Alex Morgan scored her 98th international goal. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
PAISLEY, Scotland – Alex Morgan scored her 98th international goal as the U.S. defense made sure it held up with a 1-0 victory over Scotland at Simple Digital Arena Tuesday night.
The defending world champion Americans. No. 1 in the FIFA rankings, finished 2018 at 18-0-2.
The USA had the lion’s share of possession throughout the match, as Scotland dropped 11 players inside its own half for most of the game, making it difficult for the visitors to create opportunities.
The Americans finally broke through when Mallory Pugh sent a cross into the six-yard box for Morgan, who finished with a full volley for the game-winner and her 18th goal of the year.
Scotland did not manage to get any shots on goal in the half but had two in the second half.
The hosts made three halftime substitutions and created a few more opportunities, but the USA set the tempo and maintained its lead with some solid defending. In the 62nd minute, Pugh was brought down inside the box, earning a penalty kick for the USA. Carli Lloyd stepped up to take the spot kick but her attempt smashed the cross bar and the USA carried the 1-0 score line to the end of the game.
The U.S. players will go into a much-deserved holiday break before the team reconvenes for its annual January training camp, which will take place in Europe. The Americans will face World Cup host France at Stade Océane in Le Havre on Jan. 19 (2:30 p.m. ET; FS1) to open their 2019 campaign.