By Hannah Blackwell
Wales manager Gemma Grainger has described the confirmation of a prized fixture against the USA as “a compliment” to her rapidly improving team.
The FAW announced the fixture on the evening Grainger’s team earned another impressive result – a 1-1 draw in a friendly in Portugal.
The American date against the four-time World Cup winners will take place in San Jose on Sunday, 9 July at 21:00 BST and will be the first meeting between the nations.
It will be the USA’s final match before the 2023 Women’s World Cup – a tournament Wales narrowly missed out on – but act as final preparation for the visitors’ Nations League campaign.
Grainger said “To play the current world champions in their final match before the World Cup is a fantastic opportunity.
“To be asked to play them is a real compliment to our players, we’ll be playing top ranked teams in the Nations League in September so it’s great we can prepare for that against one of the best teams in the world.
“Them [USA] asking us to play this game is a real credit to our players and the strength that we have,” added Grainger.
“It is an experience we will all remember. We will be playing in the Nations League against the best teams in Europe, and the USA are one of the best teams in the world.
“So, while it is exciting we are going there to learn as much as we can and take that into the Nations League.”
The fixture will be a special one for Wales striker Jess Fishlock, who has cemented her continuing status as one of the world’s best players during her time in the National Women’s Soccer League with OL Reign in Seattle.
A brilliant volley from Rachel Rowe earned Wales their draw in Guimaraes against the World Cup-bound Portuguese.
Telma Encarnacao’s goal had given Portugal the lead , as she struck low into the far corner on 50 minutes.
But Wales levelled when Reading’s Rowe struck a superb volley from half-cleared corner with 17 minutes remaining.
Wales captain Sophie Ingle was shown a second yellow card in injury time for a late tackle on Fatima Pinto, but Grainger’s side held on for the draw.
Grainger said: “It is a really positive result, and for me it is the performance.
“This team don’t know when they are beaten, when we go a goal down I am pretty confident we are going to score and that is a real unique attribute of any team.
“Portugal gave us exactly what we wanted in terms of preparing for the Nations League.”