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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 slips Germany; Neville wins England debut

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The United States women’s national team joined Phil Neville‘s England women’s NT as Day One winners at the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday in Columbus.

World No. 3 England gave manager Neville a heck of a debut, scoring thrice in the first half en route to a 4-1 defeat of France, who won the 2017 SheBelieves Cup.

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Fran Kirby and Jill Scott each had a goal and an assist for England, while Toni Duggan and Jodi Taylor also scored before Gaëtane Thiney ruined the clean sheet with 13 minutes to play.

The former Manchester United and Everton legend’s appointment has been much scrutinized, as he’s never had the top chair in his managerial career.

The snowy nightcap saw the No. 1 USWNT facing No. 2 Germany, and the Yanks started in style. A long Alyssa Naeher clearance was flicked toward the German 18 by Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe’s side-foot effort was enough to get the Yanks on the board.

That’s all the Yanks would need in their bid to retake the tournament’s bragging rights after winning the first edition in 2016.

The tournament shifts to New Jersey for Sunday matches between the U.S. and France (Noon ET), Germany and England (3 p.m. ET).

France and Germany then meet Wednesday in Orlando (4 p.m. ET), with the U.S. wrapping up the tournament versus England (7 p.m. ET)

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.

Trio of USWNT players stay in locker room for national anthem

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USWNT players Megan Rapinoe, Sydney Leroux and Becky Sauerbrunn were among players from both the Seattle Reign and FC Kansas City who did not appear for the national anthem at a NWSL game on Sunday.

Rapinoe was the first USWNT player to kneel during the national anthem as she joined the protests led by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick calling for racial equality and against police brutality.

With several NFL teams on Sunday taking a knee during the anthem and the Pitstburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks staying in the locker room during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, U.S. President Donald Trump has responded angrily to sports teams who decided to kneel during the national anthem.

Here’s more info from Sounder At Heart on SB Nation:

This time Megan Rapinoe is not alone. Several players from both teams joined her, staying in the locker room during the flag and anthem ceremony.

Elli Reed, Megan Rapinoe, Madalyn Schiffel, Lauren Barnes and Diana Matheson from the Reign did not take the field. Former Sounders/Reign player Sydney Leroux was among the FCKC starters who were not out for the ceremonies. Yael Averbuch, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Desiree Scott round out that group. Sauerbrunn is currently the United States captain. Leroux and Rapinoe are both regulars with the USWNT.

With U.S. Soccer bringing in a new bylaw earlier this year which states players must stand for the national anthem, could we see male and female U.S. stars following this option by not going out onto the pitch for the national anthem in upcoming international games?

All eyes will be on USWNT captain Sauerbrunn, plus midfielder Rapinoe and Leroux, during the anthem when Jill Ellis’ side play against South Korea on Oct. 19 and Oct. 22.

The actions of Bruce Arena’s USMNT side will also be heavily scrutinized ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 6 and Oct. 10 respectively.

USWNT storms back from 3-1 down, beats Brazil 4-3

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SAN DIEGO (AP) Julie Ertz came in off the bench and scored in the 89th minute and the United States overcame a late three-goal deficit to beat Brazil 4-3 on Sunday night in the Tournament of Nations.

The United States was in danger of losing for the fourth time this year before the three-goal flurry in about nine minutes.

Two minutes after Brazil’s Andressinha scored on a free kick in the 78th minute for her second goal of the game, Christen Press countered to make it 3-2.

Press fed Megan Rapinoe for a spectacular running blast that tied it in the 85th minute, and Ertz put the Americans ahead four minutes later. Ertz is using her married name after playing as Julie Johnston.

The United States was coming off a 1-0 loss to Australia in the team’s Tournament of Nations opener in Seattle on Thursday night.