All Scores

USWNT players who aced their auditions, and more from SheBelieves Cup

Catarina Macario celebrates one of the two goals she scored in the tournament finale Wednesday. (Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Mallory Pugh reached 20 goals and 20 assists for her international career, Ashley Sanchez showed off her nifty ball distribution, SheBelieves Cup MVP Catarina Macario registered two goals and an assist for an almost “Cat Trick.” The only thing missing from the United States women’s national team’s 5-0 win over Iceland in the tournament finale Wednesday night was the Becky Sauerbrunn goal everyone on Twitter was trying to manifest.

In their third shutout in seven days, the U.S. claimed their fifth SheBelieves Cup title on Wednesday. For head coach Vlatko Andonovski, the goal of the campaign was to evaluate a younger roster and give experience to the 11 players who came into the competition with 10 caps or fewer.

The USWNT concluded the tournament with the ultimate test on Wednesday, as seven starters under the age of 25 stepped onto the Texas field in 23-degree temperatures to face 2-0 Iceland in a winner-take-all game.

“Everything, everything was in some ways against us, and I told them today, ‘Let’s see what we’re made of,’” Andonovski said. “A little bit of adversity, a little bit of challenge, and it was an opportunity for some of these players to dig probably a little deeper than they have ever had before.”

A draw and two 5-0 wins later, here are key takeaways from the USWNT’s performance at the SheBelieves Cup.

‘This is a process’

“Process” was the word Andonovski used the most throughout the SheBelieves Cup. He made it very clear he’s not ready to draw conclusions or form opinions about the team or players at this point in time. The tournament was just a step on the journey toward building a World Cup roster.

“I feel comfortable saying that we made strides,” the coach said of the tournament. “Obviously there’s always going to be room for improvement, especially with a young group of players like this one, but with what we had lined up, I feel pretty comfortable saying that we did a pretty good job.”

Deep player pool

Andonovski undeniably has one of the hardest jobs in sports. Naming a 23-player World Cup roster is a daunting task when the USWNT’s talent pool feels as deep as the Mariana Trench. That’s especially apparent now that the young squad stepped up to win an international tournament, albeit a friendly one against lesser competition than in past SheBelieves Cups. Andonovski will have to weigh their selections with those of the USWNT veterans, at least 11 of whom weren’t a part of the most recent camp.

On paper, every young player is talented enough to earn a spot on the team. But those players who took time to rest or stepped away for life reasons — Crystal Dunn is expecting her first child and Christen Press is taking mental health leave — will likely be looking to take their spots back.

Four players who can expect to stick around

Catarina Macario is the present and future of the USWNT. Playing in the number nine — center forward position — for the first time with this younger group, she provided creativity Andonovski plans to build the team around.

In the first match of the tournament, only midfielder Rose Lavelle was showing signs of chemistry with Macario, but by the end of the third game, the rest of the team was syncing better with her runs and ball movements. After Macario sat on the bench for most of the Olympics, she showed off her all-around talent with strong defense and two world-class goals that Andonvoski believes should be “on highlight reels all over the world.”

Ashley Sanchez got her first and second starts for the USWNT in Games 2 and 3 of the SheBelieves Cup after Rose Lavelle went down with an injury, and she seized the opportunity. The 22-year-old midfielder exhibited her confidence on the ball, using fancy footwork most players wouldn’t try in a game, threading narrow through-balls to the forwards and dribbling out of the defensive third.

The center backs didn’t get a whole lot of action in the tournament. Regardless, it was apparent Alana Cook has the composure, positioning and distribution to make an impact on the USWNT’s backline.

Emily Fox has been an asset on the attack with her ability to dribble through and out of pressure. She’s capable of contributing to the play both on the flank and in the middle of the park, and her composure earned praise from Andonovski during the tournament.

Future of the forwards

The attacking third was full of new players, and it’ll be interesting to watch how the forward line evolves over the next year. Andonovski has been keeping a close eye on Macario, Pugh and Smith, who continue to work on reading each other’s runs and crosses in front of the net, but have the technical ability and movement to put together creative attacks as a unit.

Trinity Rodman made her USWNT debut in the first game of the tournament before leaving with an ankle injury, which Andonovski said was non-serious.

Evolution of the midfield

The group that showed the most improvement over the three games was the midfield. By the third game, they were initiating better chemistry with the forwards and getting into better positioning. Andi Sullivan, especially, was creating clear angles for passes and dropping into spaces that enabled her to control the tempo at the six position.

Andonovski doesn’t appear to be rebuilding the midfield as much as he is the other position groups. Ashley Sanchez and Morgan Gautrat are the only midfielders he’s called up in the last four months who weren’t on the 2020 Olympic roster. Gautrat, a two-time FIFA World Cup champion, played in the first match before sitting out the next two with an injury. She was healthy enough to play in the third game, but the coaching staff felt it wasn’t worth risking anything in the cold weather.

Best part of the pitch

Though they didn’t face much pressure during the tournament, the USWNT’s defenders received the highest marks. Team defense gets the credit for the three shutouts, but the backline also stood out for their organization, marking, tracking back, distribution and contribution to the attack. Andonovski called their performance in the third game “spot on.”

Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.

USWNT to face Costa Rica in final Olympic send-off

uswnt sophia smith and tierna davidson celebrate at shebeilves cup 2024
The USWNT will play their final pre-Olympic friendly against Costa Rica on July 16th. (Photo by Greg Bartram/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that the USWNT will play their last home game on July 16th in the lead-up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Send-Off Match against Costa Rica will take place at Washington, DC’s Audi Field — home to both the Washington Spirit and DC United — at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 16th. The friendly rounds out a four-game Olympic run-up campaign under incoming head coach Emma Hayes’ side, with the last two set to feature the finalized 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team roster.

Hayes will appear on the USWNT sideline for the first time this June, helming the team as they embark on a two-game series against Korea Republic hosted by Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on June 1st followed by Allianz Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 4th. 

The team is then scheduled to meet a talented Mexico squad on July 13th at Gotham FC’s Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, where the Olympic-bound lineup will attempt to rewrite February’s shocking 2-0 loss to El Tri Femenil in the group stages of this year’s Concacaf W Gold Cup. And while clear roster favorites have emerged from both of this year’s Gold Cup and SheBelives Cup rosters, a spate of recent and recurring injuries means making it to the Olympics is still largely anyone’s game.

Broadcast and streaming channels for the USWNT's final July 16th friendly at Audi Field include TNT, truTV, Universo, Max, and Peacock.

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA start to serve as 2024 Olympic tryout

Clark of the Indiana Fever poses for a photo with Lin Dunn and Christie Sides during her introductory press conference on April 17, 2024
The talented Fever rookie is still in the running for a ticket to this summer's Paris Olympics. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The USA Basketball Women's National Team is still considering Caitlin Clark for a spot on the Paris Olympics squad, says selection committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti. 

On Monday, Rizzotti told the AP that the committee will be evaluating the college phenom’s Olympic prospects by keeping a close eye on her first few weeks of WNBA play with Indiana.

The move is somewhat unconventional. While Clark was invited to participate in the 14-player national team training camp held earlier this month — the last camp before Team USA’s roster drops — she was unable to attend due to it coinciding with Iowa’s trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Judging by the immense talent spread throughout the league in what might be their most hyped season to date, competition for a piece of the Olympic pie could be fiercer than ever before.

"You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it's for now or the future," said Rizzotti. "We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It's got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It's still not going to be fair to some people."

Of course, Clark isn’t the first rookie the committee has made exceptions for. Coming off an exceptional college season that saw her averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for UConn, Breanna Stewart was tapped to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil less than two weeks after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm. Eight years prior, fellow No. 1 pick Candace Parker punched her ticket to the 2008 Games in Beijing just two weeks after making her first appearance for the L.A. Sparks.

In the lead-up to Paris’ Opening Ceremony on July 26th, USA Basketball Women’s National Team is scheduled to play a pair of exhibition games. They'll first go up against the WNBA's finest at the July 20th WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix before facing Germany in London on July 23rd.

While an official roster announcement date hasn’t yet been issued, players won’t find out if they’ve made this year’s Olympic cut until at least June 1st.

WNBA teams make history with 2024 season ticket sell-outs

Arike Ogunbowale on the wnba court for the dallas wings
The Dallas Wings are now the third team to sell out their entire season ticket allotment in WNBA history. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

For the first time in history, three different WNBA teams have completely sold out of season ticket plans well before the league's May 14th kick-off.

Call it the Caitlin Clark effect, attribute it to this year’s tenacious rookie class, or look to the skyrocketing visibility of veteran players across the board. But no matter the cause, facts are facts: Tickets to the 2024 WNBA season are selling like never before. 

On Monday, the Dallas Wings became the third team to sell out of season ticket memberships in the league’s 27-year history. The announcement from Arlington came shortly after the Atlanta Dream issued their own season ticket sell-out statement, also on Monday, and almost seven weeks after the back-to-back WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces made headlines by becoming the first-ever WNBA team to sell out their season ticket allotment.   

According to the Wings, season ticket memberships will fill nearly 40% of the 6,251 seats inside their home arena, College Park Center. The club also said that their overall ticket revenue has ballooned to the tune of 220% this year, spanning not just season tickets but also a 1,200% increase in single ticket sales. There’s currently a waitlist to become a Dallas season ticket holder, a status that comes with extra incentives like playoff presale access and discounts on additional single-game tickets. 

In Atlanta, season tickets aren't the only thing flying off the shelves. The Dream also announced that they broke their own record for single-game ticket sales during a recent limited presale campaign. Sunday was reportedly their most lucrative day, with five different games totally selling out Gateway Center Arena. Individual tickets for all upcoming matchups will hit the market this Thursday at 8 a.m., while a waitlist for season ticket memberships will open up next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

"Excitement around women's sports, particularly basketball, is at an all-time high and nowhere is that felt more than here in Atlanta," Dream president and COO Morgan Shaw Parker said in the team’s statement. "We’ve continued a record-setting growth trajectory over the past three years under new ownership — both on and off the court — and 2024 is shaping up to be our best season yet."

As of Tuesday, season ticket sales revenue for Caitlin Clark’s hotly anticipated Indiana Fever debut haven’t yet been announced by the club. But if these numbers are any indication — not to mention the explosive demand for Fever away games felt by teams around the country — it won’t be long before we see some scale-tipping figures coming out of Indianapolis.

Nelly Korda ties LPGA record with fifth-straight tournament win

Nelly Korda of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning The Chevron Championship
Nelly Korda poses with her trophy after acing her fifth-straight tour title at The Chevron Championship on Sunday. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

25-year-old American pro golfer Nelly Korda secured her spot in LPGA history on Sunday, notching her fifth-straight title at this weekend's Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Ranked No. 1 in the world by Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Korda joins Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sörenstam (2005) as just the third LPGA player to rack up five consecutive tour wins. She is also the third No. 1-ranked player to capture The Chevron Championship victory since the rankings debuted in 2006, accompanied by Lorena Ochoa and Lydia Ko.

The Florida native shot three-under 69 in Sunday's final, besting Sweden's Maja Stark despite Stark's valiant come-from-behind attempt in the 18th. Korda finished with a four-day total of 13-under 275, celebrating her two-stroke win by cannonballing into Poppie's Pond, much to the crowd's delight. She left The Club at Carlton Woods with $1.2 million from an overall purse of $7.9 million.

It wasn't long ago that the two-time major champion's current winning streak seemed unimaginable. After maintaining her No. 1 position for 29 weeks, Korda underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her left arm in 2022. She returned to the course not long after, but failed to win a single tournament in 2023 before seeing a surge in form during the first four months of 2024. As of today, she hasn't lost a tournament since January.

Korda will attempt a record sixth-straight win at next week's JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, where she'll vie for a cut of the $3.75 million purse.

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