After a loss on Saturday to France, the United States ground out a 1-0 win over Spain on Tuesday at Estadio José Rico Pérez in Alicante. Both teams are headed to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and could meet again this summer — but Tuesday’s game marked the first time the countries had ever played each other. It’s also the first time the U.S. has ever played in Spain.
Utah Royals FC forward Christen Press gave the USWNT the 1-0 lead in the 54th minute with an impressive individual effort. After receiving a pass from Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle several yards shy of the midfield line, Press sprinted the more than half the field and bent a short around goalkeeper Sandra Paños. Spain defender Andrea Pereira tried to clear the ball, but it rolled over the line.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) January 22, 2019
North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni came on in the 69th minute to replace Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz. It’s Zerboni’s first game since breaking her left elbow in September in a USWNT game vs. Chile. Zerboni missed the NWSL playoffs and the Concacaf Women’s Championship due to the injury.
Pride forward Alex Morgan came into the game sitting on 98 goals, and nearly had her 99th in the 80th minute, but Paños hit the long-range effort over the crossbar.
Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe wowed fans with a bicycle kick in the 13th minute as she served the ball into a dangerous area of the box, but it was just out of the reach of Ertz and Morgan, and the U.S. was unable to capitalize on it.
Rapinoe, Ertz and Heath all missed Saturday’s loss to France due to precautionary reasons, but were back in the starting line-up on Tuesday.
The USWNT will next be in action when the SheBelieves Cup begins on February 27.
Starting XI vs. Spain: Alyssa Naeher, Emily Sonnett, Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. The available subs: Samantha Mewis, Carli Lloyd, Mallory Pugh, Tierna Davidson, Jessica McDonald, Christen Press, Ashlyn Harris, McCall Zerboni and Andi Sullivan.