Sweden's Caroline Seger said she'd received a text from U.S. defender Meghan Klingenberg before the World Cup match between the two teams, but wouldn't reveal its content.
No, it wasn't trash talk.
"I just asked if she would like to trade jerseys after the game," Klingenberg explained Thursday. "And she said yes. Still friends!"
That prompted an "Awwww," from coach Jill Ellis.
The second-ranked U.S. women face No. 5 Sweden on Friday night in the second group-stage match for both teams. The Americans opened the World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Australia, while Sweden settled for a 3-all tie with Nigeria after taking a 2-0 lead.
The most talked-about connection between the two teams is Sweden coach Pia Sundhage, who used to coach the U.S. women. But there are other friendships that cut across both teams.
Klingenberg played professionally for two seasons with the Swedish side Tyreso Fotbollsforening before returning to the United States last year to play for the Houston Dash of the NWSL.
Likewise, forward Christen Press played for Tyreso FF after a season with Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, in 2012.
"It's a really special place to me. I really love Sweden: I love the league, I love my team and I love the players that I played with," Klingenberg said. "So we know them really well. They are incredible friends, they are incredible people. I think it adds a little bit extra edge to the game. It kind of gives a sense of bragging rights. So we're really excited about it, we know they're going to be a good opponent and we know it's going to be fun."
Press had gone to Sweden to ply her craft in hopes of earning a spot on the U.S. team. But any fond feelings she has for the country and its players will be temporarily pushed aside on match day.
"I owe a lot to the country for being here this moment. I think it really helped my career, and helped me grow as a human being as well. But this is the World Cup, and I think that trumps everything. It's an important game in our bracket and that's where all of my focus is," Press said.
Most of the crowd at the match will be behind the United States: A decidedly patriotic horde has crossed the border to see the team to Winnipeg.
"We absolutely love it. It's been incredible, but if they could just keep it down a little bit when I'm trying to tell Pinoe (Megan Rapoine) instructions, that would be great," Klingenberg joked, pouring on the sarcasm. "They can bring it back up afterward."
Restaurants and bars having viewing parties for tonight's match
|Bread & Barley||626-339-3310||130 N. Citrus Ave.||Covina||LA|
|Dave & Buster’s (Westfield Santa Anita)||626-802-6115||400 S. Baldwin Ave.||Arcadia||LA|
|The Man Cave||323-851-2283||3575 Cahuenga Blvd.||Universal City||LA|
|Q's Billiard Club||310-477-7550||11835 Wilshire Blvd.||Los Angeles||LA|
|Shannon's On Pine||562-436-4363||209 Pine Ave.||Long Beach||LA|
|Underground Pub & Grill||310-318-3818||1332 Hermosa Ave.||Hermosa Beach||LA|
|The Auld Dubliner||714-259-1562||2497 Park Ave.||Tustin||ORANGE|
|Dave & Buster’s (Ontario Mills)||909-987-1557||4821 Mills Circle||Ontario||INLAND EMPIRE|
Source: American Outlaws
The game starts at 5 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and NBC Universo.