Alex Morgan

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USWNT beats Canada 3-1 in final match of the year

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd scored and the U.S. national team closed out play this year with a 3-1 victory over Canada at Avaya Stadium on Sunday night.

The two teams also faced each other Thursday at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, playing to a 1-1 draw. The tie snapped a six-game winning streak for the top-ranked Americans.

Canada, which won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, is ranked fifth in the world and considered a team on the rise. But the Canadians have not defeated the United States since 2001.

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Ertz, who played in college at Santa Clara, scored her sixth goal of the year in the 11th minute on a header off a set piece. It was her 14th international goal and all of them have been the result of a set play.

Canadian captain Christine Sinclair came close to equalizing with a shot in the 32nd minute that was just wide of the far post. Sinclair, who plays for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, was slow to get up after the shot.

Janine Beckie scored her first goal against the United States in the 50th minute off a well-placed pass from Nichelle Prince. Both are teammates on the Houston Dash.

Some seven minutes later Morgan put the United States back on top, slotting home a goal that got past Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe. She leads the Americans this year with seven goals.

Lloyd, who came in as a sub in the second half, added a final goal in the 80th minute. Lloyd needs just two more goals for 100 in her career.

“Obviously, end of the year we wanted to finish it off on a good note, and I thought tonight was well played,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said.

Morgan scored for the United States and Adriana Leon had a goal for Canada in the first match of the series.

The two games were the last for the United States this year. Next year the Americans will prepare for qualifying to defend their World Cup title in 2019.

The United States was without midfielder Tobin Heath, who was called into training for the matches but didn’t play because of a nagging ankle injury. Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle and Morgan Brian didn’t train with the team for the final matches because of hamstring injuries.

Rapinoe, Morgan, Ertz lift US past South Korea, 3-1

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) Alex Morgan scored in a fourth straight game, Julie Ertz scored for the fourth time in five games, and the United States women beat South Korea 3-1 on Thursday night.

Megan Rapinoe added her 34th international goal and her 42nd assist.

Having assisted on Ertz’s diving header in the first half, Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick she drew in the 49th minute when pounced on a loose ball about 12 yards in front of the goal and was tripped by Ji Sohyun.

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Han Chaerin scored her first international goal in her South Korea debut to make it 2-1 just before the end of the first half.

U.S. forward Mallory Pugh had to leave the game late in the first half with a right hamstring injury. There was no immediate word on the severity of her injury after she was helped off the field by trainers.

Meanwhile, Carli Lloyd returned from a nine-week absence because of ankle injury, entering the game as a substitute in the 77th minute.

Midfielder Andi Sullivan started for the U.S. about 11 months after having reconstructive knee surgery. Her third minute shot narrowly missed the far post from about 18 yards. She was substituted out, as planned, at halftime.

South Korea began the game in a defensive posture and the U.S. maintained a decisive edge in possession, forcing Kang Gaae to make several sprawling saves before breaking though on Ertz goal in the 24th minute

Ertz dove in front of two defenders to redirect Rapinoe’s hard, low corner kick between the legs of Kang as the goal keeper tried to respond at the near post.

Morgan scored in the 40th minute, using her right foot to settle Kelley O’Hara’s bouncing pass from the end line, then pivoting and whipping her left foot through the ball from point-blank range. The goal was the 28-year-old Morgan’s 78th for the national squad.

Han scored against the run of play with a hard shot from about 25 yards that sailed beyond U.S. goal keeper Alyssa Naher’s reach before dipping under the cross bar.

Lloyd’s introduction drew an enthusiastic response from nearly 10,000 spectators in the Superdome. The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year missed a pair of U.S. exhibition wins over New Zealand last month because of an Aug. 13 ankle sprain in a National Women’s Soccer League match.

Forward Tobin Heath, who has an ankle injury, and defender Taylor Smith, who has an injured shoulder, were not in the lineup and are not expected to play in a second friendly scheduled between South Korea and the U.S. on Sunday in Cary, North Carolina.

Both women were hurt in the NWSL championship match.

USWNT’s Alex Morgan apologizes for Disney incident

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U.S. women’s national team star Alex Morgan has apologized after being kicked out of Disney World in Orlando over the weekend.

The 28-year-old Orlando City Pride player, a forward in the NWSL and for the reigning World Cup champions, was kicked out by security along with two players from Orlando City SC of Major League Soccer with reports stating the players had been drinking heavily.

Morgan and the two MLS players, Donald Toia and Giles Barnes, were ejected from the Epcot theme park, along with Toia’s wife, after Barnes allegedly cut in front of someone at the pavilion’s pub in the United Kingdom section of Epcot.

Morgan had posted a photo on her Instagram with the caption: “Annual around the world in 8 hours. No big.”

The MLS team in Orlando have some extra time off due to the current international break with Dom Dwyer, Seb Hines and Dillon Powers also on the day out at Disney.

However, Morgan and the Orlando Pride play this Saturday against the Portland Thorns in the NSWL semifinals.

According to a deputy who witnessed the groups behavior, Morgan was “highly impaired” and she is also said to have shouted that she “knew the Orlando SWAT team” as she was being escorted away by police.

“As we passed, I observed several people being escorted to the front,” a deputy wrote in his report. “They were all being very loud and belligerent toward staff around guests. I observed a white female, who was later identified as Alexandria Morgan yelling, screaming and taken (sic) video and possibly pictures. She appeared to be highly impaired.”

Orlando City released a statement on Tuesday saying they were aware of the incident, while an Orange County Sheriff’s Office report says they were “verbally aggressive with park security and other guests.”

Below is Morgan’s apology after the incident.

USWNT rides brace from super sub Morgan to big win (video)

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Alex Morgan scored two goals, the second with gusto, as the United States women’s national team hammered New Zealand 5-0 at Nippert Stadium in a Tuesday night friendly.

After Cincinnati native Rose Lavelle made a 30-minute cameo in her return from injury, the USWNT poured forth with goals.

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Coming off the bench, Morgan scored within a minute of her second half introduction.

And then, after an electric dribble from Mallory Pugh, Morgan rang an aesthetically-pleasing rocket off the proverbial woodwork to make it 5-0.

Ertz scores twice in 8-minute span, US tops New Zealand 3-1

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) Julie Ertz scored twice in an eight-minute span in the first half, Alex Morgan added a goal in the 79th minute and the United States women beat New Zealand 3-1 on Friday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Morgan tied Cindy Parlow for seventh on the U.S. national team goals list with 75.

In the 16th minute, Denver-area native Lindsey Horan headed a cross toward goal and Ertz redirected it home. In the 24th, Megan Rapinoe headed it off the post and Ertz sent it in from distance.

New Zealand cut it to 2-1 in the 75th when Hannah Wilkinson headed in Ali Riley’s cross that bounced in front of the goal. But Morgan gave the U.S. a two-goal lead again four minutes later on a tough-angle shot off the hand of Erin Nayler.

Kelley O’Hara wore the captain’s armband and became the 36th player to appear in 100 matches for the U.S. Second-half substitute Sofia Huerta made her debut and assisted on Morgan’s goal.

The teams will play again Tuesday at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati.