It may have taken them 28 tries, but the Matildas didn’t just find their first win against the U.S. women’s national team on Thursday night — they also shut them out on home soil. Houston Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams provided three major saves for Australia in the 1-0 win over the United States to open the Tournament of Nations.
Australian midfielder Tameka Butt provided the only goal of the match in the 67th minute, with an assist from midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight. With the U.S. backline converging at the top of the box, they were unable to clear it past Kellond-Knight. She lofted a ball over the top as Butt slipped through a gap, then finished past Alyssa Naeher for her eighth career goal for Australia.
— Westfield Matildas (@TheMatildas) July 28, 2017
The entire Starting XI for the U.S. women’s national team featured NWSL players, as well as four of Australia’s. Portland Thorns forward Hayley Raso also entered the match as a substitute for the Matildas. Notably, North Carolina Courage defender Taylor Smith earned her first cap and start on Thursday in the match.
The USWNT had a comfortable grasp on the first 15 minutes of play, but were unable to find success in the final third. The best look in the first half came from a connection between Chicago Red Stars forward Christen Press and Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe cut inside and fired off a shot with her right foot in the 11th minute, but Williams was equal to the task.
— NWSL (@NWSL) July 28, 2017
In the 70th minute, Williams would need to come up with another giant stop, this time against her own Houston Dash teammate Carli Lloyd. Rapinoe sent a cross in from the left wing and found Lloyd at the top of the box. Lloyd one-timed a shot, and Williams came up with a diving parry.
In the 82nd minute, Rapinoe once again was the creative engine for another U.S. attack, springing substitute Alex Morgan with a threaded pass. Morgan managed to hold off her Orlando Pride teammate and Australia defender Steph Catley, but her left-footed shot went into the side netting.
With time running out, the U.S. had one last real look at goal, as Sky Blue FC’s Kelley O’Hara tried for a repeat on some brilliant service. Her cross in from the wing looked just like her assist on a Sam Kerr goal earlier this season in the NWSL, but Crystal Dunn’s chance was thwarted by Lydia Williams once again.
At the close of the first day of the Tournament of Nations, the host nation is on the bottom of the table. Australia is in first place with all three points, and Brazil and Japan settled for a 1-1 draw that featured a brilliant strike from Orlando Pride defender Camila.
The USWNT will face Brazil next on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. at 8:00 p.m. ET.