Christen Press

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USWNT wins third SheBelieves Cup

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Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press scored early goals to help the USWNT to a 3-1 win over Japan, reclaiming the SheBelieves Cup in the process.

Lindsey Horan added a goal in the 83rd minute to salt away the win after a short dicey period.

Vlatko Andonovski improves to 10-0 as USWNT coach and leads the Yanks to their third SheBelieves Cup crown (2016, 2018).

[ MORE: Cordeiro apologizes to USWNT ]

Japan’s Mana Iwabuchi scored in the 57th minute, ending a shutout streak that ran 788 minutes since conceding twice to Sweden in Andonovski’s debut as head coach on Nov. 7.

The U.S. players took the field for warm-ups with their shirts inside-out, hiding the federation logo due to an ongoing and fierce dispute with president Carlos Cordeiro’s administration.

Rapinoe spun home a free kick in the seventh minute after a dangerous Japanese foul on Lindsey Horan left the star favoring her shoulder.

The goalkeeping was suspect, but we can thank it for giving us an even better highlight.

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It wasn’t 1-0 for long, thanks to a ruinous giveaway from Japan.

One pass, one chip, 2-0.

Press is on fire, scoring a wondergoal in the tournament opener before assisting the match-winning goal in the second contest.

Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made a few saves as Japan found footing in the second half, including a fine double stop in the 51st minute.

Japan seized momentum after Iwabuchi’s goal, consistently driving down the right flank to try and find receivers in front of goal.

Franch made a big save late, and Narumi Miura plunked the post with a bid as the match entered its final 15 minutes.

But Horan turned a header inside the near post off a late corner kick to end the Japanese threat.

Ertz late header pushes USWNT past Spain (video)

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On International Women’s Day, Julie Ertz’s sublime header in the 87th minute handed the United States women’s national team a crucial victory over Spain.

The USWNT’s 1-0 win over their European counterparts consolidates their position atop of the SheBelieves Cup standing, with the home side at six points after two games. Both Spain and England, who edged Japan by a goal on Sunday, trail the Yanks by three points.

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Spectators at Red Bulls Arena saw the USWNT loss the possession battle by 20 percent, despite registering more shots on target (4) than Spain (3). Midway through the first half, Jenni Hermoso hit the post with a stealthy header, surprising Vlatko Andonovski’s backline.

No header, however, captured as much attention from the reflectors as Ertz’s, who simply had to put her head on the ball following Christen Press’ perfectly-placed cross.

 

The USWNT, who can win the SheBelieves Cup with a draw, close out the annual round-robin competition against Japan on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.

Press wonder goal leads USWNT past England (video)

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The United States women’s national team opened the 2020 SheBelieves Cup with a 2-0 defeat of reigning champs England in Orlando on Thursday.

Christen Press and Carli Lloyd scored goals in the win.

The Yanks finish the evening just behind Spain on the table after the latter beat Japan 3-1. Lucia Garcia scored twice for Spain after Japan leveled the score before halftime.

The tournament moves to New Jersey for Sunday’s second match day, where Japan will host England before the Yanks entertain Spain.

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The U.S. out-attempted England 23-8 to get a measure of tournament revenge from the 2-2 draw last season. The USWNT, of course, beat England in World Cup semifinal. Press scored in that 2-1 win, too.

Lloyd scored her goal off a nifty scoop pass from Lindsey Horan, and Julie Ertz had a goal ruled offside late in the match.

Press’ goal was dynamite stuff with spin rate like a top MLB pitcher, giving her six goals already since the calendar turned to 2020.

USWNT guarding against letdown with Olympic berth on line

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Carson, Calif. — The United States isn’t really motivated by what happened four years ago in the Rio Games as the team heads into an all-important Olympic qualifying match Friday night.

Coming off a World Cup championship in France last summer, the United States just wants to guard against any letdown.

Christen Press said it’s difficult after all the attention that comes in the wake of winning soccer’s premier tournament to transition so quickly to preparation for the Olympics.

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“I think that the mentality the group that was a part of 2015 and 2016 is bringing into this transition is that we have to have a short memory,” she said. “We have to let go of the World Cup and we have to go into this like this is our big tournament for the next three years. And so I think that that’s a good lesson to have learned.”

The United States had also won the World Cup in 2015 and went into the Rio Games brimming with confidence – only to be ousted in the quarterfinals by Sweden. It was the U.S. team’s earliest ever exit from the Olympics.

On Friday, the top-ranked United States will play Mexico in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament with one of the region’s two berths in the Tokyo Games on the line. Canada faces Costa Rica for the other spot.

The U.S. and Canada won the Olympic berths four years ago. The Canadians went on to win their second consecutive bronze medal in Brazil.

Canada is led by captain Christine Sinclair, who surpassed retired U.S. star Abby Wambach’s international goals record in the group stage. Sinclair, who has been on the national team since 2000, has 186 career goals heading into the semifinals. That’s the most among men or women.

Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said it was important that his team avoids complacency during qualifying. And indeed, the team swept group stage play without conceding a goal.

“No matter who we play, we need to play to Canadian standard. It has to be our level of performance that we play to. It’s so easy to play a team that you’re better than, and then drop to their level,” he said.

By winning its group handily, eighth-ranked Canada avoided facing the United States in the semis. Costa Rica, ranked No. 37 in the world, has never made the 12-team field for the Olympics, although Las Ticas did play in the 2015 World Cup.

The Canadians are undefeated in 13 previous meetings with Costa Rica. In the 2016 qualifying tournament, Canada defeated Las Ticas 3-1 in the semifinals.

“It was a close match. It was a match where we made many mistakes, but it is in the past,” Costa Rica coach Amelia Valverde said. “We’re focusing on right here, right now.”

Mexico, ranked No. 26, made the field for the 2004 Olympics but has not been back since. However, Mexico is on the rise, boosted by a domestic women’s league. The team won its first two group-stage matches before falling 2-0 to Canada.

Like Canada, the United States swept its group stage matches without allowing a goal. Lindsey Horan led the way with five goals and Press added four.

U.S. midfielder Rose Lavelle emphasized that the team can’t get ahead of itself.

“I think that we know that what we did in France is kind of meaningless now. It doesn’t dictate how the rest of the year goes or dictate right now what our future is,” she said. “So while last year was so fun, we know that we have to set our sights on new goals. And I think before we even talk about the Olympics, we have to talk about our game versus Mexico and qualifying there.”

USWNT opens Olympic qualifying with win over Haiti

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The USWNT was rusty, that much was clear. Vlatko Andonovski still made sure they took care of business.

Four different goalscorers delivered a 4-0 victory over Haiti to begin CONCACAF Olympic qualification, putting the United States in front of Group A early. Lynn Williams picked up a goal and assist, proving useful on an otherwise sputtery evening for Vlatko Andonovski’s attack.

Just 78 seconds into the game, Williams charged down the right flank and crossed to Christen Press at the far post for the opening goal. Williams’ assist came without the use of her left shoe which she lost while holding off a defender for the bobbling ball.

Despite the early lead, the United States seemed somewhat sluggish as Haiti built themselves into the match. There were few chances on net after the opening goal through the half-hour mark.

Haiti nearly caught the U.S. napping on a corner as the ball found the back of the net on 20 minutes, but the goal was somehow ruled out. It appeared to be for offside, but since it’s impossible to be offside from a corner, there must have been another reason for the official ruling. Nonetheless, it was a clear sign for the USWNT that they needed to pick up the level of play.

The U.S. continued to struggle after halftime, creating very little in front of net. There was a half-chance for Lloyd near the penalty spot but a quality tackle by Kethna Louis put that to bed. Then finally they put the game to bed on a corner, not coincidentally coming just five minutes after Megan Rapinoe entered the fray. Rapinoe delivered a corner to the doorstep where Williams headed in well under pressure, moving her upper body away from goal against the motion of her lower body to reach the delivery.

Another Andonovski substitute paid dividends however as Lindsey Horan scored, again coming off a corner. They played it short and Horan headed from a significant distance out, the ball squirting past the goalkeeper Kerly Theus and Louis who tried to clear off the line. It was clear that Haiti had begun to tire and the USWNT was taking advantage. Up front, Carli Lloyd had a poor game, unable to get involved in attacking play, but she found the scoresheet in stoppage time, bagging a header off a Rapinoe cross in the 93rd minute to finish out the scoring.

Emily Sonnett replaced Kelley O’Hara with 10 minutes to go for Andonovski’s final change, and the USWNT saw the rest of the match out. They have two matches remaining before the knockout stage, set to take on Panama on Friday before the group stage finale against Costa Rica on February 3. The top two teams in the group reach the knockout phase with the semifinals to begin on February 7.