Christen Press gave the USWNT a 1-0 lead. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
ORLANDO – The U.S. Women’s National Team put together an entertaining performance during a 2-0 victory against Brazil in second of its three matches at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup Sunday.
Goals early and late from Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe, respectively – both teed up by Lindsey Horan – earned the USA the full three points as well as first place in the tournament standings with one match day left to play.
The match marked the first time the USA has faced a Brazil team coached by former USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage, who led the USA to gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.
The victory puts the USA (2-0-0, 6 points) in sole possession of the top spot in the SheBelieves Cup standings and in pole position to take home the tournament title. A win or draw against Argentina on Wednesday, Feb. 24 would see the USA clinch tournament title. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. ET on FS1 and TUDN from Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
After both Brazil and the USA won their opening matches of the tournament on Thursday, the USWNT’s relentless early pressure was rewarded in the 11th minute when Lindsey Horan sent a pass to Press down the left wing and after a nifty bit of dribbling into the penalty area, she ripped a shot from the top corner of the box for the game’s opening goal and her 10th in her last 13 games. It was also her 59th career goal for the United States. She sits in 10th all-time for the USA but her next goal will tie her for ninth place with Shannon MacMillan.
In a free-flowing game that featured tremendous transition play from both teams, the U.S. continued to threaten down the stretch and the aftermath of a free kick sparked an insurance goal for the WNT, as Horan served a ball for Rapinoe to volley home in the 88th minute. It was Rapinoe’s 54th career international goal.
Horan logged her 30th and 31st career assists and became the 18th player in USWNT history to record 30 or more.
The USA put pressure on Brazil from the opening whistle and created a number of early scoring opportunities. Midfielder Rose Lavelle was able to pick apart the Brazil defense with her dribbling, and on several occasions, had just one player to beat to set up prime scoring chances, only to see the ball poked away. Press and Lynn Williams threatened on the wings and put in some tremendous defensive work while Alex Morgan, making her first start since the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, also sprung a number of attacking chances.
Brazil only had two shots on goal during the match but looked dangerous the entire game and the South American’s best chance of the first half off a break from Debinha and Ludmila was thwarted on a brilliant sliding blocked shot from Crystal Dunn inside the penalty area.
The two attackers would create a number of chances for Brazil on the break down the stretch, but the USWNT defense held strong with a number of clutch defensive plays deep in its own territory to hold the Canarinhas scoreless. The USA hasn’t allowed a goal in its last five matches and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has recorded 10 consecutive shutouts, the longest individual streak in WNT history.
Once again, U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s substitutes made an impact off the bench. Rapinoe’s late goal was not only the clincher but marked the fifth-straight game that a second-half substitute has scored.