Still riding on the wave of their victory at the FIFA Women’s World Cup this past summer, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) played against rival Brazil at CenturyLink Field in an international friendly on Oct. 21.
The USWNT came to Seattle as part of their Victory Tour, the fifth game out of 10, that began in August and will conclude this December. It was a homecoming for goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who both play for the Seattle Reign FC.
The streets outside of CenturyLink were packed with red, white and blue, with fans swarming into the stadium to the sounds of drums and chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” As fans entered the back of the stadium, the General Admission section began pumping up the crowd by cheering and then chanting in sync when the team walked out at the beginning of the game. 23,603 people attended the event.
Brazil fought with full force, with Monica Andressinha scoring the first goal in the 3rd minute, and the team’s defense holding up almost unbreakably until the end, much to the visible frustration of the U.S. Throughout the game, the U.S. took twelve shots, four on goal, causing the crowd constant excitement and then disappointment. Toward the end of the game, with tensions running high, fear that the U.S.’ undefeated streak, which has been held since February, was going to be broken, team captain Carli Lloyd scored the equalizer goal in the 85th minute (with an assist from Meghan Klingenberg) helping to end the game at 1-1. Although it wasn’t the win the team was looking for, it didn’t affect their record or international standing, as it was an international friendly. The team extended its home unbeaten streak to 101 games, with their last loss at home coming from Denmark in November 2004.
Lloyd’s goal was her 17th this season, a career high and two more than her previous mark of 15.
Playing her final game was Shannon Boxx, who has been with the national team since 2003. She played in the starting line up as the team captain and was replaced in the 41st minute by Tobin Heath, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, hugs from team members, and cheers of “Thank you Boxxy!” Throughout her career, she won three Olympic gold medals with the U.S. at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 games. She also finished as a top three best player at the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cups. Starting in 2007, she began a battle with Lupus that almost ended her career. Through her strength and the support of the USWNT, she was able to go public with her battle in April 2012 and works with the Lupus Foundation of America to help create awareness of the disease. She announced her retirement following the team’s win at the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year.
At their game in Orlando, once again playing against Brazil, the USWNT will also lose players Lori Chalupny (playing since 2001) and Lauren Holiday (playing since 2007). They will appear with the team in December.
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