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Alex Morgan scores 50th goal to lift USWNT over England

England v USA: Women's Friendly International
Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images



It took Alex Morgan 21 minutes to even touch the ball, but once she got involved, a rocky start for the Americans in Milton Keynes took a turn for the better.

Morgan’s 26th-minute header Friday lifted the U.S. Women’s National Team over England, 1-0, with the help of a bad offside call against England that canceled an equalizer. The goal was 25-year-old Morgan’s 50th for the national team.

With the USWNT working the ball along the right side, Lauren Holiday sent a cross into the box that Morgan jumped to meet with her head, placing the ball just out of goalkeeper Karen Bardsley’s reach.

England would have equalized in the 56th minute, if not for a mistaken offside call. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris parried away a Fran Kirby shot, which bounced off the post before forward Jodie Taylor rushed into the box to tap it in. The sideline referee called it offside, but replays show Taylor was well onside.

After a stinging 2-0 loss to France just five days earlier that left the USWNT winless in their last four, the Americans were keen to show they could get a result against England. But the Americans struggled to possess early, resorting to fruitless long balls targeting Morgan.

Once the Americans took the lead, they settled and pulled back from the direct play, opting to knock the ball around, which a deep-lying England team allowed freely. England only started to turn up the pressure late, but was running out of steam by then.

The Americans again came out in a 4-4-2, which they used in their loss on Sunday, with Abby Wambach paired with Morgan, pushing Christen Press to the midfield flank. Coach Jill Ellis also replaced fullback Lori Chalupny with Ali Krieger, while the rest of the lineup was nearly the same.

Harris, the replacement for suspended goalkeeper Hope Solo, was seldom called upon as England squandered some of their best chances. Her lone challenging save of the match came in the sequence that should have resulted in England’s equalizer.

For the Americans, their upcoming matches in the lead-up to this summer’s World Cup should be considerably easier. England is ranked No. 6 in the world; France is No. 3. Their next pre-World Cup opponents all sit outside the top 10, with a huge drop-off in quality.

The Americans will resume play in March when they head to the annual Algarve Cup in a group with Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.

See Alex Morgan’s goal below:


  1. One of the dullest games I ever watched. The WNT is is disarray. We should sack the coach now while there is still time. M en’s teams often sack their coaches at the 11th hour and it sometimes pays off, like it did with Mexico

  2. The USWNT has sat on their backsides since Pia left. They knew about Solo’s penchant for getting into trouble, that physically the rest of the world has caught up, that our central defending can be a sieve (always a bad pass away by Sauerbrunn from disaster) and central midfield needed to be revamped with an aging Shannon Boxx. But no, instead of letting Semianni bleed new players last year the aging veterans led by Wambach revolted against him and had him fired. The inmates rule and this is the result. Could you imagine this happening to Klinsmann before the Snow Game vs Costa Rica? Ellis is a joke – playing more players out of position than Klinsmannn and waiting late to react to France’s and England’s substitutions before making any lineup changes. I highly support the USWNT but I think Pia has Sweden licking their chops. Australia and Nigeria will have no fear and we’ll be like deer facing the headlights like they were vs France. I am concerned!

  3. I think Abby Wombaugh, great player that she is, is getting old and her best years are behind her. It happens to all great players, nothing to be ashamed of, age catches up to us all sooner or later. It’s time in my opinion, that Wombaugh come off the bench. Perhaps starting the second half. She will have more energy and be a better option for this time.
    The forward players in my view are Alex Morgan, Press, Rodriguez and the young black player from Canada (whose name escapes me for the moment). That is the core for the future. With Lloyd, Rapinoe and Rompone, the team is stacked. Sorry if I butchered some of the names. There are many personalities and huge egos on this team. I am not sure Ellis can handle them. I can’t see why there are late substitutions, if she wants to know how players will react in big games? Still love this team and wish them well.

    • Yeah… I don’t think there’s much question that time is showing its effects on Abby at this point. Thing is– for a girl with her frame, she actually used to be surprisingly quick/mobile. Much of this has eroded and I’m not sure that any amount of training/fitness will really restore it. But she still has two of her best qualities, which are her physicality and her striker’s instincts. I think one of the biggest questions with her will be her willingness to accept a reduced role, such as you have suggested.

      If she can get herself in the right mentality, and if she is deployed properly, I still see her as being good for a couple of goals this summer, and can still be handful for defenders late-on in games.

      Or to put it a different way– I can’t see us having a truly great run this summer without at least a couple of key contributions from her, even if she is no longer in a position to do the heavy lifting on her own. She is a difference maker… the kind of unique player that almost no other team has. We need to find a way to access that, if only on a limited basis.

  4. Diego’s Maradoughnuts, who should be held responsible for the individuals hired as coaches if they are not meeting expectations? I understand User222’s point that Sunil needs to be held accountable. No one should be indispensable if performance is below par. I’m not sure why the prior Coach was fired but the Team played more attractive football and was getting better results.

    • There is a difference between holding somebody accountable and firing them. There are other ways of managing performance than simply yelling “off with their heads” every time something goes wrong. We don’t give people the gas chamber for traffic violations.

      The hiring and firing of Women’s NT coaches is just one of literally hundreds of obligations of the USSF president. Inevetiably, some of these decisions will not yield ideal results. But there is accountability for this. Gulati has not been appointed “dictator for life”– far from it. Gulati’s performance is evaluated by the USSF, and the office comes up for re-election every four years. If the organization determines that Gulati’s handling of the situation was poor, and that it is part of a pattern of poor decision-making, then it stands to reason he will not be re-elected.

      How you feel about Sermanni vs. Ellis is a matter of opinion. Perhaps time will prove you to be right. Regardless, it is folly to use this (or any) decision in isolation to do something as drastic as firing/removing him. And to suggest such a thing without even proposing a superior replacement is just reckless and absurd.

    • Toronto FC is a good example of why knee-jerk reaction firings are rarely a good idea… and often preceded by a poor hiring. Reactionary personnel decisions are classic hallmarks of poor decision making at the top of an organization. I hope USAA moves as far away from this trap as possible.

  5. Ugh. There is zero creativity, zero purpose in possession, & zero urgency. How much longer must we watch them bypass the midfield to go route 1?

    Based on recent performance, it’s hard to see how Ellis has improved the team over Sermanni. They’ve regressed IMO.

  6. y’all remember, Gulati appointed Ellis as the interim coach after coach Tom Sermani was fired. The USSF president couldnt find ANYONE willing to coach the rowdy USWNT vets.

    Gulati: “we couldnt find anyone, so Ellis, you’re it”
    Ellis: “Okay, sir”

    If the USWNT dont win the WC or fail to make to semifinals then Gulati resign or be sacked.

    • A brilliant idea. Let’s sack one of the best adminstrators in the game, one year before the Copa America that he effectively created and is organizing, over results on the women’s side… nevermind that the women are still the reigning Olympic Gold Medalists.

      I’ll be you have a great suggestion for resplacement in mind… No? Shocking!

      I have some news for you. Administrators of Gulati’s qulaity do not grow on trees– they are incredibly hard to find. Look around the world’s FA’s and confederations and see the cesspool of corrupt charlatans, bribe-mongers, tax-cheats, and various beneficiaries of nepotism. Guys like Blatter, Blazer, Warner…. they are the rule, not the exception. Gulati, by comparison, is none of these things– as a matter of fact, he does not even accept compensation from the USSF.

      Simply calling for somebody to be fired over match results (that may not even happen) is bizarre and incredibly short-sighted.

  7. If anybody doesnt think this team is in serious trouble then they’re delusional. This was not a good England team and yet, even though we kept possession and kept them pinned in their own end, we could hardly manufacture a shot. The true score was 1-1 too as their goal was good. Jill Ellis is clueless and it was a massive mistake to hire her. I think we will clear the group stage and be eliminated shortly after that. We dont seem to have any strategy, players playing out of position. Others playing that should be playing bench and all the team, Jill has that what do I do now? look on her face. The answer, she does nothing. No adjustments, subs too late to make any difference. In fact, the last 20 minutes, England had us pinned in our end. We are heading in the wrong direction

  8. more of the same from the USWNT…. the team needs more attacking help from the flanks…I’m still calling for KO and Dunn…

    Krieger has lost a couple steps, after the 2011 WC she tore knee ligaments and couldnt make the 2012 US Olympic team, she will be exposed by the younger, faster Europeans.

      • I’m desperate for Pinoe to return too but Holiday is highly creative did you see what Holiday and ARod did to the Pinoe and Seattle in the NWSL final. Morgan Brian is allegedly creative, though I haven’t seen enough of her to judge personally. Christren Press, very creative, could be played in the midfield. It’s not the creativity that’s been missing its the finishing, with Morgan recovering from injury, Leroux out, Wambach ancient and ARod unable to get playing time despite an excellent NWSL season the finishing has been patchy. The US could have beat France if they would have finished.

      • Heath also missed, and why no O’Reilly? I’d say she’s the best flank player on the team along with Rapinoe. Ellis trying things but the game start in a few months. we’ll see

        no Leroux, no Heath, no Rapinoe, no O’Reilly…it shows

    • I joined the game after it started. Anyone hear where Leroux was? I remember she got injured sometime back. Is she still out? They could have used her attacking prowess.

    • Disagree on Krieger. She played well today. Klingenberg struggled again today.

      It all comes down to whether you sacrifice a little more offense, or you sacrifice even more in defense. Krieger is the best defender on the wings, at least 1 v 1 (which you’re going to get a lot of in this set up). She isn’t going to regularly take on people 1 v 1 on the offensive end, though, but she is a solid crosser, and runs her butt off. Dunn and O’Hara will give you more offense, and foot speed, but you’ll sacrifice A LOT on the defensive side. Both of them are playing out of position in the USWNT set up. O’Hara is a natural forward, and Dunn really doesn’t have a position.


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