Carli Lloyd: “Long gone are the days of always winning. It’s not going to be easy.” (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The less said about the United States’ women in Tuesday night’s SheBelieves Cup finale Tuesday night.
For the second time in four days, the world champion Americans were blanked at home as France rolled to a 3-0 victory at RFK Stadium. It was the worst defeat by the USA women since a 4-0 pasting in the 2007 Women’s World Cup semifinals in China.
In fact, the red, white and blue walked out of the stadium red-faced as it finished in fourth and last place in the competition.
“It’s disappointing,” U.S. captain Carli Lloyd said. “We came in fourth. We scored one goal. Long gone are the days of always winning. It’s not going to be easy.”
The USA started on a positive note, defeating Germany, 1-0, in Chester, Pa. last week. It then dropped a 1-0 decision to England at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Saturday.
And then there was Tuesday night’s debacle before a crowd of 21,638.
“Congratulations to France for their deserving #SheBelievesCup 2017 title. Needs to be better from us,” U.S. forward Alex Morgan said on Twitter. “Thank you DC for the love.”
Camille Abily struck for a brace and Eugenie Le Sommer added a third goal.
The French scored two goals in the first nine minutes and rarely were threatened.
Le Sommer got behind the defense for a through ball and was tripped in the box by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Abily rolled the ensuing penalty kick up the middle in the eighth minute as Naeher dove to her left.
Le Sommer doubled the score only a minute later after racing past the defense again to be possess Wendie Renard’s long ball. She split two defenders and slotted it near post.
France took the lead in the eighth minute off a penalty kick and just a minute later, Eugénie Le Sommer used her speed to sprint onto a long ball by Wendie Renard. She out-ran the U.S. defense, cut back skillfully to beat another retreating defender and slid the ball past Alyssa Naeher to go up 2-0.
U.S. head coach Jill Ellis made two changes to start the second half, bringing on Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn of Rockville Centre, N.Y. and the USA did not suffer for scoring chances during the game. In the 56th minute, Pugh fired a solid shot from the left corner of the box that looked destined for the near post, but France goalkeeper Meline Gérard did well to punch it clear.
France sealed the deal on Abily’s goal in the 63rd minute. Eve Perisset, who found herself open left open down the right side. She then played the ball across goal to Abily.
FRA – Camille Abily (penalty kick) 8th minute
FRA – Eugenie Le Sommer (Wendie Renard) 9
USA – Camille Abily (Eve Perriset) 63
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 20-Allie Long, 7-Casey Short; 16-Rose Lavelle (2-Mallory Pugh, 45), 3-Samantha Mewis (9-Lindsey Horan, 70), 6-Morgan Brian (8-Julie Johnston, 70), 17-Tobin Heath, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (5-Kelley O’Hara, 78); 12-Lynn Williams (13-Alex Morgan, 70), 23-Christen Press (19-Crystal Dunn, 45)
Subs not used: 11-Ali Krieger, 14-Jessica McDonald, 15-Emily Sonnett, 18-Jane Campbell, 22-Brianna Pinto, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis
FRA: 21-Meline Gerard; 2-Eve Perisset (5-Assatou Tounkara, 68), 3-Wendie Renard (capt.), 4-Laura Georges, 6-Amandine Henry, 7-Sandie Toletti (15-Elise Bussaglia, 53), 9-Eugenie Le Sommer (18-Marie Laure Delie, 65), 10-Camille Abily (17-Gaetane Thiney, 81), 12-Elodie Thomis (11-Clarie Lavogez, 70), 22-Amel Majri (14-Camille Catala, 81), 23-Sakina Karchaoui
Subs not used: 1-Laetitia Philippe, 16-Sarah Bouhaddi, 13-Kadidiatou Diani, 20-Grace Geyoro
Head coach: Olivier Echouafni
Stats Summary: USA / FRA
Shots: 13 / 12
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 7
Fouls: 9 / 15
Offside: 5 / 0
USA – Alyssa Naeher (caution) 7th minute
FRA – Sandi Toletti (caution) 18
FRA – Laura Georges (caution) 74
Referee: Marie-Soleil Beaudoin (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Chantel Boudreau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Marie-Han Gagnon-Chretien (CAN)
4th Official: Gillian Martindale (BRB)