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U.S. Women National Team meets Serena Williams after 3-0 victory over China

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Trinity Rodman found herself in a bit of a predicament. But it’s a good thing she can think quickly on her feet.

After scoring a goal and assisting two others in the U.S. women’s national team’s 3-0 win over China on Saturday, Rodman gave away her jersey to a fan inside Inter Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium.

Here’s the problem: Retired tennis star Serena Williams wanted to meet Rodman. And she wanted her jersey, too.

“I walked over there, and she was like, ‘Can I have your jersey?’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, no!” Rodman said with a gasp. “So, I dug in the dirty bag from beginning of the half to find mine, and I got it to her.”

Williams met with several USWNT players after their victory, collecting jerseys alongside her husband and kids.

Even USWNT interim coach Twila Kilgore made sure she didn’t leave the pitch without meeting Williams.

“I sure did,” Kilgore said, of meeting Williams. “I made sure I got in there.”

“She was very sweet, very humble, which was refreshing and amazing,” Rodman added. “And obviously, we all look up to her, one of the greatest female athletes in the world. To meet her in person and see how she was, was incredible.”

Sophia Smith scored eight minutes into the match, U.S. captain Lindsey Horan scored in the 58th minute, and Rodman added her own goal in the 77th minute as Team USA ended their week-long camp in Fort Lauderdale this week.

They will play China PR again at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET to round out this series of friendlies to end the calendar year.

The U.S. women began the week meeting new coach Emma Hayes, the six-time Super League champion with Chelsea. Hayes will take the reins in May when Chelsea’s season is over, while Kilgore is in charge until then.

The U.S. dominated possession against China, maintaining control for at least 60 percent of the match. Early on, it felt like much more. While they capitalized with three goals, the USWNT could’ve blown out their opponents in the first half alone.

USWNT's Lindsey Horan (10), defended by China's Wang Yanwen (7), was one of the USA's scorers in Saturday's 3-0 win.
USWNT's Lindsey Horan (10), defended by China's Wang Yanwen (7), was one of the USA's scorers in Saturday's 3-0 win.

“My eyes are immediately on the next game, but I think one thing today is just we’re happy that we’re playing in such a way that’s given us these repeated moments that we’ve identified as a team that are predictable for us and not for the opponent,” Kilgore said.

“But we have to be more clinical in our finishing. I was disappointed that we didn’t have more goals going into the half. I felt like that was a standard we didn’t achieve.”

After Smith’s first goal, she missed two other attempts in the first 20 minutes, and two others before halftime. Rose Lavelle missed two attempts in the first 15 minutes. Savannah DeMelo missed a shot in both halves. Mia Fishel missed two attempts after coming on in the second half. And Rodman missed a header, too.

Still, it was an ideal start to the new phase of U.S. women’s soccer, where Hayes and Kilgore are tasked with leading the squad back to its gold medal glory.

Team USA has won four of five matches (with one draw) in friendlies since their early World Cup exit against Sweden in early August.

“It’s building out through the last few camps that we’ve had, and just pulling all the pieces together, getting on the same page and playing good football, and capitalizing on chances,” Horan said.

When does USWNT play next?

USWNT will play China PR again at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday night at 8 ET.

The game will be broadcast by TNT, Telemundo, Universo, Max, Peacock and Fútbol de Primera Radio.

Highlights from USWNT's 3-0 win over China on Saturday

Sophia Smith scored eight minutes into the match with an assist from Trinity Rodman.

Lindsey Horan scored in the 58th minute with an assist from Rodman.

And Rodman added to the score with a goal of her own in the 77th minute.

Trinity Rodman goal: USWNT 3, China PR 0

Trinity Rodman can Milly Rock with the best of them.

Rodman took Jaedyn Shaw’s pass in the middle of the goal box, and finished it easily into the back of the net to give Team USA a 3-0 lead against China in the 77th minute.

Midge Purce’s pass to Shaw started the sequence, which ended with Rodman and Mia Fischel doing the Milly Rock dance to celebrate.

It’s Rodman’s seventh international goal this year.

Lindsey Horan goal: USWNT 2, China PR 0

Lindsey Horan tried to pass the ball into Jaedyn Shaw.

Instead, Horan found herself celebrating a goal in the 52nd minute.

Horan, the U.S. captain, scored her fifth goal of the year for the Americans. And the U.S. women have taken a 2-0 lead here against China PR.

Trinity Rodman, who assisted on the first goal, also assisted on Horan's score.

Halftime: USWNT 1, China PR 0

The U.S. Women’s National team scored eight minutes into the match, but have been unable to convert on any of their other opportunities in a one-sided first half.

The U.S. dominated possession, but have not celebrated since Sophia Smith’s goal early on.

Smith had several other shots on goal, including one that hit off the left side of the goalpost and two others.

The U.S. women had a prime opportunity when Casey Kruger’s outlet pass found Smith in stride, but Smith’s kick went wide of the net.

China has zero shot on goals, because they have zero shot attempts. They’ve controlled only 33 percent of possession in the first half, and are luckily down just 1-0 at halftime.

The Americans have 10 shot attempts and five on goal in this one, and controlled possession 67 percent of the first half.

Sophia Smith goal: USWNT 1, China 0

It only took eight minutes, and the U.S. Women’s National team is on the board.

Sophia Smith trekked down the middle and received an assist by Trinity Rodman to help the U.S. women take a 1-0 lead in the 8th minute of the match against China PR.

Smith playfully danced and celebrated with teammates after the score, her 15th in international play.

Rose Lavelle missed a shot that soared over the net one minute later.

And Smith had two more shots minutes later: a kick that hit off the goalpost, and another defended by China’s goalie in the 12th minute.

How to watch: U.S. Women's National Team vs. China PR on Saturday

The USWNT's match against China PR on Saturday will be broadcast by TNT, Telemundo, Universo, Max, Peacock and Fútbol de Primera Radio.

Pregame reading

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – There’s a new energy surrounding the U.S. Women’s National Team.

And they’ll have a chance to display it during Saturday’s match against China PR at DRV PNK Stadium – home to Lionel Messi and MLS squad Inter Miami.

The match is set for 3 p.m. and will be broadcast by a variety of networks: TNT, Telemundo, Universo, Max, Peacock and Fútbol de Primera Radio.

USA TODAY Sports will be on-hand to deliver live updates here.

The U.S. women have already begun their rebuilding after their early exit in the 2023 World Cup earlier this year.

New coach Emma Hayes, the longtime Chelsea coach who was FIFA’s coach of the year in 2021 and a six-time Super League champion, won’t begin her new role until next May when Chelsea’s season is complete.

But she spent four days with the squad this week in Fort Lauderdale to begin setting the foundation of a new direction back to glory with interim coach Twila Kilgore leading the day-to-day operations until then.

“The team and myself, we’re so very happy and honored to have Emma as our coach,” said captain Lindsey Horan, who plays for Lyon in France and scored in the last two World Cups for USWNT.

“There’s so many great things that she’s done in the course of her career and with Chelsea as well … We don’t get her full time until May, but I think Twila is great with the team as well.”

Here's the USWNT starting lineup and full roster for China PR match

Here's the starting lineup for Saturday's match:

And here's the USWNT's roster:

USWNT will play China twice this week

Saturday’s match will be the first of two exhibitions against China PR. Both teams will meet again on Tuesday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas for an 8 p.m. ET match.

The goal against China is simple: USWNT wants to incorporate some of tactics they’ve been working on against an opponent, while seeing which players work well together in a live setting.

“Well, I want to win. We all want to win. And we want to see some different combinations of players, and players integrating into environment,” Kilgore said this week.

“I want to see a continued progression of some of the things that we've been working in within our group in terms of our possession, and also the freedom to try some new ideas.”

Interim head coach Twila Kilgore of the United States speaks to the media prior to a training session at DRV PNK Stadium on December 01, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Interim head coach Twila Kilgore of the United States speaks to the media prior to a training session at DRV PNK Stadium on December 01, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

How has USWNT performed since the World Cup?

The U.S. Women have played in four matches since their World Cup exit in early August.

∎ Mia Fishel, Horan and Jaedyn Shaw scored in a 3-0 win over Colombia in San Diego on Oct. 29.

∎ The U.S. Women played Colombia to a scoreless draw on Oct. 26 in Sandy, Utah.

∎ Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett scored in Megan Rapinoe’s last international match in a 2-0 win over South Africa in Chicago on Sept. 24.

∎ Lynn Williams scored twice, while Rodman added another goal in a 3-0 win over South Africa in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sept. 21.

How did the U.S. Women’s team perform at the World Cup?

The U.S. Women suffered their earliest exit at a major tournament when they were bounced by Sweden 5-4 in penalty kicks on Aug. 6.

But the downturn came much earlier for them, write USA TODAY columnist Nancy Armour.

More USWNT coverage from USA TODAY:

Who is Emma Hayes? New USWNT coach will be world's highest-paid women's soccer coach

USWNT roster lets go of past, showcases hard decisions necessary of new coach Emma Hayes

This winning coach is worth the wait for USWNT, even if it puts Paris Olympics at risk

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: USWNT vs. China Saturday: U.S. dominates in 3-0 win, highlights