Brazil captures women's tourney ahead of USA

Brazil won the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia when it tied the USA, 0-0, before 11,000 fans Sunday at the Mane Garrincha Stadium. It captured the four-team tournament by virtue of its perfect record in the round-robin stage. For the USA, which was missing two starters for the final, the result left it with just one win in four games in Brasilia.

Dec. 21 in Brasilia
Brazil 0 USA.
USA -- Solo; Klingenberg, Rampone, Sauerbrunn, Chalupny (Krieger, 56); Brian, Lloyd, Holiday; Heath (O'Reilly, 81), Wambach (Rodriguez, 74), O'Hara (Rapinoe, 73)
Brazil -- Luciana; Poliana, Bruna, Monica, Andressa Alves (Andressinha, 89), Maurine (Tamires, 57), Thaisa, Formiga, Rosana (Beatriz, 57), Marta, Debinha.
Att.: 11,000.

The first Brazil-USA match a week earlier was a barnburner with both teams having tons of chances before the hosts prevailed, 3-2, on Marta's hat trick. This time, it was a game of few chances as the two teams managed just eight shots between and just one each on goal.

The USA was without Sydney Leroux, who was serving her suspension after receiving a red card late in the second half against Argentina on Thursday, and Christen Press, who returned to the United States because of a death in her family. Press, who scored four goals in the 7-0 win over Argentina, had been the only player to have played in all 23 matches for the USA in 2014. A third regular in attack, Alex Morgan, is recovering from an ankle injury suffered in Women's World Cup qualifying and has not been cleared to play.

The makeshift frontline featured Abby Wambach, who has been used in midfield in recent months, and Kelley O'Hara, an outside back in recent years, up front with winger Tobin Heath.

Brazil dominated possession but neither team managed many open looks. Both Monica for Brazil and Wambach failed to put headers on goal in the first half.

In the second half, Brazilian appeals for a penalty went for naught after Boston-bound Andressa Alves was taken down in the area. The best chance of the game went to American defender Becky Sauerbrunn, whose header was tipped by Brazil keeper Luciana off the crossbar and out of play in the dying seconds.

The result left the USA with a 16-3-5 record in 2014. All three losses and three of the five ties came in the two major friendly tournaments in which it played -- the Algarve Cup in March and Torneio Internacional da Brasilia.

The U.S. women are off until January when they open camp at U.S. Soccer's National Training Center in Carson, California. Tough matches are scheduled for early February when they travel to Europe to play France Feb. 8 and England Feb. 13.

The USA will then return to the Algarve Cup, where it will face Norway, Switzerland and Iceland in group play. Nine of the 12 entrants in the Portuguese-hosted tournament are bound for Canada 2015.

6 comments about "Brazil captures women's tourney ahead of USA".
  1. R2 Dad, December 22, 2014 at 12:32 a.m.

    Rapinoe, our most reliable and often most creative player, was a sub in the 74th minute? She deserves at least 25 minutes to help salvage something, but no. Bad decision-making from Ellis.

  2. Gus Keri, December 22, 2014 at 9:45 a.m.

    Agree with you, R2 Dad.

  3. Karl Schreiber, December 22, 2014 at 9:59 a.m.

    Comment by R2 Dad:Are you with the WNT?? Or are you criticizing the coaching staff based on what you remember, which would not be appropriate? I agree with your assessment of Rapino’s capabilities during the last World Cup and a couple of years afterwards. However, in recent WNT as well as league play, sadly she only had flashes of her previous greatness, made mistakes even when not under pressure. But my observations are based on what had been shown on TV. I miss the player she used to be!

  4. James Madison, December 22, 2014 at 6:23 p.m.

    1. Despite her flaws, Rapinoe still looks on tv to be the most skilled technically of anyone on the USWNT. Why her play is limited escapes me.

    2. Why SA continues not to rate the players on the WNT as it does those on the MNT also escapes me. Talk about gender discrimination!

  5. R2 Dad, December 22, 2014 at 8:48 p.m.

    Karl, I've watched most if not all of the USWNT matches this year to see how they're playing, and while Rapinoe seems to have lost a step recently she is, from what I can tell, the most intelligent player on the field. Her corner kicks are well taken, too. We usually have seen her on the flanks but I believe she was the attacking midfielder at one of the recent matches and kept possession, distributed the ball intelligently, slowed the game down when needed--she seemed to be the best option at CAM. Whenever Abby is in the game there seems to be a rush to directly get her the ball. But Abby has slowed down as well and against Brazil, France, Japan and China we need to be smarter and more skillful not just faster and more tenacious. Our style is Ellis' responsibility as well as player selection. Our back line is questionable when pressed, and we essentially conceded possession to Brazil. Where are our skill players? American soccer celebrates the goal-scorer instead of the creative midfielder that set up the play. The media, the cameras, they all follow the tap-in and laud the goal scorer instead of the midfielder who made something out of nothing. Abby was our 2014 Women's Player of the Year, but she hasn't been that for us for several years. Rapinoe is the linchpin that keeps the wheel on the USWNT vehicle, and I thought Ellis would recognize that but she hasn't.

  6. John DiFiore, December 23, 2014 at 4:24 p.m.

    Where's Abby's fire?? I don't like this new role of mother hen she's taken on. She's playing like an old lady. I miss the beast..

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