Tournament of Nations

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Horan nabs stoppage time equalizer for USWNT

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The United States women’s national team is alive in its bid for a Tournament of Nations title thanks to a 90th minute goal from Lindsey Horan.

The 24-year-old Portland Thorns midfielder headed home on Sunday to produce a point for the USWNT in a 1-1 draw with reigning champions Australia.

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The draw leaves both Australia and the USWNT on four points, with Brazil on three, and Japan zero.

The U.S. faces Brazil on Thursday in Illinois, and will know what it needs following Australia’s earlier kickoff against Japan.

If Australia draws or loses to Japan, the USWNT will win the second Tournament of Nations with a draw or win. If Australia wins, the USWNT will need to win by more goals than Australia wins or by the same amount of goals so long as it maintains its advantage in goals scored (currently 5-4).

Morgan’s hat trick leads USWNT to 4-2 win over Japan (video)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Morgan capped a seemingly effortless hat trick by converting off a dazzling piece of footwork by Tobin Heath, and the U.S. rolled to a 4-2 victory over Japan on Thursday night in its opening match of the four-team Tournament of Nations. Megan Rapinoe also had a goal and an assist for the world’s top-ranked team, which hasn’t lost since the Americans dropped their opening match of the same tournament to Australia last year.

The rematch of those powerhouses is Sunday in East Hartford, Connecticut, after the Matildas opened the defense of their Tournament of Nations title with a 3-1 victory over Brazil on Thursday.

Morgan scored her first goal in the 18th minute when she flicked a pass from Rapinoe past Japanese goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita. And her second came a scant eight minutes later, when Emily Sonnett gathered a cross from Crystal Dunn and popped it ahead to Morgan, who headed in the goal.

The hat trick was complete after Heath, who had just entered as a substitute, made two Japanese defenders look foolish along the end line. She then swung a centering pass that was deflected to Morgan, who deposited it for her first three-goal game since Olympic qualifying in February 2016.

Rapinoe added her goal — and a bizarre, foot-stomping celebration afterward — in the 66th minute as the U.S. team ramped up the offense just as it begins ramping up for World Cup qualifying.

They can secure their spot next year in France during the CONCACAF tournament in October.

The performance by coach Jill Ellis’s squad Thursday night wasn’t entirely without fault, though.

After scoring the opener on Morgan’s quick-twitch flick, the U.S. defense quickly broke down, and Mini Tanaka beat defender Abby Dahlkemper and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher for a matching goal.

Then, midway through the second half, Japan’s Moeno Sakaguchi made a nifty move against Heath before sending a curling shot into the upper corner of the net to trim a three-goal deficit to two.

It was nonetheless a solid performance by the Americans in what has become a competitive rivalry with Japan. The teams split matches in the past two World Cup finals, and the U.S. beat Asia’s top team in the gold medal match at the 2012 London Olympics.

Earlier Thursday, defending champ Australia built on an own-goal by Poliana and another mistake by the Brazilian defender in cruising to a 3-1 victory to open the tournament at Children’s Mercy Park.

Tameka Butt added a goal and an assist for the Matildas. Marta scored a late goal for Brazil.

USWNT names veteran team for Tournament of Nations

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) The top-ranked U.S. will bring a veteran group to the four-team Tournament of Nations, which begins next week with a match against Japan at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.

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U.S. coach Jill Ellis announced her training roster of 25 players Wednesday, all but three of whom played for the national team this year. The newcomers are goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, forward Kealia Ohai and defender Jaelene Hinkle, while defenders Casey Short and Emily Sonnett are back from injury.

The roster will be pared to 22 before the U.S. faces Japan on July 26. Brazil plays Australia the same day in the opener of round-robin tournament.

The Tournament of Nations is an important tuneup for the U.S. ahead of World Cup qualifying, which begins with group matches Oct. 4 in Cary, North Carolina.

FULL ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson (Stanford), Jaelene Hinkle (NC Courage), Merritt Mathias (NC Courage), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns)

Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), Allie Long (Seattle Reign), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage)

Forwards: Crystal Dunn (NC Courage), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Utah Royals), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign), Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals)

Sites set for women’s Tournament of Nations

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CHICAGO (AP) The U.S. women’s national team has announced that this summer’s Tournament of Nations will be played at stadiums in Kansas, Connecticut and Illinois.

The U.S. will host Australia, Brazil and Japan in the tournament, which kicks off at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, on July 26. The tournament shifts to Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut on July 29 before wrapping at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, on Aug. 2.

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The four teams will play double-headers at each site, with the winner decided on points. Overall goal differential and total goals will act as the first tiebreakers.

For the United States, the tournament is a tuneup for World Cup qualifying this fall. Australia, Japan and Brazil have already booked spots among the field that will play in next summer’s women’s World Cup in France. The matches will air on FOX Sports, which will also broadcast the World Cup.

“Friendlies are important, but there’s nothing like the competitive format these tournaments provide us. Australia, Brazil and Japan are three very different teams that challenge us with their respective styles and personnel and it will be another fantastic tournament for our fans to watch,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said in a statement.

Australia wins Tournament of Nations in 6-1 win over Brazil

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Australia has won the inaugural Tournament of Nations, beating Brazil 6-1 on Thursday to claim the four-team round robin women’s soccer event.

Lisa De Vanna and Caitlin Foord scored two goals apiece to win the Matildas’ first international trophy since the 2010 Asian Cup.

Australia, the world’s seventh-ranked team, went unbeaten through the three-game event, starting with a 1-0 victory over the defending World Cup champion U.S. team in the opener in Portland.

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After Camila scored for Brazil just 80 seconds into the match at StubHub Center, Australia piled up four goals in the first half. De Vanna started the scoring with a goal off her own missed penalty, and Foord put the Matildas ahead before De Vanna and Katrina Gorry added goals.

Australia’s victory rendered the No. 1-ranked Americans’ late match against Japan irrelevant to the overall tournament result.

The U.S. needed Australia to lose to have any chance to make up a three-goal aggregate deficit.