Lynn Williams and Becky Sauerbrunn are seen after game two of the International Friendly series between Australia and the United States on Nov. 30, 2021 in Newcastle, Australia.
The U.S. women’s soccer team closed out 2021 with a 1-1 draw Tuesday in Australia, showcasing a young lineup as the team turns the page from an Olympic year to next year’s Concacaf W Championship and 2023 World Cup qualification.
Ashley Hatch scored for the second game in a row, the first two international goals of her career, also scoring the U.S. opener just 24 seconds into Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Australia. Hatch again scored early Tuesday, running onto a back pass into the box from Midge Purce in the fourth minute. The U.S. defense held firm until the 88th minute when Australia found the tying goal.
U.S. manager Vlatko Andonovski gave debut caps to five players in the pair of Aussie friendlies, leading to an average age in both lineups of well under 30. Six players in Tuesday’s lineup, including Purce and Hatch, had less than 10 career caps. Missing were longtime veterans such as Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd, who played her last match in a U.S. shirt on Oct. 26. But the U.S. still featured a veteran presence in captain Lindsey Horan and defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who will earn her 200th cap in her next U.S. match.
Team USA finished 2021 with a record of 17-2-5, highlighted by its bronze medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The U.S. saw the end of its 44-match unbeaten streak in a 3-0 loss to Sweden to open Olympic play, but rallied back to advance to within one win of the gold-medal game. After losing a heartbreaking semifinal to Canada 1-0, the U.S. went unbeaten over the rest of 2021 to finish in strong fashion. The U.S. is expected to take the field for its next competitive action at the 2022 SheBelieves Cup, typically held in late February or early March.