Mallory Pugh

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USWNT wins final match before World Cup (video)

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Tobin Heath, Mallory Pugh, and Christen Press all scored and then United States women’s national team was rarely threatened in a 3-0 win that stands as the final tune-up for the World Cup in France.

The U.S. will meet Thailand, Nigeria, and Chile in Group F play beginning on June 11.

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The match was barely 10 minutes old when Heath took advantage of terrible miscommunication between Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago and Rebeca Bernal.

There was still work to do when Heath got the ball, finding the angle to make it 1-0.

Carli Lloyd nearly slid a ball home after dribbling Santiago in the 48th minute, but was defied by a goal line clearance.

The second goal came when Lloyd dribbled toward the near post from a tight angle, sliding a pass to Pugh for a 2-0 lead.

Press completed the scoring with a classy finish in the final minutes.

USWNT takes care of Scotland 1-0 on Morgan strike

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Alex Morgan scored her 98th international goal just before halftime as the United States women downed Scotland 1-0 in a friendly in Paisley, Scotland on Tuesday. It wasn’t the prettiest performance the U.S. has put forth this year by a longshot, but they got the job done despite a Carli Lloyd missed penalty. The win completed an undefeated 2018 for the U.S. women, a fabulous feat on the whole.

The United States was dominant throughout the opening 45 minutes, controlling 70% possession and holding the hosts to just a single shot. Morgan struck four minutes before the break as Mallory Pugh sent in a deep cross from the right flank that sailed just over the head of a leaping Lloyd but dipped right to Morgan unmarked at the far post. The 29-year-old finished with a powerful volley, connecting with the ball mid-flight and rocketing it inside the right post.

The goal is Morgan’s 18th of the season and 25th goal over her last 26 international matches. Otherwise, the United States held the possessional advantage but struggled to produce too many clear-cut chances. That changed after halftime.

The US came incredibly close to a second in the 53rd minute as Julie Ertz trailing the play received a layoff from Morgan, and while her effort deflected off a defender, it was saved wonderfully by halftime substitute Shannon Lynn who managed to get her leg up to block the deflection despite laying out for the initial shot.

The visitors were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute as Kirsty Smith clipped the toes of Pugh in the box, and Lloyd took the spot-kick, smashing it against the crossbar and out of play with Lynn right there looking on, having guessed correctly.

Scotland had its best chance of the evening in the 75th minute as they won the ball in the attacking third and charged forward to Erin Cuthbert. She charged forward splitting U.S. defenders, but eventually the ball was cleared by Becky Sauerbrunn after a heavy touch by Cuthbert as she looked to take aim on the doorstep. They would get another good look five minutes ltaer as Julie Ertz was caught out by a wonderful chipped ball over the top toLana Clelland who rifled on net, but the shot was turned wide by Ashlyn Harris.

That was it for the game as both teams brought on late subs, but no more big chances were created. The victory is the 18th of the season for the United States, going a full calendar year without a loss through its 20 total games. The USWNT also extended its clean sheet streak to a whopping 884 minutes, extending nine full shutout matches, the longest streak since 2004/05 when they went 10 straight matches.

For Scotland, the defeat snaps a five-game winning streak that dates back to an April 5th loss to Switzerland in World Cup qualifying.

Carli Lloyd’s 100th goal leads USWNT past Mexico, 6-2 (video)

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HOUSTON (AP) Carli Lloyd became the sixth American to score 100 international goals, putting the United States ahead as it rallied for a 6-2 win over Mexico in an exhibition Sunday.

Alex Morgan scored twice for the second straight game as the Americans played another prep match ahead of World Cup qualifying in October. Megan Rapinoe chipped the goalkeeper to score from 35 yards and had four assists, one short of the U.S. record.

Lloyd, a two-time FIFA Player of the Year, scored in the 34th minute. Rapinoe’s cross went all the way across the field, and Lindsey Horan kicked the ball back into the penalty area, where it was deflected by goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago. Mallory Pugh’s volley ricocheted off the crossbar and Lloyd headed the ball into the open net from at the goal line.

The 35-year-old midfielder became the 16th woman to reach the century mark, joining fellow Americans Abby Wambach (184), Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (130), Michelle Akers (105) and Tiffeny Milbrett (100). Wambach holds the women’s world record.

CONCACAF announced Sunday that World Cup qualifying will take place in October, with group stage matches in Cary, North Carolina, and Edinberg, Texas. The semifinals and final will be in Frisco, Texas from Oct. 14-17.

Wearing the captain’s armband, Lloyd made her 252nd appearance with the national team. She scored three goals in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final.

“It’s obviously a great milestone, but I’ve got a lot of things I still want to accomplish left in my career,” Lloyd said. “To look back on where I started in 2005 to the player I’ve become, you don’t very often get to sit back and reflect because you’re always waiting for that next big thing.”

Lloyd also scored in the first match of the exhibition series against Mexico, a 4-1 victory Thursday in Jacksonville, Florida. Lloyd’s goal was the third in four minutes at the start of the second half. Morgan scored twice in the span, including a successful penalty kick.

Playing in her home stadium, goalkeeper Jane Campbell made her first international start.

Pugh beat goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago to put the U.S. ahead in the third minute, her fifth international goal this year and 11th overall for the 19-year-old. She also scored in the opening match against Mexico.

Mexico went ahead when Monica Ocampo scored in the 16th minute and Kiana Palacios in the 24th, her first international goal. Horan tied the score for the US in the 25th.

Morgan scored in the 43rd and 68th minutes. Rapinoe got her goal in the 64th when she chipped Santiago after running onto a sliding clearance by the goalkeeper.

USWNT wins SheBelieves Cup on England flub

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England knew a draw would give it a first SheBelieves Cup. The Lionesses just had to hold to the USWNT at bay in Orlando on Wednesday.

Nope.

Megan Rapinoe’s deflected cross was bungled by England in one of the worst tournament winning goals you’ll ever see.

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A draw would’ve given England the title. The U.S. won the inaugural SheBelieves Cup in 2016, and France won the second edition last year.

France toppled Germany 3-0 earlier Wednesday to finish third with four points, with the Germans finishing dead last with a single point.

The USWNT was better money for the opening goal with Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh especially lively in the first 45 minutes.

Pugh hit the outside of the post just before halftime as the USWNT aimed to go into the room with momentum.

The U.S. found the winner shortly after halftime. The box score doesn’t show how you scored them, and Rapinoe won’t care much anyway.

SheBelieves Cup: USWNT draws France 1-1 (video)

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Mallory Pugh’s goal off a 35th minute scrum helped hosts USWNT to a 1-1 draw against France in its second match of the 2018 SheBelieves Cup.

[ MORE: Day 1 recap ]

The U.S. won the first SheBelieves Cup, and France won the 2017 edition.

The Sunday match was the front end of a doubleheader, with Germany and England up next.

Pugh punched a shot off Sarah Bouhaddi and into the goal a few moves after a Megan Rapinoe free kick to restore a deadlock that would last the match.

Her third goal of the year came just before Eugenie Le Sommer scored a beauty for France, the only way the visitors could overcome a fine performance from goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

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