already evident in USWNT
Kilgore said she could already see Hayes' influence on the team's play. “She's a brilliant coach, and I think she's already had a positive impact on the team,” Kilgore said. “She's very detail-oriented, and she's always looking for ways to improve our game. I think we're all excited to work with her when she takes over full-time.”
Horan: Win a confidence boost
Midfielder Lindsey Horan, who scored one of the goals in Saturday's game, said the win was a confidence boost for the team. “It's always good to get a win, especially against a good opponent like China,” Horan said. “I think we played well tonight, and we're starting to come together as a team. I'm excited to see what we can do in the future.”
The USWNT will face China again on Tuesday in Frisco, Texas, for its final game of the year. After some much-needed time off, the team will reconvene early next year as it continues preparations for the inaugural CONCACAF Gold Cup in February and March and the Paris Olympics in July and August. The U.S. women's national soccer team is the most successful national team in the world, having won four World Cups and four Olympic gold medals. The team is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by FIFA.