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WNT Draws with France 1-1, Head to Orlando

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(Photo: Bobby O’Hara/ PureSportsNY)

HARRISON, NJ – The US Women’s National Team played to a 1-1 draw versus France in the second leg of the 2018 She Believes Cup. The match was played Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena, an arena in which the U.S. has been notoriously disappointing in. Although the game brought 25.706 fans to the seats, it was yet again a flat outing from the US side.

After France suffered a 4-1 defeat in the first round to England, the team brought back more experienced players for the match against the US. The French side responded well Sunday afternoon, keeping good possession of the ball and not allowing many chances to the likes of Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh. Morgan did have a close offsides call negate what would’ve been the match’s first goal. Later in the half Pugh scored the United States only goal of the day.

Morgan Brian played a full 90 mins Sunday vs. France (Photo: Bobby O'Hara/PureSportsNY)

Morgan Brian played a full 90 mins Sunday vs.
France (Photo: Bobby O’Hara/PureSportsNY)

Morgan Brian, who started a full 90 mins for the first time in nearly a year started next to Andi Sullivan and both had trouble creating opportunities for the attacking side. Head coach Jill Ellis made a mention of this after the game.

“Overall it was too many turnovers at times,” Ellis said. “I think when we got into good positions, we were able to play through them. And then at times the decision-making and the touch was sometimes off. They’re players with good brains, both of them, and we look to get better.”

“Today there were spurts where it was some really good play through our midfield, and then at times it sputtered,” Ellis said. “It was decisions and reactions and how we open up the spaces. I think Andi showed, at times, a young player and then an older player, in terms of some of the things she did. At this point in a player’s career … these are the type of game she needs in terms of playing against these big teams.”

Alex Morgan who was riding an impressive scoring streak heading into the tournament, has now been kept off the scoresheet for 2 straight games. The US had only two shots on goal to France’s four. While taking 11 total shots to France’s 13.

The now club heads to Orlando, where Alex Morgan plays her club games, for the final match against England on Wednesday. The match will be at 7pm for first place.

Alex Morgan saw limited opportunities on Sunday vs. France (Photo: Bobby O'Hara/PureSportsNY

Alex Morgan saw limited opportunities on Sunday vs. France (Photo: Bobby O’Hara/PureSportsNY

Additional Notes :

  • Mallory Pugh scored her team-leading third goal of 2018 today in her 32nd cap for the WNT. She is currently fourth in goal scored before the age of 20 with nine career WNT tallies (behind Cindy Parlow (15), Mia Hamm (14) and Christie Welsh (11)).
  • Savannah McCaskill earned her third WNT cap today, coming in at halftime to replace Lindsey Horan. Ellis also made five other subs, bringing Casey Short in for Taylor Smith in the 43rd minute and Lynn Williams for Megan Rapinoe in at halftime. Later in the half, she brought in Carli Lloyd in for Andi Sullivan in the 73rd and Crystal Dunn for Mallory Pugh also in the 73rd. Due to injury, Ellis was forced to make one more sub almost immediately, bringing in Christen Press for Short, in the 76th. After Short’s injury, Dunn moved to outside back, a position she previously played during the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and at the beginning of her WNT senior career.
  • Ellis used almost the same starting lineup that took the field against Germany on March 1. The two changes are Morgan Brian for Carli Lloyd and Andi Sullivan for Julie Ertz in the midfield.
  • Just two players in the USA’s starting lineup (Alyssa Naeher and Morgan Brian) started against France at last year’s SheBelieves Cup on March 7, 2017. Today marked Brian’s first start with the WNT since that start against France last year. They both played all 90 minutes.
  • There were two teenagers in the USA’s starting XI today, just like in the WNT’s first two games of the year against Denmark on Jan. 21 and Germany on March 1, in 19-year-olds Pugh and Tierna Davidson, both of whom are age-eligible for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Against Denmark in San Diego, the pair combined for two goals and two assists. Before that match in San Diego, the last time two teenagers were in the WNT starting lineup was June 30, 2001 vs. Canada in Toronto. Aleisha Cramer (18) and Cat Whitehill (19) both played the entire game.
  • Alyssa Naeher earned her 26th cap tonight. She has 13 career shutouts, most recently against Germany on March 1, and is the seventh goalkeeper in U.S. history to earn 25 or more caps.
  • Dahlkemper made her 16th career appearance today. The 2017 NWSL Defender of the Year made her debut for the U.S. on Oct. 19, 2016, against Switzerland in Utah, and earned her first start against Norway on June 11, 2017 where she played all 90 minutes to help the U.S. defense claim a shutout in Sandefjord. She is a former captain of the U-17 Women’s National Team.
  • Kelley O’Hara, one of the most experienced players on the squad, played all 90 minutes and made her 107th appearance today.
  • Davidson earned her third cap for the USA today, after becoming the 21st woman to make a WNT debut under Jill Ellis on Jan. 21 in San Diego. She earned her first career assist on that game. The 19-year-old Davidson helped lead Stanford to the NCAA Championship this past season. She is the third teenager since 2013 to earn a first cap for the U.S. WNT. Pugh (17 in 2016) and Horan (19 in 2013) are the most recent teenagers to debut for the WNT.

Bobby O’Hara is a contributing author and editor for PuresSportsNY follow him @13obbyo on Twitter and b0bbyo on Instagram

 

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