Lynn Williams (left) scored her second international goal to lift the U.S. to a 1-0 win over Germany. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Photo)
CHESTER, Pa. — Lynn Williams continued to put her best foot forward Wednesday night to convince head coach Jill Ellis that she should belong in the U.S. national team pool.
The North Carolina Courage striker tallied the lone goal of the match, lifting the United States to a 1-0 victory over Germany in the first game of the SheBelieves Cup before 16,318 spectators at Talen Energy Stadium.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, France recorded a 2-1 win, scoring a dramatic game-winning goal in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time.
Williams’ goal wasn’t as suspenseful for the U.S., but it certainly did the trick in a game that pit the top two ranked women’s teams in the world.
Christen Press stole the ball from Isabel Kerschowski on the right flank and raced down the right wing, cutting into the penalty area while beating several defenders. She fired a left-footed shot that hit the crossbar. The ball rebounded to Tobin Heath in the left side of the box and her shot hit Kerschowski before settling for Williams to finish first-time with her right foot from eight yards past another German defender and into the open net.
It Williams’ second career goal in her fifth international appearance.
Williams earned her first cap against Switzerland in Utah Oct. 19, where she entered the match in the second half, scoring 49 seconds into her debut (a record until Kealia Ohai broke it four days later).
As was expected with the top two teams in the world, the Wednesday’s encounter was an evenly played match, but the Americans enjoyed the advantage in possession and scoring chances.
The No. 1 USA’s first dangerous opportunity came in the 10th minute following a throw-in by Becky Sauebrunn on the right side. Samantha Mewis brought the ball down and it bounced to Rockville Centre, N.Y. native Crystal Dunn, who fired a shot from the right side of the six-yard box straight at goalkeeper Amulth Schult, who pushed out for a corner kick. Tobin Heath sent a corner kick to the far side that found the head of Carli Lloyd, but she sent it just over the net.
Two minutes later, Germany responded as Sara Däbritz’s hard shot seemed to be heading into the upper right corner, but goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher responded with a diving save and pushed the ball out of harm’s way.
The Americans took control of the match and missed several close chances in the latter part of the second half that would have sealed the match. Lloyd created a particularly dangerous chance as she dribbled around several defenders in the left side of the area and was one-on-one with Schult, who pinned the ball with her legs to make a vital save.
The USA’s team defense was excellent over the 90 minutes and for the most part kept the Germans out of dangerous areas.
Next up for the Americans are the English at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Saturday at 5 p.m. ET (FOX). The U.S. national team will also honor legendary defender and former captain Christie Rampone prior to kickoff.
Northport, N.Y. native Allie Long was named player of the match.
USA – Lynn Williams — 56th minute
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 20-Allie Long, 7-Casey Short; 19-Crystal Dunn (2-Mallory Pugh, 58), 6-Morgan Brian, 3-Samantha Mewis, 17-Tobin Heath 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 12-Lynn Williams (13-Alex Morgan, 79), 23-Christen Press (9-Lindsey Horan, 79)
Subs not used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 11-Ali Krieger, 14-Jessica McDonald, 15-Emily Sonnett, 16-Rose Lavelle, 18-Jane Campbell, 22-Brianna Pinto, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis
GER: 1-Almuth Schult, 2-Josephine Henning, 4-Leonie Maier, 5-Babett Peter, 9-Alexandra Popp, 10-Dzsenifer Marozsan, 11-Anja Mittag (15-Mandy Islacker, 74), 13-Sara Däbritz, 14-Anna Blässe (7-Pauline Bremer, 69), 17-Isabel Kerschowski (29-Felicitas Rauch, 74), 18-Lena Petermann (23-Verena Faißt, 45)
Subs not used: 3-Kathrin Hendrich, 12-Laura Benkarth, 20-Lina Magull, 21-Lisa Weiß, 24-Kristin Demann, 26-Hasret Kayikci, 27-Sara Doorsoun, 31-Linda Dallman
Head coach: Steffi Jones
Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 6
Offside: 2 / 0
GER – Elizabeth Kerschowski (caution) 42nd minute
GER – Anna Blasse (caution) 63
USA – Lindsay Horan (caution) 90
Referee: Carol Ann Chenard (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Princess Brown (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM)
4th Official: Cardella Samuels (JAM)
Player of the match: Allie Long