On Sunday the United States Women’s National Team defeated Brazil 2-0 on match-day two of the 2021 SheBelieves Cup. With the win USWNT move to 2-0-0 on the tournament and have not allowed a goal in five consecutive matches. In addition, the U.S. now sits atop the 2021 SheBelieves Cup leaderboard and is in the driver’s seat to be the first nation to win the tournament in back-to-back years.
This was a wide-open match right from the jump with both teams trading excellent looks throughout. Lindsey Horan set up Christen Press in the 11th minute with the forward sending in a confident shot to the near post. Press has now scored in 10 of her last 13 international matches.
“Every-time you score when you represent your country, it’s a huge honor,” said Press who is one goal short of 60 career international goals for the U.S.. “A lot of work, a lot of shots go into a single goal. I feel very proud to represent this team and I will continue to do everything in my power to do that well.”
Brazil was knocking on the door of the U.S. goal for the entirety of this match which makes Megan Rapinoe‘s 88th-minute goal critical. Rapinoe who came on as a substitute was set up by a Horan cross to the center of the box.
“The players that are coming off the bench are not substitutes,” said USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Anonovski on Rapinoe coming off the bench. “They are game changers. They are expected to lift the pace up, lift the tempo of the team up, and lift the whole team up mentally.”
Plenty Of chances, Finishing Touch Still A WoRk In PRogress
The U.S. managed to get 17 shots off in this match, five on target. As for Brazil they and ten shots and just two on target. This makes two consecutive matches where the U.S. created plenty of chances but struggled to finish with consisntency.
“I am very happy that we are creating chances,” said USWNT Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski on the team creating chances. “The fact that we are doing it in a manner that is very creative with some good plays makes me happy and tells me we are moving in the right direction. Now, the fact that we are not finishing is not disappointing but it is something that we definitely have to address.”
Andonovski after the match also noted that many of the domestic-based players are still in their season physically. The lack of a finishing touch in the preseason or the early stage of a season is a normal occurrence in soccer and comes with time.
This match featured wide-open channels for the USWNT to attack but in-turn allowed for Brazil to counter with ease as well. Brazil was unable to score in part due to strong goalkeeping from Alyssa Naeher and excellent defensive play from Crystal Dunn and Julie Ertz who both defused dangerous situations.
“I am really happy and proud that I was able to be there for the team in that moment,” said USWNT defender Crystal Dunn on her block. “But everyone is capable of showing up big and I think that is why we are able to compete at the highest level.”
Alex Morgan Back In Starting XI For First Time Since 2019 FIFA World Cup
This match featured four changes to the starting XI from the match with Canada on Thursday night. Alex Morgan was one of the new additions to the Starting XI and it was her first start for the USA since the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final against the Netherlands on July 7, 2019. The 31-year-old played 71 minutes and looked spry in moments where she had room to work. Morgan also was fouled quite a bit which is a good sign that she is back with teams historically fouling her on a consistent basis in matches.
One player who had a big impact on the U.S. attack was midfielder Lindsey Horan. Horan picked up two assists on the match and thus far has looked excellent thru two matches in this tournament. When asked about Horan in his post-game press conference Andonovski noted that he had a one-on-one session with Horan. The goal was for Horan to “get ahold of the game” and that is exactly what she was able to do against Brazil.
USWNT FAce Argentina In 2021 SheBelieves Cup Finale
USWNT will be back in action on Wednesday when they finish off the 2021 SheBelieves Cup with a match against Argentina. That match will kick-off at 7:00 p.m. and be broadcasted on both FS1 and TUDN in the United States. The other SheBelieves Cup match on that day will be Brazil v Canada at 4:00 p.m. which will also be on FS1.
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