SANDY, UT / CHICAGO (Friday, March 23, 2018) – The United States Women’s National Team will face China PR in a summer friendly match on Thursday, June 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium (7 p.m. MT on FS1, presented by Cutter Insect Repellent).
The USWNT visit to Rio Tinto Stadium will mark the first appearance for the prestigious international side on the Wasatch Front since the mid-November establishment of Utah Royals FC, the newest National Women’s Soccer League club, which kicks off its inaugural campaign Saturday evening in Orlando. Both the Utah Royals FC and Major League Soccer side Real Salt Lake call Rio Tinto Stadium home, where the MLS club has established a dominant home-field advantage over the last nine-plus seasons.
Certain levels of Utah Royals FC season ticket holders will receive the June 7 USWNT match against China as part of the NWSL club’s 2018 inaugural season ticket package, while others will receive preferred pricing and access to various seating location and additional tickets prior to general public sale. The Rio Tinto Stadium box office will contact affected parties in the near future.
The USWNT have played four international friendlies at Rio Tinto Stadium since the venue’s October 9, 2008 opening, posting a perfect 4-0-0 record in Sandy (on top of a dominant 5-0 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium against Ireland in 2003, prior to Real Salt Lake’s existence). Utah has provided the USWNT with memorable moments from its matches against Switzerland, Canada and twice against Mexico in the last eight years; with the arrival of the NWSL and the advent of RSL’s world-class training facility in Herriman, U.S. Soccer is sure to become even more frequent visitors to Utah.
“Obviously, there’s a great history between the countries and we always enjoy the matches against China,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “They bring a level of technical skill and tactical savvy that challenges us, which is what we need as we continue to prepare for World Cup qualifying in the fall.”
Tickets for the match in Utah – starting at just $22 – go on sale to the public on Tuesday, April 17, at 10 a.m. MT through www.ussoccer.com, by phone at 844-REAL-TIX (844-732-5849; available Monday-Friday 10a-6p MT) and at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office (open Mon.-Fri. 10a-6p).
Groups of 20 or more can order directly at ussoccer.com.
Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available for the USWNT Utah visit exclusively through www.ussoccer.com.
Coaches Circle and Presidents Circle members supporting the U.S. Soccer Development Fund can receive individual customer support and concierge services for their ticketing needs. Click here or contact [email protected] for more information.
USWNT HISTORY AT RIO TINTO STADIUM
The first match the USWNT played at “The RioT” was on March 31, 2010, when it faced Mexico in an infamous blizzard-laden match that the U.S. won, 1-0, courtesy of an Abby Wambach goal in the 60th minute. Due to the frigid temperatures in Sandy, only 3,700 fans attended the National Team’s first-ever visit to the world-class Stadium, a game remembered for the viral snow-angel celebrations as well as numerous milestones in what have become storied careers for USWNT superstars.
That match gave very first caps to Orlando City FW Alex Morgan and URFC DF Brittany (Taylor) Kolmel, while USWNT legend Kristine Lilly earned her first start for the U.S. since 2007. Wambach’s goal enabled her to draw even with Michelle Akers’ 105 goals for their country, good for third all-time.
Hosting Canada at Rio Tinto Stadium two years later in June, 2012, the USWNT would ride a Canadian own goal and an 85th minute winner from active Utah Royals FC FW Amy Rodriguez to propel the “Stars-and-Stripes” to a 2-1 victory in front of nearly 17,000 fans.
Rio Tinto Stadium would again host a friendly between the USWNT and Mexico in 2014 – this time with no snow – and goals were abundant. Led by two goals each from Wambach and Morgan, the USWNT routed its rivals 8-0, scoring four times in each half for the biggest USWNT win at Rio Tinto. Others adding goals aside from the Mexican OG were Whitney Engen, Sydney Leroux and Heather O’Reilly.
That match would prove to be the first tune-up for the very much anticipated FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, which the USWNT ultimately claimed after going unbeaten with a 6-0-1 mark en route to the nation’s third world title.
Switzerland was the most recent country to visit Sandy to face the USWNT, back in October, 2016, as the Americans would move to a perfect 4-0-0 in Sandy with a 4-0 win over the Swiss while entertaining 14,000+ U.S. supporters. Goals from Lynn Williams, Tobin Heath, Christen Press and Samantha Mewis in the second half propelled yet another USWNT victory.
GAMES FOR THE AGES
The USA played China in two consecutive world finals in the 1990s, winning 2-1 in the 1996 Olympic gold medal game, the first contested in women’s soccer, and then winning the historic penalty-kick shootout that decided the 1999 Women’s World Cup. The USA and China have met 56 times – second behind Canada on the list of most common opponent for the USWNT – but the two historic women’s soccer nations have not played since the final game of 2015, a 1-0 loss for the USA in what was legendary striker Abby Wambach’s final game.
That loss at the Superdome in New Orleans – the final “Victory Tour” game during a memorable 2015 for the U.S. Women – ended an incredible 104-match home unbeaten streak that dated back to 2004. The USA and China also met in the quarterfinal round at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with the Americans emerging with a 1-0 victory on a spectacular header goal from Carli Lloyd.
Did You Know…
- China will enter the 2018 AFC Asian Women’s Cup from April 6-20 in Jordan in pursuit of a berth to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The top three finishers will be the first teams to qualify and join host France.
- China is in Group A with host Jordan, Thailand and the Philippines. Group B features Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam.
- The U.S. Women will be making their sixth trip to Utah and will be playing their fifth match at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- The USA last played in Utah on Oct. 19, 2016 in a 4-0 victory vs. Switzerland during which five players made their WNT debut: Abby Dahlkemper, former BYU star Ashley Hatch, Casey Short, Andi Sullivan and Lynn Williams. Williams also scored in that game, becoming the 20th WNT player to score in her first cap.
- The USA’s first match in Utah took place at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus, a 5-0 win vs. Ireland in 2003.
- Rio Tinto Stadium was also the site of Alex Morgan’s first cap on March 31, 2010, a 1-0 victory against Mexico in a match played in ankle-deep snow.
- The USA is 34-9-13 all-time against China. The nine wins for China are the most of any country against the USA besides Norway (19).
- Of the 56 all-time meetings between the teams, a remarkable 45 have featured margins of victory that were two goals or less.