[ALGARVE CUP]Captain Aya Miyama's knuckling free kick from 35 yards late in the game earned Japan a 1-1 tie with United States in their opening game at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. The result extended the USA's unbeaten streak to 43 games.
The USA finished with a 20-8 edge in shots but the lone goal was scored in the 59th minute when Japan goalkeeper Erina Yamane's attempted clearance was blocked by Sydney Leroux and the ball bounced back into the open net.
Christen Press and Leroux created lots of problems for the Japanese, but only Leroux's speed allowed her to slide in and block Yamane's clearance for her 27th international goal.
Reflecting some of the changes since Tom Sermanni took over as head coach in 2013, only two starters -- Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd -- from the last USA-Japan meeting in the 2012 Olympic gold-medal final started in the Algarve Cup opener.
Up next for the USA will be Sweden on Friday in Albufeira.
TRIVIA.The USA improved to 24-1-5 all-time against Japan.
March 5 in Parchal
USA 1 Japan 1.Goals: Leroux 59; Miyama 83.
USA --Solo; Krieger, Sauerbrunn, Engen, Cox; O'Reilly (Heath, 73), Brian (K.Mewis, 73), Lloyd, Rapinoe; Press, Leroux.
Japan --Yamane; Kinga, Iwashimizu, Kumagai, Ariyoshi (Sameshima, 38); Sakaguchi (Kiryu, 68), Miyama, Kawasumi (Iwabuchi, 59), Sawa (Utsugi, 76); Ohno, Ogimi (Takase, 76).