By Harry Awurumibe, Africa’s No.1 Women Football Journalist
Nigeria’s Super Falcons will Tuesday night square up once again with reigning world champions United States Women National Team (USWNT) in the second of the two international friendly matches between both teams in four days and the third between the USA and Nigeria in the last two years.
Following a 4-0 thrashing of Nigeria by Team USA on September 3 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, the Super Falcons are expected to use the second game against their hosts on Tuesday’s at Audi Field in Washington DC, to redeem their image.
The redemption matchup, presented by All state will kickoff at 6 p.m. Eastern Time (11 p.m. Nigeria time).
In the first match, Super Falcons came short of expectations, although it was only Head Coach Randy Waldrum who said he was impressed with the performance of his team which suffered a humiliating 4-0 in the encounter which the Americans dominated from start to finish.
Unfortunately for the coach he will still lineup the same players he invited for the two-game friendly matches in his native USA.
This means that Nigerians will still see the same team he fielded in the first match which include goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie while defenders Glory Ogbonna, Osinachi Ohale, Michelle Alozie and U-20 invitee Abiodun Deborah will also be in the team versus Team USA.
The likes of Toni Payne, Rasheedat Ajibade and Christy Ucheibe will operate from the midfield while Gift Monday, Uchenna Kanu and Ifeoma Onumonu will lead the attack in a 4-3-3 formation which will be different from the 4-4-2 formation Waldrum adopted in the 4-0 drubbing by Team USA the last time out, although he may choose to tweak few things to minimize the damage the rampaging Team USA will cause the Super Falcons tonight.
However, like in the first match few days ago, Team USA Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski will also field the star-studded squad with veteran striker Alex Morgan who has played 196 matches and scoring 119 goals for USA combining well with rising star, Sophia Smith who has played 22 times and scored 10 goals including a brace against Nigeria last Saturday. Morgan also scored on the day.
Other stars unleashed against Nigeria who will maintain their places are striker Mallory Pugh who has scored 24 in 78 matches and experienced midfielders Rose Lavelle OL Reigns(78/21) and Lindsey Horan of OL Lyon, France (116/25) who also scored a goal in the 4-0 thrashing of Nigeria.
Seventeen of the 23 players on Team USA roster saw action in Saturday’s win over Nigeria, with coach Vlatko Andonovski making all six allotted substitutions in the second half. Overall, 21 of the 23 players called into this camp were a part of the roster that helped the US A win the 2022 Concacaf W Championship in Mexico.
Defender Kelley O’Hara and forward Trinity Rodman, who both featured in the USA’s successful five-game run in Monterrey, were also initially named to the roster but O’Hara was later ruled out of camp due to a lingering hip injury while Rodman withdrew due to a family commitment.
They were replaced by defender Hailie Mace and midfielder Savannah DeMelo. Defender Crystal Dunn, who gave birth to her son Marcel on May 20, is also in camp for training as she continues her return to fitness but will not feature in the matches.
Meanwhile, immediately following the conclusion of Tuesday’s match, the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association will officially sign the historic new Collective Bargaining Agreements that feature identical economic terms with the U.S. Men’s National Team and sets the global standard moving forward for international soccer.
Tuesday’s match will be the eighth encounter all-time between Nigeria and USA and just the third such meeting in a friendly match. The first five matches between the USA and Nigeria all came at world championship events, with four meetings at the FIFA Women’s World Cup (1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015) and one at the Olympics (2000).
Apart from a 7-1 win in the first ever meeting between the teams – which came in group play at the 1999 Women’s World Cup – and a 5-0 victory for the Americans in the 2003 World Cup group stage, the majority of the meetings between these two countries have been tightly contested.
The USA defeated Nigeria, 3-1, at the 2000 Olympics and registered a pair of 1-0 group stage wins over the Super Falcons at both the 2007 and 2015 World Cup finals.