SheBelieves Cup: USWNT and England tie, Japan beats Brazil
The SheBelieves Cup concludes Tuesday with Japan vs. England and U.S. vs. Brazil
Megan Rapinoe scored the game's first goal for the United States in the 2-2 draw vs. England. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)
Megan Rapinoe scored the game's first goal for the United States in the 2-2 draw vs. England. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The United States and England tied 2-2 in a back-and-forth game to conclude Day 2 of the SheBelieves Cup in Nashville. The result is the second consecutive 2-2 draw for the United States in the tournament, and drops their overall record in 2019 to 1-1-2.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of things we need to fix from the last two games – the goals against. There’s some great lessons in here for us but we have to learn them. We have to get better. We can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again,” Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe said on FOX after the game.

“Too many technical errors, too many tactical lapses, and we’re getting exposed for it. And onto the World Cup, it’s only going to get worse so we need to learn from these things quickly.”

The U.S. is in third place in the tournament with two points. Japan and England are tied on points with four, and Japan is in first place on goal differential.

On Saturday vs. England, Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch earned the start and her first international appearance as Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher missed the match with a shoulder injury.

After a fairly quiet first half hour, both teams scored brilliant goals to take the game into halftime tied at 1-1.

The United States got on the scoresheet first courtesy of a half-volley from Rapinoe. Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O’Hara played a cross into the box that was headed by England defender Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), but Daly’s clearance didn’t go far and fell right to Rapinoe.

England evened the score in the 36th minute on an indirect free kick goal from Steph Houghton. The free kick was set up after Franch picked up a back pass from Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) with her hands in the penalty box.

After a lengthy delay setting up the free kick, England midfielder Toni Duggan took the first touch and then Houghton bent her shot around the wall, past a diving Franch and inside the far post.

England took the lead in the 52nd minute. Fran Kirby chipped a pass over the United States backline and into the path of Nikita Parris, who slotted it to the far post and past Franch to make it 2-1 in favor of the Lionesses.

England pestered the United States backline all game. In the 62nd minute, Ellen White stole a pass from Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), but hit her shot just wide. Then a minute later, White drew a dangerous free kick from 30 yards out, but Houghton’s shot was deflected by Christen Press (Utah Royals FC) on the wall.

Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn subbed on in the 61st minute, her first appearance of the tournament after missing Wednesday’s opener with a minor injury. Courage midfielder Sam Mewis also made her first appearance of the tournament, subbing on in the 64th minute.

The United States evened it in the 67th minute after a scramble in the box. Rapinoe’s corner kick bounced around and off several players from both teams. Daly cleared one shot off the line, but Portland Thorns FC forward Tobin Heath hit the rebound into the goal to tie the match at 2-2.

The U.S. had a chance to take the lead in the 78th minute, Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz‘s header off a Rapinoe corner kick skimmed off the crossbar.

England also had chances late. In the 90th minute, Reign FC forward Jodie Taylor, who subbed on minutes earlier, played a pass to Duggan, but Duggan’s shot was right at Franch.

The United States pushed hard late for a goal, and Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan had  a chance in the game’s final moments, but England cleared the ball away before she could take a shot.

“I feel like they did leave it all out there on the field. I think we can start the game with the same intensity and enthusiasm we finished that game. But proud of the effort for sure in the second half, valuable lessons for sure,” U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis said on FOX after the game.


In Saturday’s first game, Debinha scored, but Brazil gave up two late goals to Japan to drop their second game of the SheBelieves Cup.

With the 3-1 win, Japan has four points and, following the United States-England draw, is in first place in the tournament. Japan and England are tied on points with four, but Japan is in first place on goal differential. Japan will face England on Tuesday and both teams can claim the SheBelieves Cup title with a win.

Brazil is now eliminated from contending for the SheBelieves Cup. It’s Brazil’s sixth straight loss, a streak that began with a 4-1 loss to the United States at the 2018 Tournament of Nations on August 2. Brazil’s last win was over Japan in last summer’s Tournament of Nations, a 2-1 win on July 29.

On Saturday, Brazil had the majority of the chances in the first half vs. Japan, but fell behind 1-0 on a 44th minute chip from Yuka Momiki.

Momiki scored the 91st minute game-tying goal for Japan vs. the United States on Wednesday night.

But Brazil came out strong in the second half, again earning more good chances than Japan, and eventually capitalized to tie the game. After a number of Brazil shots in the box, North Carolina Courage midfielder Debinha collected a loose ball, turned and sent a right-footed shot across her body and into the lower left corner of the goal to make it 1-1.

Debinha and Orlando Pride forward Marta, who both played all 90 minutes, were key offensive sparks for Brazil in the game.

Japan, however, found their moments and scored two goals in the final ten minutes of the match to take the 3-1 win.

First, after a Japan counterattack led by Jun Endo, Rikako Kobayashi scored on a header assisted by Momiki.

Then in the 85th minute, Yui Hasegawa scored on a left-footed shot through traffic to seal the match.

The SheBelieves Cup concludes on Tuesday night with Japan vs. England and United States vs. Brazil.

 

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