England Holds Off USWNT In Front Of Historic Crowd At Wembley Stadium
by Chrös McDougall
Sophia Smith celebrates after scoring during the women's friendly against England on Oct. 7, 2022 in London.
The tickets sold out within 24 hours, and the U.S. and England women’s soccer teams delivered with an action-filled, back-and-forth performance in a friendly Friday night at Wembley Stadium in London.
In one of the most anticipated games outside of a major tournament in recent memory, featuring the recently crowned European champs and the two-time reigning FIFA Women's World Cup champs, it was the home team that came out victorious as England won, 2-1.
Lauren Hemp opened the scoring for England in the 10th minute before Sophia Smith answered for the U.S. with a long-range blast to tie the game in the 28th minute.
The Lionesses went back up five minutes later when Georgia Stanway converted a penalty kick.
Just minutes later, the Americans appeared to have tied it again when Megan Rapinoe flicked a crossing pass backwards through the penalty area to Trinity Rodman, who buried it into the far corner. However, the goal was overturned after a VAR review determined a player had been offside by a hair's breadth earlier in the play.
The teams remained deadlocked after that, with the result snapping a 13-game U.S. win streak during which they outscored opponents, 52-2.
Friday’s game came among a wave of momentum for the sport in England, building off the Lionesses’ historic first European title in front of a record crowd of 87,192 at Wembley in July. Only the iconic 1999 World Cup final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, had drawn a bigger crowd for an international women’s soccer game at 90,195.
A crowd of 76,893 — including “Ted Lasso” actor Jason Sudeikis and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — came out for Friday’s game against the U.S., holders of the last two World Cups. The previous record crowd for a USWNT friendly was 49,504 from a 2019 game in Philadelphia.
The U.S. and England had met 18 times prior to Friday, including a memorable semifinal at the 2019 World Cup in Lyon, France, when the Americans won, 2-1.
Five U.S. players from that squad were back on the field Friday, including Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Becky Sauerbrunn and goalie Alyssa Naeher. The fifth, Crystal Dunn, returned to the national team as a second-half sub just 140 days after giving birth to her son Marcel. Dunn’s last game was more than a year ago on Sept. 16, 2021.
Among the newer generation of U.S. players to take the field Friday, less than a year out from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, was 17-year-old Alyssa Thompson, who became the youngest player to earn a cap with the U.S. team since 2016.
The USWNT will have face more tests in coming weeks with matches against top-10 opponents Spain (Oct. 11) and Germany (Nov. 10 and 13) still on the calendar for 2022.