Trinity Rodman made her debut for the U.S. women’s national team in a 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic on Thursday in the SheBelieves Cup.
With some of the national team’s more recognizable stars — Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Tobin Heath — left off the roster for the tournament, coach Vlatko Andonovski made good on his pledge to evaluate young prospects.
The average age of the starting lineup was 25½, the youngest since April 2018. Five starters had fewer than 15 appearances with the team. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy was playing in just her third game.
“I’m happy with where they’re at right now,” Andonovski said. “But we all know that how we look and where we’re at is nowhere near enough to win big games.”
Rodman, the 19-year-old daughter of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, came in as a substitute in the second half. She recently signed a four-year contract with the Washington Spirit worth a reported $1.1 million, making her the highest-paid player in the National Women’s Soccer League.
“Obviously we all know Trinity is a good player and I thought she was dangerous when she came in, got a couple of good opportunities and was threatening the backline of Czech Republic. And that was exciting to see her there,” Andonovski said.
The United States won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, and is preparing for World Cup qualifying this summer in Monterrey, Mexico. They are the defending World Cup champions.
The SheBelieves Cup, a four-team round-robin tournament, continues Sunday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles. The United States will face New Zealand while the Czech Republic faces Iceland.
Most of the players for the Czech Republic play in their home country, but there were a handful of exceptions in the team’s lineup, including goalkeeper Barbora Votikova, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, Andrea Staskova, a rising star with Juventus and West Ham’s Katerina Svitkova.
One of Votikova’s best saves was on a blast by Catarina Macario in the 29th minute. In the 66th minute, Rose Lavelle forced a near-post save, and a Kristie Mewis header in the middle of the box was stopped 10 minutes later.
Votikova stopped a shot from Rodman, who was ruled offside, in the 68th minute. The Czech goalkeeper finished with eight saves.
The Czech Republic is ranked No. 24 in the world. They’ll face Iceland on April 12 in World Cup qualifying.
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn became the 12th woman with 200 appearances for the U.S. women’s national team when she came in as a sub in the second half.
“It’s just about the journey, and the journey has been wild and it’s been tough, but it has been so rewarding,” Sauerbrunn said afterward. “And I feel very, truly fortunate that I’ve gotten to represent this team and this program 200 times.”
In the earlier game Thursday, Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored in the first 48 seconds and Iceland downed New Zealand 1-0. It was the fastest goal ever in the tournament, which is in its seventh year.
One highlight of the early match was Rebekah Scott’s return for New Zealand after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She came in as a substitute in the 74th minute.
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.
Source Link: Read more