Julie Johnston and Christen Press scored first-half goals, and the USWNT got revenge for their February loss by defeating France 2-0 in the final of the Algarve Cup.
US Manager Jill Ellis had come under some fire this tournament for her erratic lineup selections and tactics that often didn’t suit the strengths of her selected players, but today things within the 4-4-2 seemed to click. The performance was wire-to-wire, and all parts of the formation contributed to the result. The first half was entertaining, but things seemed to slow in the second half as both teams felt the fatigue from a hard-fought tournament
22-year-old defender Johnston scored her first career international goal just seven minutes in on a header off a corner that not only rippled the back of the net but ripped her headband as well (video above). Press then doubled the US lead when she absolutely carved up the middle of the French pitch to put away the game just before halftime.
France nearly got back in the game late when Megan Klingenberg conceded a penalty in the 81st minute, but goalkeeper Hope Solo saved the penalty by Amandine Henry.
The match evened things out between these two teams for 2015 so far, with France winning back in early February by the same scoreline to shock and ground the US in reality. While the Algarve Cup hasn’t proceeded without more criticism for Ellis, and the team has looked beatable at times, the result is what the team set out for and the performance in the final is encouraging.
With the World Cup still to come this summer, the team’s final tuneup gave us a mixed bag of results and analysis, but the final result is encouraging considering the blistering form France entered the game with, having defeated Brazil, Germany, and Japan in addition to the US. Well done, ladies, on to Canada.