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Sam Mewis heads home a late winner to lift USWNT over Portugal

The opening match of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s pre-Olympic run was expected to be a cakewalk, but it instead turned into a tougher-than-expected test for Vlatko Andonovski’s squad.

The USWNT extended its unbeaten run to an even 40 on Thursday night with a 1-0 friendly win over Portugal at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

Sam Mewis broke a goal-less deadlock in the 76th minute in a surprisingly nervy match for the Americans. Executing on a corner, Christen Press sent the ball in and Mewis drilled in a header at point-blank.

The win marks the 10th all-time against the Portuguese, who deserve plenty of credit for fending off 21 shots from the Americans before the concession.

Portugal goalkeeper InΓͺs Pereira stole the show for the visitors, stuffing a handful of promising USWNT opportunities from open play throughout the evening.

With the Olympic roster selections looming, not a lot was learned from the overall pedestrian performance with veteran players, all the way up to Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, having forgettable evenings.

The Americans looked destined to make it a lopsided victory with a fast start, but their first-half dominance didn’t produce goals and head coach Vlatko Andonovski left it up to his starting lineup to figure it out in the second half.

He ultimately held off on making substitutions for 73 minutes before sending on Carli Lloyd, Sophia Smith, and Emily Sonnet.

One area of strength throughout the night was the defense, which put the clamps on Portugal’s attack for the duration of the match and only allowed four Portugal shots. Crystal Dunn was lively on the left side and found her way forward to threaten some offensive production a handful of times.

None of the three substitutions factored into the game-winning goal, but Lloyd had a goal disallowed after being called offsides, and it could have been a major rise in her stock had it stood.

The team should have been better, but it is worth mentioning that it is not at full strength with Tobin Heath and Julie Ertz nearing their returns from respective knee injuries.

Next up for the USWNT is Jamaica on Sunday at Q2 Stadium in Austin.

Comments

  1. I don’t think that the result here was as bad as a lot of people think. All of the European Countries with a strong men’s program now have a strong women’s program. Any of you who saw the last W/C can attest to that. Spain is much like neighboring Portugal and you may remember that Spain gave the U. S. all it could handle at the W/C with the U. S. coming out ahead 2-1 in the first round thanks to Megan Rapinoe’s 2 P-Ks To put into perspective just how far Portugal has come in the last few years, in the now happening qualifying for the Euro Cup, Portugal has allowed only 2(TWO) Goals in 7 matches. So with the USWNT just getting back together, it didn’t figure that this match was going to be any sort of a “goalfest” I am satisfied with a 1-0 score line and NO Injuries

    BTW, on the one goal, the defender on Mewis moved forward to play the ball and misjudged it. The GK was suppose to have her back and step up in her place. However, their timing was off and Mewis was left wide open.

    Reply
    • understood about the european programs. that does not explain the simple tactics to attack Portugal’s back 11 though, nor the poor service in the final 3rd. Yes, Portugal is well organized, and no, the US did not attack a well organized defense with much craft. they can but did not

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    • Your explanation of the corner is wrong. Pause the highlights at 1 sec. There is a defender covering the post, a defender marking the first US player. There is no one on Mewis a yard from goal. There is another unmarked American on the back post as well but I assume they figure the keeper would get that ball but they would have no answer to a flick on there either. I realize they are zonal marking but someone has to realize that there’s a person unmarked in one of the easiest spots to hit with the cross. Mewis is 6 ft tall she’s kind of hard to miss that she is wide open. It looks like it should have been #11’s job but she seems pretty unconcerned.
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      Portugal is not as far along as teams like Spain or Netherlands. They’ve never made the WC, only made the Euros once (14th out of 16 in 2019, failed to qualify for 2022), and almost always finish last or next to last in the Algarve Cup that they host each year. Almost of their players play domestically and the league is not as good as others in Europe, rated 22. They are really the worst of the European teams that have strong men’s teams. That being said they are ranked 10 spots higher than Nigeria and 22 spots above Jamaica our next two opponents.

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  2. aside from players, the ideas tactically to attack the Portugal’s parked bus, with all 11 Portuguese defending in their own third, seemed impatient at best. just didn’t see us move the defense enough, switching the point crisply to make everything move and giving attackers opportunities…then if nothing there, do it again, there was no pressure. But the attack seemed stuck on one side too much, heading right into the teeth of the d instead of probing around it more. Horan did well as the 6 but the attack missed her late barreling runs for headers into the box. And the service was poor when it was on which was often enough, including corners until Rapinoe was subbed off. Is Vlatko trying to give video now to set up corners for the Olympics? idk, but her service was also way off from the run of play. I’m hopeful we see some other options get some run for various starters from last night in the runup here

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    • Exactly, probably the worse piece of defending I have every seen on that goal. Honestly, that Portugal team looked like a borderline amateur side out there, it was a very bad showing by the U.S., no way they shouldn’t have put at least 5 past them, even when playing badly. My biggest problem with the USWNT program is they don’t give the young players enough opportunity to displace the “old guard” and I think they let players stick around a little to long. I think at times it makes the team get a little stale.

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