The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a measure of revenge on Thursday afternoon, as they managed to topple Sweden for the first time in four tries, and in the first meeting between the two since the American’s shocking Olympics exit.
It was relative newcomer Rose Lavelle who proved the difference maker, as the midfielder scored her second goal in her fifth cap to break the deadlock in the 56th minute after a scoreless first half. The play began with Crystal Dunn, who found Lavelle darting towards the right corner of the penalty area. From there, the midfielder had no issues finishing cleanly for the match winner. The goal capped off what was another stellar match for Lavelle, who has excelled since making her debut for the USWNT in March.
The goal marked a second half that was more impressive than the first for the visitors, as their oft-difficult Sweden opponents dominated play. The Swedes tested the opposition defense frequently, and interrupted U.S. play often. By the match’s end, possession was split evenly between the two teams, though Sweden edged the U.S. in shots, 14 to seven, and corners, ten to two.
Despite the USWNT’s improvement, Sweden still managed to create scoring opportunities. They came incredibly close in the dying moments of the match, as Allie Long missed a clearance and Lotta Schelin took a shot near goal. The shot barely threatened goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who easily stopped it to preserve the USWNT victory. The goalkeeper recorded yet another clean sheet as she makes her case to be the USWNT’s new first choice in goal.
The win is the USWNT’s first over former coach Pia Sundhage, who began coaching her home nation in 2012 following a four year spell in charge of the U.S., with whom she won two Olympic gold medals.