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USWNT blanked in friendly loss to Spain


The U.S. women’s national team’s tough October window came to a close on Tuesday with Vlatko Andonovski’s squad suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in over five years.

Spain handed the USWNT a 2-0 defeat in Pamplona, using goals from Laia Codina and Esther Gonzalez to claim the home victory. It was the first time since the 2017 SheBelieves Cup that the USWNT suffered back-to-back losses and an impressive victory for Spain, which was without 11 first-team regulars.

Both teams held parts of the first-half possession, but Spain came close to breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute through Codina’s header in the box. However, Codina would etch her name on the scoresheet before halftime thanks to Spain’s constant effort from a corner kick.

Alba Redondo and Rocío Gálvez’s chances were blocked in the box, but Codina picked up the loose ball and slotted home into the bottom-right corner.

The USWNT struggled to create many chances in the final third, watching as Lindsey Horan’s shot missed wide of Misa Gonzalez’s goal. Spain continued to pile on the pressure seeking an insurance goal and eventually received one with less than 20 minutes to play.

Oihane Hernández’s pass to Esther González in the 72nd minute was slotted home by the 29-year-old into the top-left corner of Casey Murphy’s goal. Gonzalez’s one-time loft over Murphy nestled into the corner, icing the strong performance from the hosts.

Alana Cook’s header in the 88th minute forced Gonzalez into her only save of the match, as Spain held on for its third home victory out of the past four matches. It was also Spain’s first-ever victory over the Americans in any competition.

The USWNT players will now head back to their respective clubs before reconvening in November for a Nov. 10 friendly vs. Germany in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


  1. Agree with the above comments about how this team, and past teams, cannot complete a series of passes, poor touch, etc. But I just watched the U17s against Brazil – what a breath of fresh air! Intelligent, confident play out of the back, good transition during a turn-over, backs and mids that can string 4-5 passes together, quick forwards that are good with the ball at their feet and make great runs. The future looks good!

  2. I have watched the USWNT for years and I’m always amazed when the people who have a stake in the team such as Aly Wagner and Julie Foudy can’t come out and say it. The team, going back to the early 90s, has always suffered from the inability to complete passes, even when given time and space. It’s confounding. I.e. I watched Rapinoe hit two corners that went untouched, seven straight passes that were intercepted or out of bounds from the 9th through the 30th minute. This was typical of both the England and Spain games for our midfielders except Horan. It’s infuriated me since at times since the 90s. The big difference back then was we had Michelle Akers who physically dominated the midfield and could win back any bad pass.

  3. What we saw with the defeats to England and Spain is the top teams in Europe have caught up to the US women, and very possibly have passed them. Spain was missing 15 regulars in a labor dispute, and their ‘B’ team was without question the more dominant side today. They out possessed the US by a wide margin, with the US not getting a shot on net until around the 85th minute. We saw England a few days ago showing themselves to be a step above the US women that day, playing with confidence and poise.

    The opportunities in Europe for female players are better, with so many top teams now subsidizing the women’s professional leagues, and providing a path for young players to develop. The NWSL now is no longer the first choice for the top players, and is floundering with the sordid details contained in the recent Yates report. The 2023 World Cup may be the point in time where we see that US dominance come to an end.


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