USA-Australia: Late goal keeps U.S. unbeaten streak alive

The USA's unbeaten streak in women's international matches is alive but just barely. It's now at 18 games -- 15 wins and three ties -- after the USA tied the Matildas, 1-1, in the second game at the Tournament of Nations.

Australia led, 1-0, on Chloe Logarzo's goal in the 22nd minute until the 90th minute when Lindsey Horan's header evened the score.

Here are three takeaways after 1-1 tie that left the USA in first place, ahead of Australia, on goals scored.

1. USA struggles to break down Australia.

The Matildas' early goal allowed it to sit back and let the USA come at them. Since it lacks a true playmaker, that can make the job of the USA tough it is up against a defense that is compacted and composed and defenders who can defend in one-on-one situations, like the Australians did.

The most dangerous American on the ball is Megan Rapinoe on the left wing. She had a couple of chances to score -- one in the first half that she missed badly on and the other Lydia Williams saved in the second half -- but Australia largely contained the USA in open play even if the Americans had a clear advantage in possession and 18-8 edge in shots.

2. Set pieces set the USA apart.

With good service, the USA is deadly in set pieces. There's Julie Ertz and Alex Morgan to throw into the mix, and then there's everyone else.

Rapinoe's perfectly placed ball to the far post gave Williams little chance. All Horan had to do was nod the ball down and into the goal -- and she was only one of several Americans open with Australia concentrating on Ertz and Morgan at the other side of the goal.

3. Matildas offer blueprint.

There's a reason Australia has been so tough recently for the USA. (It handed the USA its last defeat a year ago to win the 2017 Tournament of Nations.) With players like Sam Kerr and Lisa De Vanna, Australia is one of the few teams in the world that can match up physically with the USA and trouble its defenders in the open field.

Like Japan with its opening goal on Thursday in the 4-2 USA win, Australia came right down the middle at the USA on the counterattack, taking advantage of a poorly taken free kick by Rapinoe to score. De Vanna broke away from Becky Sauerbrunn and Logarzo, the former USL W-League Rookie of the Year, did the rest.

Trivia. Morgan and Rapinoe are the only two Americans to start every game in 2018. Stanford University junior Tierna Davidson sat out the game after starting the first eight matches of the year.

July 29 in East Hartford, Conn.
USA 1 Australia 1. Goals: Horan 90; Logarzo 22.
USA -- Naeher; Sonnett (Short, 79), Dahlkemper (Lavelle, 79), Sauerbrunn, Dunn (Lloyd, 87); Ertz, Horan, Brian (Zerboni, 63); Heath (Press, 74), Morgan, Rapinoe.
Australia -- Williams; Polkinghorne, Logarzo (Foord, 85), Kellond-Knight, Van Egmond, De Vanna (Simon, 58),  Butt, Kennedy, Raso (Gielnik, 90+5), Kerr (Gorry, 90+1), Carpenter.
Referee: Miriam Leon (El Salvador).
Att.: 21,570.

Final Stats:
Shots: 18 / 8
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 10 / 2
Fouls: 9 / 16
Offside: 4 / 2

3 comments about "USA-Australia: Late goal keeps U.S. unbeaten streak alive".
  1. R2 Dad, July 30, 2018 at 7:07 p.m.

    Not sure our 4-3-3 will work so well if we continue to waste chances in the final 3rd. Also, every highlight clip had Rapinoe in it. Without Pugh on the right side, everything must go through Rapinoe and that's no longer comforting as she's 33. Sauerbrun is also 33 and those legs are gone.

  2. James Madison, July 30, 2018 at 11:36 p.m.

    It looked more like 3-4-3 to me, but either way, it's not going to work.  The women should finally come to 4-4-2. Rapinoe may be 33, but, unforced errors by the two notwithstanding, she and Ertz were the liveliest players on the US side.  Heath lacks cleverness.  If the US is to defend its WC title, Morgan needs a srike partner, like Press, and the US needs a back 4, a GK, and a right side MF equal to Rapinoe. 

  3. Bob Ashpole, July 31, 2018 at 10:38 a.m.

    The problems I saw had nothing to do with the "formation" and everything to do with corner kicks.

    Regarding the finishing failures, having flat games happens. Just like in basketball. The trick is finding a way to still win when your shooting is not at its best.

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