US coach Vlatko Andonovski: Why the series against the Ferns is so important

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The United States women’s team will hold a six-day training camp before January’s first international friendly against the Football Ferns in Wellington.

Head coach Vlatko Andonovski wants nine “tune-up” games for his side ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and he says the two matches against New Zealand are important because they will enable his squad to get used to playing conditions in the cities where they’ll have their group games.

“Everything about this trip is a positive for our team ahead of the World Cup,” Andonovski has told US media.

“We will get some quality training time together and have two tough matches against a great opponent that is hosting the World Cup.

“We also get to experience the long travel and familiarize ourselves with the host cities, the stadiums, the training grounds and the culture, and hopefully we’ll play in front of some big crowds supporting the home team.

“It will be a great way to start the year.”

Main photo: US head coach Vlatko Andonovski. Credit: Jamie Smed.

Eden Park, Auckland.
Sky Stadium, Wellington.

The games in Wellington and Auckland kick off at 4pm NZT and will be broadcast to the States by their new broadcast partner, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.

Ticket sales

Tickets for both games will go on sale to Football Whānau members on November 16. Adult tickets are $20, kids $5.

Fixtures

Game to be played on Wednesday January 18, 2023

New Zealand v United States
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 4pm (NZT)

Game to be played on Saturday January 21, 2023

New Zealand v United States
Eden Park, Auckland, 4pm (NZT)

About the two-match series

The US have won a record four FIFA Women’s World Cups (1991, 1999, 2015, 2019), and are chasing an unprecedented third straight win in 2023.

They will be based in Aotearoa New Zealand for the group stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, where they will play Vietnam and Play Off Tournament Winner A at Eden Park, and face the Netherlands at Sky Stadium in a rematch of the 2019 final.

The United States have played New Zealand 19 times but these will be the first to take place in New Zealand. Of the past meetings, 13 have been played in the US, with single matches in Chinese Taipei, Australia, China PR (2008 Olympics), England (2012 Olympics), Brazil (2016 Olympics) and Japan (2020 Olympics).

New Zealand have beaten the US once, in their first meeting in 1987, a 1-0 victory during a match played in Chinese Taipai. The teams drew 1-1 in Columbus, Ohio, in 2013. The US have won the other 17 fixtures.

The USA is 17-1-1 all-time vs. the Ferns, with the lone loss coming in the teams’ very first meeting back in 1987, a 1-0 NZL victory in Chinese Taipei. The draw was a 1-1 tie in Columbus, Ohio in 2013.

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