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USWNT vs. Netherlands: Lindsey Horan plays hero in 1-1 draw

Lindsey Horan celebrates for the USWNT after scoring the equalizer against the Netherlands in the World Cup group-stage game. (Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images)

Lindsey Horan provided the emotional fire and the equalizer for the U.S. women’s national team in a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands in the World Cup group stage.

The USWNT captain found herself knocked to the ground after a physical challenge from Danielle van de Donk, much the way her team found itself stunned by the Netherlands’ first-half lead. But Horan responded immediately, first getting into a verbal sparring match with van de Donk and then smashing in the equalizer with a header off a corner kick in the 62nd minute.

The Netherlands had grabbed a 1-0 lead early in the 17th minute, as Jill Roord put a shot past six USWNT defenders and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Before that goal, the USWNT had not trailed in a World Cup match since 2011.

Both teams had won their opening matches, with the USWNT posting a 3-0 scoreline against Vietnam and the Netherlands securing a defense-minded 1-0 win against Portugal. But the USWNT has recent history on its side heading into Wednesday’s match, with a 2-0 win against the Netherlands at the 2019 World Cup and a 3-2 win on penalty kicks in the 2021 Olympic quarterfinals.

So the battle for the top spot in Group E will come down to the third and final group-stage matches. The USWNT will face Portugal at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday, and the Netherlands will face Vietnam at the same time.

FINAL: USWNT 1, Netherlands 1

The USWNT trailed in a World Cup match for the first time since 2011 after an early Netherlands goal, but a Horan header saved the day.

Just Women’s Sports writer Claire Watkins questioned the bench usage (or lack thereof) from USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski. The team’s inability to counter the 3-5-2 Dutch formation, particularly the packed midfield, also stood out as an area of concern.

67′: Offside call wipes out go-ahead goal for USWNT

Trinity Rodman found Alex Morgan streaking into the box, and then Morgan hammered her shot home. But the would-be go-ahead goal was ruled offside.

62′: Lindsey Horan ties score for USWNT

The USWNT captain tangled with Lyon teammate Danielle van de Donk, who knocked Horan to the ground with a physical challenge — and then felt Horan’s wrath as soon as she found her feet. But Horan got the best revenge, scoring the equalizer with a header off a corner kick.

51′: Rose Lavelle picks up quick yellow card on illegal tackle

Just five minutes after entering the match, the 28-year-old midfielder receives the first yellow card of the match for a slide against Jackie Groenen.

46′: Rose Lavelle replaces Savannah DeMelo

While Lavelle was cleared to start, she was utilized off the bench for the second consecutive match. She is recovering from a knee injury, and she played her first minutes since April as a substitute in the World Cup opener against Vietnam. She entered in the 61st minute against Vietnam, but the USWNT brought her on earlier here, perhaps to inject some energy into the midfield.

Aniek Nouwen replaced Stefanie van der Gragt for the Netherlands.

HALF: Netherlands 1, USWNT 0

Despite USWNT pressure early and late in the first half, the Netherlands dominated the middle minutes and the middle of the pitch.

The U.S. held a 9-2 advantage in shots. But for Just Women’s Sports writer Claire Watkins, the inability to capitalize on those chances almost could be considered a bigger indictment than not getting those chances at all — if the USWNT can’t get back into the game in the second half.

The Netherlands held USWNT captain Lindsey Horan limited to 22 touches in the first half, and the Fox cameras caught her throwing up her hands in the midfield.

“I want to see more fight, more urgency,” Fox Sports analyst and USWNT legend Carli Lloyd said of the first-half performance. “They started off the game really well, they were high pressing, but now you’re getting picked apart.”

36′: USWNT comes up empty despite two consecutive corners

The U.S. took two corner kicks in a row in the 35th and 36th minutes but did not score on either opportunity.

Fox Sports analyst and USWNT legend Carli Lloyd pointed out the team’s struggle to finish its chances against Vietnam, which she called a “worrying” trend under head coach Vlatko Andonovski. The USWNT finished its 3-0 win against Vietnam with 28 shots, seven of them on target.

29′: Netherlands sends shot just over crossbar

Dominique Janssen sends a shot inches over the crossbar. The ball lands in the top of the net, a warning to the USWNT of just how close the Netherlands came to extending the lead. The Dutch team has controlled 55% of possession since scoring the first goal.

17′: Netherlands takes 1-0 lead courtesy of Jill Roord

From the top of the box, Roord shot past six USWNT defenders and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to score the first goal of the match. While Trinity Rodman followed with a shot of her own almost immediately, goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar made the stop to preserve her team’s 1-0 lead.

Before this goal, the USWNT had not trailed in a World Cup match since 2011, holding opponents scoreless across a record 17-match stretch.

6′: USWNT establishes early pressure

The speed up the left side of the field (particularly Crystal Dunn and Sophia Smith) created early chances for the USWNT, including this ball that dribbled all the way to the Dutch goalkeeper. Alex Morgan just missed the chance to tap it into the net.

Starting XI: USWNT sticks with same lineup

  • United States
    • Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher
    • Defenders: Emily Fox, Julie Ertz, Naomi Girma, Crystal Dunn
    • Midfielders: Andi Sullivan, Lindsey Horan, Savannah DeMelo
    • Forwards: Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Trinity Rodman
  • Netherlands
    • Goalkeeper: Daphne van Domselaar
    • Defenders: Stefanie van der Gragt, Dominique Janssen
    • Midfielders: Jill Roord, Sherida Spitse, Danielle van de Donk, Jackie Groenen, Victoria Pelova
    • Forwards: Katja Snoeijs, Lieke Martens, Esmee Brugts

The USWNT is sticking with the same starting lineup it used against Vietnam, which makes this the first time since 1999 that the team is repeating a lineup in consecutive group-stage matches. Four of the players also started against the Netherlands in the 2019 final: Naeher, Dunn, Ertz and Morgan.

What to know about the Netherlands

What to know about the USWNT

When and how to watch

  • Wednesday, July 26 — 9 p.m. ET (Fox, Peacock, Telemundo)
    • United States vs. Netherlands (Wellington Regional)

The USWNT will play three group-stage matches at the World Cup, one against each of its opponents in Group E. After opening the tournament with a 3-0 win against Vietnam, the USWNT will face the Netherlands and then close the group stage against Portugal at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday.

The 2019 World Cup rematch against the Netherlands is available to watch on Fox and Telemundo. It also can be streamed on the Fox Sports app and on Peacock.

2023 MVP Breanna Stewart Drops 31 Points in Liberty’s Huge Win Over Fever

breanna stewart and jonquel jones of the new york liberty celebrate win over indiana fever
Stewie and the Liberty dominated the court throughout Thursday's Fever home opener. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The New York Liberty dominated Indiana on Thursday night, winning by a whopping 36 points in the Fever's home opener. 

A sold-out crowd of 17,274 was in attendance to watch as star rookie Caitlin Clark finished the 102-66 defeat with nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists. It’s the first time since January 2021 — her freshman season at Iowa — that Clark's been held to single-digit scoring. 

"The physicality is definitely up there... I'm easily pushed off screens," she told reporters after the loss. "The game seems a little fast for me right now. The more I play and the more comfortable I get, it's going to slow down a little bit. It will be easier for me to make reads, see things develop."

The Fever were outscored by a combined margin of 57 points in their first two games — the largest two-game point deficit in WNBA season-opening history, according to @ESPNStatsInfo.

"We've got to get to a level of toughness," Fever coach Christie Sides in her own postgame remarks. "When things are going south on us, we're not stopping the bleeding."

"I have great perspective on everything that happens," Clark added. "It was the same in my college career. There were some moments that were absolutely amazing. And there were some moments I was not happy with how I played and how my team performed. That's just life, that's just basketball."

Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu, who herself experienced a rocky rookie season following a much-hyped college career, offered up some insight on the matter.

"In this league, there are tough defenses all centered around not letting you get the ball, trapping, not letting you score," Ionescu said. "There were many factors that played into what was a tough first season for me in the league, but it helps you be able to figure it out. You have to have those experiences."

But it was reigning league MVP Breanna Stewart that truly stole the show, racking up 31 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks on the night.

"In general, I just wanted to come out more aggressive coming off of last game," Stewart said after putting up the 24th 30-point game in her career.

Stewart she also commended the fans inside Indianapolis's packed Gainbridge Fieldhouse, noting that she hopes that level of support to continue across the WNBA.

"This is how you want every game to be and when it's a sell-out crowd, it gives you a similar playoff atmosphere feel," she said. "People want to be a part of this and the thing now is to continue to sustain it, continue to take the momentum that we have and turn it into something more."

WNBA Commissioner Admits to ‘Faulty’ Charter Rollout

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert at 2024 wnba draft
Cathy Engelbert at the 2024 WNBA Draft in New York. (Cora Veltman/Sportico via Getty Images)

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert admitted to a "faulty rollout" of the new charter travel initiative on Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Ahead of Tuesday's season opener, it was announced that the only teams flying private this week would be Indiana and Minnesota. The announcement came mere days after the league made a new charter flight program for all WNBA teams public. At the time, they said it would be implemented "as soon as we have the planes."

But as two teams out of 12 chartered to their first games of the season, others like the Atlanta Dream and Chicago Sky were forced to fly commercial.

A town hall meeting between Engelbert and the players was held in response to the confusion. Everything from the league's new media rights deal to private travel was covered in the meeting, with players submitting their questions ahead of time. Sky center Elizabeth Williams told Sun-Times reporter Annie Costabile afterwards that cross-country flights were prioritized.

"Flights that are across the country like [the Lynx] going to Seattle, crossing multiple time zones, or flights that usually require a connection, those were the priorities," Williams said. "That’s why New York didn’t go to DC with a charter, but Minny goes to Seattle."

What’s unclear under that metric is that the Atlanta Dream played the Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday, which could technically be classified as a cross-country flight. 

On Tuesday, rookie forward Angel Reese shared a photo on her Instagram story lamenting the league's use of commercial flights.

"Just praying that this is one of the last commercial flights the Sky has to fly," Reese posted. The team still has at least three commercial flights awaiting them in the near future.

"Obviously, I think all teams should be able to get chartered," Reese told the Sun-Times. "But I know moving forward... going in the right direction, being able to have some teams [chartering] is cool. Within the next weeks, everybody will be flying charter, which will be really good."

On Thursday, Lindsay Schnell of USAToday Sports confirmed that the league intends to have all teams on charter flights by May 21st.

Brazil Wins Bid for 2027 Women’s World Cup Host

fifa womens world cup trophy on display
The FIFA Women's World Cup trophy on display in Bangkok after Brazil was announced as the 2027 host country. (Thananuwat Srirasant - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Brazil has been named the host for the 2027 Women’s World Cup, with FIFA announced early Friday. 

The decision came after a vote at the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok, with Brazil earning 119 votes to the joint European bid’s 78. 

This will be Brazil’s first time hosting the Women’s World Cup, with the country having hosted the men’s World Cup twice before in 1950 and 2014. It will also be the first Women’s World Cup held in South America. The tournament will follow the same 32-team format as the 2023 WWC in Australia and New Zealand.

Brazil winning the bid was not entirely surprising after FIFA issued a report just last week, stating that the Brazilian bid had pulled ahead as host following technical inspection. After evaluation, Brazil was given a score of 4.0 out of 5, compared to the 3.7 awarded to the Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Brazil ranked higher in a number of key areas, including stadiums, accommodations, fan zones, and transport infrastructure. Though considered to be a frontrunner, the US and Mexico withdrew their joint bid prior to the technical inspection period, saying they would instead focus their efforts on 2031.

On Friday, Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Ednaldo Rodrigues called it a "victory." 

"We knew we would be celebrating a victory for South American women's soccer and for women," he told reporters. "You can be sure, with no vanity, we will accomplish the best World Cup for women."

"We are working on a transformation, not only for the country but for the continent," added bid team operational manager Valesca Araujo.

Brazil intends to use 10 of the venues utilized at the 2014 men’s World Cup, including holding the final in Rio de Janeiro on July 25th. The CBF's proposal outlines that the 2027 tournament run from June 24th through the end of July. Last summer’s World Cup began at the end of July and concluded on August 19th.

Another notable element of Brazil's newly unveiled plan to grow of the women’s game is that "all [men’s] clubs wishing to take part in high-level national and continental competitions must now provide a structure for a women’s team." While the definition of "structure" was not specifically identified, the country has set targets with CONMEBOL to help increase the number of women’s club teams in the country.

In last week's inspection findings, FIFA noted that selecting Brazil as the next WWC host could "have a tremendous impact on women's football in the region."

Chelsea Eyes Weekend Finale With WSL Title in Sight

chelsea players celebrate win against tottenham in the wsl
Chelsea beat Tottenham on Wednesday, moving to the top of the table in an effort to win departing coach Emma Hayes some silverware. (John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Chelsea did what they needed to do on Wednesday in order to make Saturday's slate of season-ending WSL fixtures interesting: Beat Tottenham.

The Blues are now number one in the league, with an edge over Manchester City on goal differential thanks to an eight-goal outing against Bristol City last week. 

Yesterday's result tees up a league finale for the books as Chelsea looks to send coach Emma Hayes off with another trophy to add to her cabinet. The Blues will play FA Cup winner Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday, while City is away at Aston Villa.

"We will be leaving nothing on the pitch, we will be giving everything and no matter what the result is," Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert said after Wednesday's win. "At least we can look each other in the eye and say we gave everything."

It makes for a thrilling end to Chelsea's Emma Hayes era, as the decorated WSL coach will take over the USWNT in June. And it comes after Hayes all but conceded the title race early this month after Chelsea fell to Liverpool 4-3.

"I think the title is done," Hayes said at the time. "Of course, mathematically, it's not, but I think the title is done. Our job between now and the end of the season is to keep pushing until the end, but I think it will be very difficult.

"We will never give up. But the title is far from us; it's not in our hands. I think City are deserving, their consistency has put them in that position. Of course, we will go to the end, but I don't think the title will be going to us this year."

Be it mind games or Hayes truly thinking her team was that far off, her words lit something in Chelsea. Their following two performances showed the team’s determination to have a shot at some silverware.

As for Saturday's schedule, Hayes believes her team is facing the "tougher of the two games."

"It's a fitting finale for me, being my final game," she told BBC Sport. "As I said to the players if someone gives you a second chance in life, make sure you don't need a third one. We're in the position we want to be in, and we'll give it everything on Saturday no matter what."

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