USWNT vs. Japan score: USA settles for draw in SheBelieves Cup opener after conceding late goal
The United States women’s national team played to a disappointing 2-2 draw on Wednesday in the SheBelieves Cup opener against Japan, blowing two leads on the night and settling for a point in a rematch of the 2015 World Cup final. With England beating Brazil in the first game, the U.S. now finds itself two points back in the tournament, mainly used as part of preparation for this summer’s World Cup.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
Not a good result, but hardly a cause for concern
The U.S. blew two leads, and that’s certainly not good, but there’s no need to worry. This team sent players forward from defense, Japan is a pretty solid team and it’s hardly a disaster. It’s one of those games where things just didn’t go your way. The U.S. outplayed Japan, created 13 shots to their five, and saw their opponents convert both of their shots on goal.These things happen to the best of teams, and the U.S. will take this as a learning experience, especially in defense where it was evident there was some miscommunication.
Alex Morgan’s chest goal was pretty cheeky
The U.S. got goals from Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, and it looked like Morgan’s would be the winner in the 76th minute. The veteran forward showed off her skill with a near-post run to perfectly put the ball away … with her chest. She chested the ball into the corner of the goal with class, producing one of her more memorable goals. Take a look:
Now possibly facing a must-win match
Look, if the U.S. doesn’t win this cup, it won’t be a big deal. They certainly want to, but there are more important aspects like building chemistry and staying healthy. But dropping points here in the opener puts the team in a tough spot against England on Saturday. The U.S. is ranked No. 1 in the world, and England is No. 4, the second highest ranked team in the cup. This should be even more of a challenge than Japan, and a loss would eliminate the United States from contention, putting them five points back of England with one game to go. Expect some changes in the starting lineup with Christen Press possibly getting more minutes after impressing off the bench, and the U.S. will likely come out a bit more composed at the back than in this one.
The USA vs. England game is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET and available on fuboTV (Try for free).