The United States women’s national team started its friendly against Nigeria with purpose, immediately putting the Super Falcons under a wave of pressure in Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

Deploying a high press, the USWNT pinned Nigeria in their own half for most of the opening frame as the United States’ attack went to work.

Sophia Smith, Mallory Pugh and Alex Morgan worked together seamlessly, finding space through varied runs as Rose Lavelle and Lindsay Horan picked out the forwards from the midfield.

While the offensive sequences were on point, the squad failed to capitalize on chances created in the final third, putting three of 10 shots on target.

The USWNT’s breakthrough finally came in the 24th minute when Pugh whipped a dangerous ball into the box, forcing an own goal from Oluwatosin Blessing Demehin.

The 1-0 scoreline held until the half despite the USWNT’s relentless attack.

Energized by a manageable 1-0 deficit at the break, the Super Falcons came out of the locker room swinging.

Nigeria equalized in the 50th minute, with Uchenna Kanu finding space around defender Sofia Huerta and firing a shot past U.S. goalkeeper Casey Murphy. The goal was the first the USWNT has conceded during the run of play this year, snapping the team’s shutout streak at 880 minutes.

The USWNT, quick to respond, registered the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute to reclaim their lead.

Megan Rapinoe proved to be the difference-maker, serving up a quality ball one minute after entering the match. The 37-year-old picked out Lavelle, who was waiting at the back post to nod in the header and put the USWNT up 2-1.

The USWNT held off Nigeria until the final whistle, securing the narrow victory.

The win came three days after the U.S. defeated Nigeria 4-0 in the first friendly in Kansas City. The game marks the USWNT’s final contest before their highly anticipated matchup with 2022 Euro champion England at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 7.

The U.S. women’s national team won 4-0 over Nigeria on Saturday off of a stout offensive performance from some of the team’s staples.

With the same starting XI that won the Concacaf W Championship final, head coach Vlatko Andonovski cited the need for reps in starting that same squad.

“We’re not coaching with an eye toward the next game — we’re coaching with an eye toward the World Cup,” Andonovski said last week. “Everything that we do now is a preparation for the World Cup, and that started after winning the second game in CONCACAF [qualifying].

“We did decide to stick with the same roster of players that were with us because we were very happy with the level of play that those players displayed when they are in our environment. And that’s why, going forward obviously, we’re going to see a lot of these players coming back if they continue to stay in the form that they are in.”

The team that showed up on Saturday looked every bit a team preparing for the World Cup.

Sophia Smith was all over the pitch, scoring the team’s first goal before notching her second during stoppage time in the first half to secure the brace. Her performance marks goals No. 9 and 10 through 22 appearances, tying her with Michelle Akers for the sixth fastest player to double-digit goals in USWNT history.

Lindsey Horan also notched her first goal of the year in the 25th minute while Alex Morgan got one in the 52nd minute, converting the penalty kick to make it 4-0.

The team will next play Nigeria on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET to close out the September international window.

The U.S. women’s national soccer team will play the first of its two friendlies against Nigeria on Saturday.

But the squad that takes the pitch will look very different from the one that faced the Super Falcons in their last meeting back in June 2021, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

The USWNT brings a roster in transition to Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.

In the team’s most recent match against Nigeria, a 2-0 win for the United States in Austin, Carli Lloyd, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe lined up on the forward line.

Kristie Mewis, Lindsay Horan and Sam Mewis made up the starting midfield, while Kelley O’Hara, Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn and Crystal Dunn anchored the backline, with Alyssa Naeher in net.

Six of those players are not on the roster for Saturday’s match.

Lloyd has since retired, while Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper have been away from the team due to injury. O’Hara served as a veteran presence during the Concacaf W Championship in July, but she is out with a hip injury.

Dunn is just beginning to work her way back after giving birth to her son three months ago, and she practiced with the team in Kansas City but is not on the roster.

Press and substitute Lynn Williams were the two goal scorers for the USWNT last June, but both are sidelined with long-term injuries. (And, per USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski, Press was not considered for the roster this summer even before she tore her ACL in June.)

With an eye toward youth, the USWNT has begun to evolve ahead of the 2023 World Cup, integrating less experienced players with the likes of Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn.

Fielding a new attacking lineup that features Alex Morgan alongside Sophia Smith and Mallory Pugh, the USWNT will be eager to show consistent offensive production.

The team, while dominant during its Concacaf run, has yet to display dependable finishing and needs to make teams pay in the final third.

Still in flux, the USWNT midfield will look to tidy up its performance down the spine of the pitch while getting Rose Lavelle, Horan and Ashley Sanchez more directly involved in the attack.

On the backline, relative newbies Naomi Girma and Alana Cooke will look to continue to impress as center-backs, while Sofia Huerta and Emily Fox make their case on the flanks.

The USWNT will take on Nigeria at 1 p.m. Saturday. The match will air on Fox.

The U.S. women’s national team will play two friendlies against Nigeria during the September international window, the team announced Wednesday.

The USWNT has faced Nigeria six times, but just once in a friendly — a 2-0 victory in June 2021 on goals from Christen Press and Lynn Williams. The first five meetings between the teams came in international tournaments, and the United States won all five matches.

The first of the two matches this September will be played Sept. 3 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. The second match will be played Sept. 6 at Audi Field in Washington.

“I’m just excited to play two matches against Nigeria. They have some very talented players who will present a lot of different problems for us to solve on both sides of the ball,” USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said in the news release.

The USWNT is in the midst of the Concacaf W Championship. The team won its group and qualified for next year’s World Cup. Next up comes a semifinal at 7 p.m. ET Thursday against Costa Rica.

The tournament, though, has raised questions about the team’s readiness for the World Cup, with Andonovski admitting that the team has more work to do.

“I have to say if you asked me if we are ready to play in the World Cup tomorrow, we’re probably not ready for it,” Andonovski said following the team’s final group-stage win Monday over Mexico. “But we are going to be ready in a year, absolutely.”

Yet the quality of the USWNT’s friendly opponents recently invites questions about the team’s preparation. Nigeria is ranked 39th in FIFA’s world rankings. Earlier this year, the USWNT played Uzbekistan, which is ranked 46th by FIFA, as well as Colombia, which is ranked 28th.

UEFA World Cup qualifying resumes during the September international window, so possible opponents were limited. Two more international windows come in October and November, and those could spell a different story for the USWNT.