Alex Morgan scored to give the USWNT a two-goal advantage. (Photo courtesy of FIFA)
LE HAVRE, France — The U.S. women’s national team defeated France, 2-0, to cap off its two-game April trip to Europe with a strong start-to-finish victory Tuesday.
In a showdown between two of the top three teams in the FIFA world rankings, No. 1 USA got on the board early vs. No. 3 France as Megan Rapinoe converted her second penalty in as many games during just the fifth minute of play. Alex Morgan doubled the advantage 14 minutes later.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and the U.S. back line recorded the clean sheet, her first against France in five tries and 10th in her last 11 matches.
Both teams entered the evening riding significant undefeated streaks, the USA without a loss in its last 38 games and France in its last 16. The USWNT’s last defeat had come to France in Le Havre in January 2019, but this time the Americans controlled the match all over the field and outshot France, 16-3.
After the USWNT came out of the gate with early pressure, Morgan was brought down in the box when Aïssatou Tounkara stomped on her foot and the referee pointed to the spot. Rapinoe finished the penalty for her team-leading seventh goal of the year. After also scoring a penalty for the USA’s lone goal vs. Sweden April 10, Rapinoe has scored five goals over four consecutive games for the U.S.
Morgan netted a goal in the 19th minute off a Christen Press feed. The pair combined well and their efforts were rewarded with Morgan’s tally from a tight angle on the right side of the six-yard box. The goal marked her seventh vs. France all-time, the most by any American vs. Les Bleues. Press has been involved in 30 goals in her last 32 USWNT games (13 goals, 17 assists).
As the half wore on, France began to show more aggression and came out of its defensive shape a bit, creating several dangerous opportunities off corner kicks and forcing some action for Naeher. France keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin was also called upon to make a few key saves late in the first half, leaping to redirect a hard Crystal Dunn shot in the 35th minute and swallowing up a cross from Kelley O’Hara two minutes later.
France continued to grow into the game and threaten in the second half, but the USA still held the upper hand and had the better of offensive opportunities down the stretch. The USWNT unveiled a formational wrinkle with its first sub of the second half as midfielder Lindsey Horan entered for Rapinoe. With four formidable midfielders on the field, Rose Lavelle shifted up to the right wing, where she continued to be productive and nearly teed up a third U.S. goal in the 84th minute.