US Faces England in Women’s Friendly Battle of Champions

Posted on: October 7, 2022, 11:05h. 

Last updated on: October 7, 2022, 11:28h.

On Friday, the friendly match between the England Women’s National Team and the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) will take place at historic Wembley Stadium. It could be a prelude to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year, where both squads will start as leading candidates for the title.

From left to right, Crystal Dunn, Rose Lavelle, Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan of Team USA celebrate following their victory in the penalty shoot-out after the Women’s Quarterfinal match against the Netherlands at the Tokyo Olympic Games in July of 2021. The team faces England in a friendly on Friday that’s ramping up attention on women’s soccer. (Image: Getty Images)

England continued to strike hard in FIFA World Cup qualifiers last month, where they secured 2-0 and 10-0 wins over Austria and Luxembourg, respectively. They hope having the home-field advantage against the USWNT will give them an edge. The USWNT currently sits atop the FIFA Women’s Rankings.

The USWNT hasn’t played a competitive match in four months. Its last game was in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship final in July, where it took a 1-0 victory over Canada. The team had a couple of friendlies last month against Nigeria, winning both.

US Women’s Team Remains Dominant

These two teams have met 18 times on the field. The US has consistently dominated, taking 12 wins. England has been able to defeat the USA only four times, while the other two games ended in draws.

The US is undefeated in each of its last 21 games in all competitions, and has eight shutouts in its last nine games. England hasn’t lost a game since Sarina Wiegman became the manager in September of last year. They’ve won 20 of their 22 matches across all competitions.

In its last 10 games, England has scored 43 goals while only giving up three. The US isn’t too far behind, racking up 33 goals in 10 games. They’ve proven slightly better defensively, allowing just one goal.

This is only the third meeting between the two teams in England, with both teams earning a win each in the first two games. Despite the lopsided record in favor of the USWNT, sportsbooks are giving this one to England.

DraftKings has lines on the game, with England getting +145. Team USA is further out, with oddsmakers listing it at +190. Other books, including BetMGM and 888Sport, have similar results.

This is already shaping up to be a massively popular contest. Wembley sold all of its 90K tickets in less than 15 minutes. Given that England didn’t have a professional women’s league until 2018, the meteoric rise in popularity says a lot about what fans were missing.

US Team Dealing with Struggles

US Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPSL) players will come into the match with, perhaps, a few distractions. The league is dealing with allegations of abuse at all levels, which its leaders have repeatedly ignored.

An independent investigation by King & Spalding pulled back the curtain on the WPSL’s standards. It found tangible evidence of verbal and emotional abuse toward athletes, as well as inappropriate sexual behavior. Executives repeatedly ignored claims and complaints players submitted, trying to shove the issue under the rug.

In the nearly 200 interviews with players, coaches, and league personnel, the investigation found extreme abuses of power and rampant misconduct by WPSL authorities. More disturbingly, there are also allegations of “sexual misconduct, unwanted touching, and coercive sexual intercourse.”

Megan Rapinoe, one of the most influential and well-known soccer players in the world, became the latest to speak out about the abuses. She added her name to the list on Thursday, demanding, at the very least, that the league make changes. Criminal charges could be coming as well.

This past February, the USWNT and the US Soccer Federation reached a historic agreement. Female players received pay increases to put them on the same level as their male counterparts for all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup. It included an additional $24 million payment to the athletes.