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USWNT uses late goal to down Canada in SheBelieves Cup opener

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The U.S. Women’s National Team did not have the performance it was looking for in its SheBelieves Cup opener against Canada on Thursday, but did enough in the end to enjoy a winning start to the tournament.

Rose Lavelle’s 79th minute goal was enough to see the USWNT earn a 1-0 victory over Canada after a frustrating night at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.

Lavelle came on as a sub in the 64th minute and scored the goal by sniping a shot past a line of Canadian defenders screening goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe and inside the near post.

The USWNT looked quite dominant at times during the game, but it just couldn’t get the final pass right and couldn’t bury its shots when it did. It had more shots and often had the better of the chances.

The USWNT defending did show a few weak points which resulted in Canada picking up a couple dangerous opportunities on the counter. Janine Beckie had a pair of wide open shots from close range that she put right into Alyssa Naeher in the USWNT goal.

Head coach Vlatko Andonovski went with a generous mix of youth and experience with his starting XI. Veterans Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd got the start alongside Catarina Macario and Lynn Williams up front. Midge Purce and Crystal Dunn started as wide defenders with more experienced Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn in the middle. Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan got the start in the center of midfield with Alyssa Naeher in goal.

A 64th minute triple substitution livened up the squad with Lavelle, Christen Press, and Alex Morgan replacing the inexperienced Macario and the somewhat sluggish looking Rapinoe and Lloyd.

Lavelle’s finish put the Americans in front for good as it defended the rest of the way for its first win of 2021.

The USWNT is in second place after the first round of games in the SheBelieves Cup. It next takes on Brazil on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET., who are coming off a 4-1 win over Argentina earlier on Thursday.

Comments

  1. best game for Williams I have ever seen, many years watching. Her speed and ability to go by has never been a question, but her calm and decsiin making in the box, and final balls, always an issue. Hope it continues becasue Vlatko favors her…so many opportunities but the final product still mysterious at times. Macario in that role with Morgan Press Heath and others might produce better, but Cat up top or in space out wide is something I hope we get to see more

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  2. I can never remember a match with so much offense by both teams and so little scoring. I think that it was a combination of many blocked shots, shots being directed right to the GKs, as well as some BAD misses. But what I think that you should take away from this is that despite the fact that the U. S. was the better team, that on a given day, Canada could beat the U.S. You need to remember that in the 2015 WC, Canada lost to England only because England had the best 2 strikes of the tournament from outside the box to post a 2-1 win, and in 2019 Canada lost to Sweden, I believe, when the wrong player was sent up to take a PK and missed. As far as head to head in Matches which REALLY counted for something, I seem to recall Canada against the U. S. in a past Olympics when Canada was leading 3-2 and in the process of running out the clock, when their GK was called for holding on to the ball too long. This gave the US an indirect free kick in the box, which they worked into a tying goal, and went on to win 4-3. Those WC Qualifying Finals where both reams had already qualified, meant nothing and no one will remember them.

    I see the Olympics coming down to 3 teams; The U. S., England and Canada. My hope is that in the draw, Canada will meet England in the knockout round before the U. S., so that the U.S. will not have to beat both in single elimination.

    The SBC should be decided on Sunday with the US beating Brazil. The only chance Brazil would have would be to score first and then bunker up and play shut-down defense.

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  3. I only saw the second half, but they should have had at least 2 more goals just in that half. At times they were really good and tougher than the Canadians as well. But their shooting was pretty poor. At one point Carli Lloyd had a wide open header from about 8 or 10 yards out and almost the whole goal to shoot at and it went wide. Alex Wagner had 2 excellent chances and didn’t get either one on frame.The only real Canadian threat came from a really poor back pass, I think from Crystal Dunn. It allowed a Canadian player to go in one on one with the keeper who got good position and then got help from another defender who came back in time.

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    • Gary, I think you meant Alex Morgan and not Alex Wagner.

      Canada played really well by being physical in the midfield and clogging up shooting lanes. Seemed like one of those games if the US scored early they could have put four on the board.

      I was disappointed with Lloyd’s finishing. She popped up in dangerous spots with service. But no finishing? I am not sure she works as a forward anymore?

      Williams showed really well and think she can change a game with her quickness and straight line speed. In the first half she aggressive looking to shoot.

      The ladies missed Heath’s playmaking ability and making the field long and wide to defend, especially with Rapinoe on the other side.

      The lineup for Brazil will be interesting!

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    • Gary, I think that an un-credited defensive maneuver by Alyssa N. on that bad back-pass saved the day for the U. S. As the Canadian Player was coming in all alone for what appeared to be a sure goal, Alyssa first came out towards the player, and then backed up towards the goal. This appeared to have screwed up the Canadian Player so much that she finally decided to pass off to a teammate who had been open, only to find a US defender who had come up and proceeded to kick the ball away, without a shot on goal having been made.

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