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USWNT to take on China at Rio Tinto Stadium

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SANDY — The U.S. women’s national soccer team will take on China in a pair of friendlies starting Thursday night at Rio Tinto Stadium and ending June 12 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. Thursday's match in Sandy is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. MT.

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis named 24 players to the training camp roster that started practice in Sandy on June 1. Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn, striker Amy Rodriguez and goalkeeper Abby Smith were all named to the roster. According to a press release from U.S. Soccer, the pair of friendlies will be the final matches before Ellis chooses the 23-player roster for the 2018 Tournament of Nations from July 26 to Aug. 3. URFC will miss Sauerbrunn, Rodriguez and Smith during their absence and will have to find a way to fill the void.

An exciting moment for fans will be watching Sauerbrunn, captain of Utah Royals FC, play on her home turf. Sauerbrunn was named co-captain of USWNT with teammate Carli Lloyd in 2015. A two-time Olympian, she helped the U.S. win gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. According to the press release, she is one of 29 players to play over 125 times for Team USA.

"I'm really excited. I think there is something to be said about familiarity with the practice field and stadium," Sauerbrunn said in an interview with U.S. Soccer/Wazee Digital. "It’s a great soccer-supporting city so I hope everyone comes out and watches the game."

The last time USWNT played China, in 2015 in New Orleans, the squad came up short with a 1-0 loss. The 2015 match was the final game for star striker Abby Wambach, who played for the U.S. from 2003 to 2015. “That loss at the Superdome, which was the final Victory Tour game during a memorable 2015 for the U.S. Women, ended a 104-match home unbeaten streak dating back to 2004,” according to U.S. Soccer.

The U.S. and China also met in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals where the U.S. emerged with a 1-0 victory. USWNT currently holds a 34-9-13 record against China. China has the second most wins against the U.S., trailing Norway with 19.

"They’re a quality side. I think they have really started to pick up the momentum over the last couple of years," Sauerbrunn said of China. "It’ll be fun to play them and I imagine they'll be a strong potent attack and organized defensively. I think they’ll be technical so it’ll be a really good challenge for us."

Tiickets are available at ussoccer.com, by calling 844-REAL-TIX, and at the Rio Tinto ticket office.

Correction: An earlier version listed Abby Smith's first name as Amy.