USA-ENGLAND EXPRESS: March 7 in Orlando, Florida USA 1 England 0.
Goal: own goal (Bardsley) 58. Att:
A Megan Rapinoe
cross that bounced off two England players into their net earned the USA a 1-0 victory Wednesday night along with the SheBelieves Cup.
Rapinoe marked a solid game by gliding up the left side with a crisp pass from left back Crystal Dunn
and jinking her way into position to serve a ball that befuddled both defender Millie
and keeper Karen Bardsley
. Bright’s clumsy touch knocked the ball off her goalie and over the line.
Dunn’s mobility and the rampaging runs of Mal Pugh
earned the Americans numerous chances they were unable to exploit, which left the door open for England to nearly steal an equalizer in the final minutes. Ellen White
’s shot hit the post
next to U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher
, and defender Tierna Davidson
booted it out of danger.
Though England did not manage to land a shot on goal, the USA produced only eight
shots to the visitor’s six. Dogged work by Davidson quelled England’s forwards for most of the game, and the English had no answers when Dunn launched her forays up the left flank. Still,
had White’s shot gone in and the game ended in a tie, England would have won the tournament title with the same number of points as the USA (5) and a better goal difference.
was the only team to win two games at the third edition of the competition. It finished with a 2-0-1 (W-L-T) record and seven points. Tying for second were France and England with 1-1-1 records and
four points. Germany got the wooden spoon as the last-place team at 0-2-1.
Here are three observations from the final match as well as the competition: 1. Pugh continues to impress.
She didn’t score, yet Pugh again gave a USA opponent far more than it could handle.
Of many threatening moments, the most spectacular occurred in the final minute of the first half. Starting out wide right, she weaved and darted laterally -- skipping through several challenges --
before blasting a left-footed shot at that banged off the outside of the post.
Pugh’s spectacular form -- she has three goals in four games this year -- won’t be of much
comfort to head coach Jill Ellis
if the USA attack continues to struggle. In three SheBelieves Cup games, the USA scored just one goal in each of them, and only by the own goal did it edge past
The attack was missing midfielder Julie Ertz
for the second and third games. She tallied seven goals last year and was named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. Major
omissions for the tournament were defensive linchpin Becky Sauerbrunn
, who is sidelined with a foot injury, winger Tobin Heath
and midfielders Samantha Mewis
2. New era under Neville.
The hiring by the
English FA of former England international Phil Neville
, who had no previous experience coaching women, rankled many observers, yet the Lionesses were perhaps the most impressive of the four
Like Ellis, Neville chose a squad less than full strength, but England started the tournament by thumping a young French team, 4-1, and went back-and-forth with Germany while
equalizing twice through White to get a 2-2 tie.
Neville was hired in January to replace Mark Sampson
, who had guided England to third place at the 2015 Women’s
World Cup and the semifinals of the 2017 European Women’s Championship. England continues its World Cup qualifying campaign next month against Wales. 3. Soccer family comes together.
Prior to kickoff at Orlando City Stadium, ceremonies were held in memory of Alyssa Alhadeff,
one of 17
people murdered in a mass shooting at her high school in Parkland, about 45 miles north of Miami. She played soccer for several local teams and was a big fan of the USA women.
Her family and club and high school teammates were presented with USA jerseys with her name and number (8). Her picture was shown on the stadium video boards during a moment of silence held
just prior to kickoff. TRIVIA.
Captain and midfielder Carli Lloyd
earned her 250th cap against England. She
is the sixth USA women’s player to reach that milestone.
March 7 in Orlando, Florida
USA 1 England 0. Goal: own goal (Bardsley) 58.
USA -- Naeher; Dunn, Davidson, Dahlkemper, Sonnett, Horan (Brian, 74), Lloyd, Long (Huerta, 74), Pugh
(Williams, 92), Rapinoe (McCaskill, 80), Morgan.
England -- Bardsley; Bronze, McManus, Bright, Stokes (Blundell, 87), Walsh (Scott, 86), Christensen, Lawley (Duggan, 52), Kirby
(Daly, 75), White, Taylor (Parris, 52).
Referee: Carol Chenard (Canada).