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The USWNT in the 2010s: A decade of opponents

Now, we look at who the women played this decade and how many times

United States of America v Netherlands : Final - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

The United States Women’s National Team had a phenomenal decade, with 2 Women’s World Cup titles, an Olympic gold medal, and several other accomplishments in the 2010s. The team went an astounding 177-14-29 (W-L-D) from 2010-2019, and from Portugal to Jacksonville, they terrorized opponents quite frequently.

The team faced 41 unique opponents in their 220 matches, including friendlies, World Cup qualifying, Olympic qualifying, and friendly tournaments like SheBelieves Cup and the Tournament of Nations. Who did they face the most? Let’s see who the most common opponents were for the best team on the planet:

All USWNT opponents in the 2010s

China was the USWNT’s most familiar opponent, lining up against the world champions 16 times this decade. It may not be that surprising, as the USWNT liked to schedule the same team twice in the same international window so that they didn’t have to figure out the logistics of two separate teams flying to the United States. Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Canada, France, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Germany each faced the USWNT 10 times or more, and with friendly competitions like the Algarve Cup, the Kirin Cup, and the U.S. Soccer-created SheBelieves Cup and Tournament of Nations, more matches against those top teams will likely be on the menu in the 2020s.

When you take out the official competitions like the Women’s World Cup, the Olympics, and qualifying for both competitions, it leaves the friendlies that teams can schedule on their own. The USWNT had 163 friendly matches against 34 opponents, most of those matches being the product of these friendly cup competitions. China once again leads the charge as the most common friendly opponent for the United States.

USWNT friendlies in the 2010s

Japan, Sweden, and Mexico also faced the USWNT in friendlies more than 10 times, but the top teams on this list are some of the best in the world. That makes the record that the USWNT had in the 2010s that much more incredible. There weren’t a lot of matches scheduled against teams from Africa, with only 2 friendlies agains South Africa being the only ones that weren’t a part of official competitions. It will be interesting to see if the USWNT schedules more teams from Africa and other confederations they didn’t play much outside of the top couple teams.

Finally, we look at the number of matches the USWNT played outside the United States. They had 49 friendly matches abroad against 19 teams, with many of them coming as a part of the Algarve Cup in Portugal. They also were a part of other friendly cup competitions like the Kirin Cup or the International Women’s Football Tournament that took place in Brazil.

So, who did the USWNT play the most outside the friendly confines of the United States?

USWNT friendlies played abroad in the 2010s

Sweden, Japan, Norway, Canada, and Iceland were the teams the USWNT saw the most abroad. However, since the installation of SheBelieves Cup in 2016 and the Tournament of Nations in 2017, the USWNT have only traveled abroad for 7 friendlies. Bringing the best teams in the world to American soil to play has been a way for the USWNT to play high caliber competition. However, it will be interesting that as teams around the world get better if the USWNT will decide to test their mettle by playing teams on the road.

The USWNT has completed the most successful decade in U.S. Soccer’s history. We will see as they enter 2020 if some new opponents unfamiliar to fans are scheduled or if we will continue to see the USWNT test themselves against the world’s best.