USWNT to play Olympics sendoff match against Costa Rica

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The United States women's national team will play Costa Rica at Audi Field, in Washington, D.C., on July 16 in the Americans' final game before the 2024 Olympics, it was announced on Tuesday.

The match will take place three days after the USWNT's game against Mexico at Red Bull Arena, in Harrison, New Jersey, and nine days before the USWNT's Olympic opener against Zambia in Nice, France.

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Both matches will feature the USWNT's Olympic roster, U.S. Soccer confirmed. Teams are only allowed 18 players for Olympic rosters -- five fewer than World Cup rosters -- which leaves tough decisions ahead for a USWNT in transition.

Emma Hayes is expected to have four games as head coach of the USWNT before the Olympics kick off. She will officially take over the team in late May and be on the sidelines for a pair of June friendlies against South Korea before the sendoff matches against Mexico and Costa Rica in July.

Hayes was hired by U.S. Soccer in November, but the parties agreed to let the coach finish her season with Chelsea. Twila Kilgore, who will soon move to the role of Hayes' assistant, served as interim coach since late August.

On Saturday, Chelsea defeated Barcelona 1-0 in Spain in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals. It was the first loss at home in any competition in five years for Barcelona, the defending European champion. The UEFA Champions League final will be played on May 25 in Bilbao, Spain. The next USWNT training camp begins on May 27.

Under Kilgore, the USWNT won the Concacaf W Gold Cup in March and the SheBelieves Cup in April, defeating or advancing past five Olympic opponents in knockout games of those tournaments.

"Now we're just at a point where we are tried, true, battle-tested," Kilgore said after winning the SheBelieves Cup. "This is five games back-to-back against teams that have qualified for the Olympics. There's only one more game that puts you into a final, for context."

The USWNT's July 16 sendoff game comes against an opponent the team has never failed to defeat in 17 previous matches.

Costa Rica and the USWNT last played in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Concacaf W Championship, which the Americans won 3-0 en route to winning the tournament and qualifying for both the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics.

Audi Field is home to the National Women's Soccer League's Washington Spirit and MLS' D.C. United. The venue has only once previously hosted the USWNT, in September 2022, for a 2-1 victory over Nigeria.