The U.S. women’s national team is back in action for its first match since the conclusion of the 2021 Olympics, where it came away with the bronze medal on Aug. 5. The first contest in its four-match post-Olympic tour comes against Paraguay on Thursday night in Cleveland.
The game marks the Americans’ first meeting at the senior level with the South American nation, which is ranked No. 50 in the world. The USWNT, which held onto its No. 1 ranking despite finishing third at the Tokyo games, will be looking to extend its 20-match home winning streak.
With the Olympics in the rearview mirror, the USA’s focus now turns to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which will be staged in Australia and New Zealand. Regional qualifying will start in July 2022 at the CONCACAF W Championship.
All eyes will be on USWNT legend Carli Lloyd, who will be playing her final four matches for the national team before her retirement. The 39-year-old has the second-most appearances in the program’s history (312) and 128 goals.
The USA and Paraguay will face off for a second time in Ohio on Sept. 21, when the teams travel about 250 miles south to Rose Lavelle country —Cincinnati — for a first match at recently opened TQL Stadium.
Sporting News will follow Thursday’s match live and will be providing score updates, commentary and highlights throughout the night.
USWNT vs. Paraguay live score
USA – Carli Lloyd (Mallory Pugh) – 3rd min.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Crystal Dunn) – 6th min.
USA – Andi Sullivan (L. Williams, K. Mewis) – 25th min.
USA – Lynn Williams – 30th min.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Andi Sullivan) – 33rd min.
USA – Carli Lloyd (Lynn Williams) – 38th min.
(All times Eastern)
41st min.: It’s nearly a seventh goal on a Pugh corner kick that finds Kristie Mewis at the far post. Mewis is all alone, but can’t hit the target.
38th min.: It’s too easy for Lloyd, who gets her fourth goal! Lynn Williams just lofts it into the middle of the box and Lloyd just side-foots it home. That’s four goals on 12 total touches. It’s the first time in her career she’s had four goals in a match.
33rd min.: Hat trick Lloyd! She beats a defender to a one-time cross in the box and stabs it home. She can’t be contained. Now she has the all-time record for hat tricks by a USWNT player.
30th min.: It’s a fourth! Lynn Williams just winds up and lets fly from distance and the ball takes a deflection into the back of the net. No mercy from the USWNT.
25th min.: Another USWNT goal! This one off another corner. Lynn Williams heads down toward goal and Andi Sullivan knocks it home on the goal line. That’s her first USWNT goal.
23rd min.: Pugh has been outstanding in this first half. Now she’s on the right and a long ball from the back finds her making a run in behind. She wins a corner.
14th min.: After starting on fire, the USWNT pressure has eased a bit and the initial flurry of action has died down. Paraguay settling in a bit more.
#USWNT has had to line up a lot of bad teams in the last year, but Paraguay is the worst. Has never played in WWC. Only game it has played in last 18 months was a 7-0 loss to Japan in April.
— Paul Kennedy (@pkedit) September 16, 2021
10th min.: Lloyd puts the ball in the back of the net again, but she’s offside on the cross by Lynn Williams from the right.
6th min.: Lloyd again! Again from the left: Pugh serves Crystal Dunn down the left flank and her cross gets to Lloyd who’s wide open in front of the goal. Now up to 130 goals, tied for third all-time with Kristine Lilly.
3rd min.: Goal Carli Lloyd! She heads home the corner kick and it’s her 129th career international goal, good for 4th all-time in the world.
3rd min.: Crystal Dunn is pushing high and gets the shot off, which is saved for a corner.
1st min.: We’re underway in Cleveland.
7:17 p.m.: Mal Pugh getting comfortable with that left wing ahead of the match:
7:13 p.m.: Out for warmups:
6:57 p.m.: Get pumped for the game:
6:06 p.m.: The USWNT is in the house:
5:24 p.m.: A view of FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland:
USWNT vs. Paraguay: Starting lineups
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski has called up a new-look roster that features three NWSL players who were not part of the Olympic team: Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns) and Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars).
USWNT star Christen Press opted out to focus on mental health. Out due to injury are goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, midfielders Julie Ertz, Samantha Mewis and Lindsey Horan, and forward Megan Rapinoe. Naeher, Mewis and Horan are with the team for evaluation and rehabilitation.
USWNT starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 18-Adrianna French-GK — 19-Crystal Dunn, 12-Tierna Davidson, 4-Becky Sauerbunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara — 22-Kristie Mewis, 25-Andi Sullivan, 16-Rose Lavelle — 11-Mallory Pugh, 10-Carli Lloyd, 6-Lynn Williams
USWNT subs (8): 21-Jane Campbell-GK, 2-Abby Dahlkemper, 20-Casey Krueger, 14-Emily Sonnett, 17-Catarina Macario, 13-Alex Morgan, 7-Tobin Heath, 27-Sophia Smith
Paraguay coach Epifania Benitez called up 18 players for the matches against the United States (players who feature for clubs outside Paraguay are noted). The team has played one match in 2021, a 7-0 loss to Japan. Paraguay’s top scorer is Fabiola Sandoval (25 goals in 43 appearances):
Paraguay starting lineup (5-4-1, right to left): 1-Cristina Recalde-GK — 2-María Martinez, 3-Limpia Fretes, 5-Tania Riso, 4-Daysy Bareiro, 8-Lorena Alonso — 6-Fany Gauto, 10-Fanny Godoy, 14-Deisy Ojeda, 11-Mirta Pico — 7-Fabiola Sandoval
Paraguay subs (7): 12-Alicia Bobadilla-GK, 15-Sofía Almiron, 13-Fiorela Martínez, 7-Yanina Servín, 16-Monserrath Ayala, 18-Ramona Martínez 9-Natalia Pena
How to watch USWNT vs. Paraguay
- Date: Thursday, Sept. 16
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN2
- Live stream: fuboTV, ESPN app
The match will be broadcast on ESPN2, which can be streamed on fuboTV (free 7-day trial).