For a vaunted team that won its third Women’s World Cup this summer, here’s a first: a match for the United States women’s national team in Hawaii.
Carli Lloyd & Co. head to Honolulu this week for the first of four final Victory Tour games to wrap their illustrious 2015 season. The match, which is their first since October, will take place on Sunday at Aloha Stadium against Trinidad & Tobago (live, 8 p.m. ET, FS1, FOX Sports Go).
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With the 2015 Women’s World Cup title under the belt, and reclamation of the No. 1 spot in the FIFA World Rankings, the U.S. women will be the centerpiece of FOX Sports’ Pearl Harbor Day commemorative broadcast, which also features FOX NFL Sunday and a pair of men’s college basketball games on Monday, featuring Top 25-ranked Villanova vs. Oklahoma State and Navy vs. Oregon.
With their appearance in Hawaii, which marks the 32nd state the team has played in, the U.S. women again are being called on to perform the dual duties: playing soccer and representing their country with class and humility.
The team visited with Wounded Warriors on Thursday and will greet U.S. Navy leaders at a special dinner on the Pearl Harbor base Saturday before getting back to work on the pitch against CONCACAF opponent Trinidad & Tobago. The U.S. women already have turned the corner from celebrating their 5-2 Women’s World Cup win over Japan on July 5 and are gearing up for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February. The top-rated U.S. is paired in a group with Mexico and is looking at a potential qualifying showdown against Canada.
Megan Rapinoe tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee which will require surgery, a setback that could jeopardize her chances of playing in next summer’s Olympics at Rio de Janeiro.
The U.S. Soccer Federation said Saturday the Seattle Reign midfielder tore the ligament during Friday’s training session in Honolulu. It was a noncontact injury. She has twice torn the ACL in her left knee as a college player, an injury that typically requires a recovery period of a year or more.
The 30-year-old Rapinoe was scheduled to travel home to Seattle. No date for surgery has been announced, but it likely will be done once the swelling has subsided.
”All of our hearts feel for Megan and she’s certainly a major part of this team, both on and off the field, so to see her go down is tough,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. ”Players getting injured is always hard, but all of her teammates know that one of the strengths of this team is depth and everyone in the player pool is prepared to step up as we continue to prepare for Olympic qualifying."
The U.S. women will wrap up their Victory Tour, starting with Sunday’s game in Hawaii and then heading to San Antonio (Dec. 10 vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 9 p.m. ET), Phoenix (Dec. 13 vs. PR China, 7 p.m. ET) and New Orleans (Dec. 17 vs. PR China, 6 p.m. ET, FS1, FOX Sports Go).
The match in New Orleans will be the final game for retiring U.S. forward Abby Wambach, who is the world’s all-time leading international scorer with 184 career goals in 252 caps. Wambach’s departure will be an emotional moment in the U.S. team’s history, as Wambach follows Lori Chalupny, Shannon Boxx and Lauren Holiday into retirement. The changes open the door for Ellis to continue to remake the U.S. side ahead of the Olympics and the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
"It has been a fantastic and thrilling year and we are looking forward to ending it on a high note, and especially honoring Abby and her legendary career in New Orleans," Ellis said. "T&T and China are very competitive teams and once again we’ll look to these games to continue the process of preparing for Olympic qualifying, especially now that we know our path during the qualifying tournament in February."
Ellis has again added 2015 NWSL MVP and leading scorer Crystal Dunn to the December roster. Dunn has scored three goals and added three assists for the USA while starting the past four matches of the Victory Tour. In addition, seven other players will train with the U.S. team during the final four Victory Tour matches.
The roster for the final four Victory Tour matches is:
Goalkeepers: Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) and Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC).
Defenders: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City) and Emily Sonnett (Univ. of Virginia).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western NY Flash) and Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City).
Forwards: Lindsey Horan (Paris Saint-Germain), Sydney Leroux (Western NY Flash), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City) and Abby Wambach (unattached).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.