The U.S. Women’s National Team opened up the 2018 SheBelieves Cup on a high note, recording a 1-0 victory over Germany on Thursday at MAPFRE Stadium.
Megan Rapinoe was the game’s only scorer, tallying after seventeen minutes. A long ball ended up at the feet of Rapinoe after she dashed for it, and she quickly shot from an angle. The ball hit German goalkeeper Almuth Schult before it went into the back of the net.
While the U.S. took the lead early on, the match was a bit more even from the beginning. While the USWNT attack, led as it frequently is by Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh flanking Alex Morgan, was active, so was Germany’s. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had to be active in the opening minutes of the match, and made the appropriate saves to keep the score level.
The match was not played in ideal conditions, with strong wind gusts playing first to the Americans’ advantage, and then benefitting Germany in the second half. Regardless, the U.S. team looked cohesive in the press, even when the wind was working against them. They managed to stay in control for a majority of the match.
The match also allowed Jill Ellis to show off her depth, as she made a slight adjustment to her usual 4-3-3 that still got the job done. Starting at the top of the midfield was co-captain Carli Lloyd, who made her first start since last summer. Additionally, Tierna Davidson, as expected, got her second cap, once again filling in for the injured Becky Sauerbrunn.
The victory gives the U.S. three points to start the SheBelieves Cup, though they sit behind England on goal difference after they beat France 4-1 earlier in the day.