Alex Morgan gave the USA a 75th-minute lead. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
CHESTER, Pa. – The U.S. women’s national team is far from a finished product for the Women’s World Cup.
Case in point: Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw with Japan in the Americans’ opening match of the SheBelieves Cup.
Clinging to a one-goal lead a minute into stoppage time, the U.S. conceded a goal to Yuk Momiki and walked out of Talen Energy Stadium with one point instead of three.
The result left the U.S. in third place after England posted a 2-1 win over Brazil in the opening match of the doubleheader before a crowd of 14,555.
On a cold night, both teams began the game with quality possession while playing at pace, but the USA was able to create more dangerous opportunities in the attacking third, a theme that held up for the entire 90 minutes.
Japan nearly struck in the 11th minute when Kumi Yokoyama hit the crossbar from the right side of the penalty area. The USA, however, that broke through in the 23rd minute thanks to a fine run from Tobin Heath down the right side to the end line. With the Japanese goalkeeper at the near post, Heath played a pass to Megan Rapinoe and she finished into the open net.
The hosts made a planned substitution at halftime with Emily Sonnett coming on for Kelley O’Hara and continued pressing for another goal, but Japan equalized in the 67th minute on a nice finish from Emi Nakajima. The goal came on Japan’s first shot on goal.
Christen Press, who came into the game in the 75th minute, made an immediate impact and provided the crucial assist for Alex Morgan’s 99th career goal, which she netted a minute later to put the USA up 2-1.
As time ticked down, it looked as though the USA would see out the game comfortably, but after a delay in the match due to an injury to the assistant referee, five minutes of time were added and Japan got a final chance to tie the match.
A turnover led to Yui Hasegawa getting loose in the left side of the box she rolled the ball across the goal to the back post for Yuka Momiki who roofed the equalizer over a diving goalkeeper Alyssa Naher in the 91st minute, pulling the game even 2-2.
England 2, Brazil 1
In the opener, England overcame a first-half penalty kick from Andressa to defeat Brazil, 2-1.
Brazil got on the board first when six-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta raced into the penalty area in the 15th minute and won the penalty kick that was converted by Andressa, but England equalized in the 49th minute after Fran Kirby assisted Ellen White’s equalizer just four minutes into the second half. Kirby again provided the assist in the 75th minute on Beth Mead’s stunning shot across the face of the goal into the left side netting for the game-winner.