USA vs. Japan
The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Japan 3-0 on Thursday night with Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Alex Morgan each contributing a goal for the victory. The USA finished in second place in the Tournament of Nations while Australia was crowned champions following a dominant 6-1 victory against Brazil and a perfect 3-0 record.
Sky Blue FC’s Kelley O’Hara earned her 99th cap after getting the starting nod for the second consecutive match. She is one game away from becoming the 36th USWNT player to reach the centennial mark.
The U.S. opened up scoring in the 12th minute of action. On the play, O’Hara played a long ball in to Christen Press. Press dribbled forward toward goal and delayed her progress just enough to allow Rapinoe to make a run into the box. Press split two defenders with her pass to Rapinoe, and Rapinoe juked her defender and the keeper before slitting the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 advantage.
The Japanese came close to converting in the 32nd minute, but was thwarted by Julie Ertz when she made a recovery run towards goal to make the save. However, after clearing the ball out of danger, she collided into the post and was slow to get back up. Ertz did return to the field, but was eventually taken out in the 54th minute.
The USA got on the scoreboard again in the 60th minute off a Malory Pugh tally. After winning possession in the midfield, Taylor Smith played a ball between two Japanese defenders and right into Pugh’s stride. Pugh cut towards goal and penetrated into the box before beating the keeper on the near side for the 2-0 lead.
Smith once again earned an assist in the 80th minute by feeding a ball into the box from the right flank. Waiting to strike was Morgan, who placed the ball into the back of the net for the 3-0 lead and her first goal of 2017.
The USWNT will return to action in September when the squad plays a pair of friendlies against New Zealand on Sept. 15 ( 8 p.m. MT, ESPN2) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, and on Sept. 19 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1) at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Australia vs. Brazil
After a dominating 6-1 win against Brazil on Thursday night, Australia claimed the inaugural Tournament of Nations title after going undefeated in tournament play. Both Lisa De Vanna and Caitlin Foord scored a brace while Katrina Gorry and Sam Kerr added a tally a piece to secure the victory.
The Matildas once again found themselves in a 1-0 deficit early in a match after Camilla opened up scoring off a set-piece play by Tamires. And once again, the Aussies responded by going on a scoring spree in the first half.
In the 11th minute, Australia was awarded a penalty kick, and De Vanna stepped up to the line to take it. Her first attempt was blocked by netminder Dani Neuhaus, but De Vanna was quick to follow her shot and converted off the rebound for the equalizer.
Brazil appeared to be on the verge of taking back the lead in the 31st minute after a poor defensive touch created a one-on-one opportunity in the box, but Mackenzie Arnold came up big to make the save. Arnold then quickly rolled the ball out to Emily Van Egmond, who played a long ball forward to a sprinting Kerr on the right flank. Kerr used her speed to dribble into the box, then played a ball across to Foord for the easy finish and a 2-1 lead in the 32nd minute.
The Aussies scored just two minutes later in similar fashion, only this time Kerr would attack from the left side of the field and feed the ball across the box to a wide open De Vanna for the 3-1 advantage.
The Matildas continued their onslaught in the 41st minute when Kerr hustled to keep the ball in play near the right end line and played a pass backwards to teammate Ellie Carpenter. Carpenter slipped a ball through to Katrina Gory, and Gory cut her way around her mark before firing a shot towards the opposite post. The ball bounced off the frame and into the back of the net, and the Aussies took the 4-1 score line into the locker room.
Foord earned her brace in the 68th minute after getting behind the Brazlian backline for a one-on-one against Neuhaus. After receiving a through ball from Tameka Butt, Foord tapped the ball around the keeper before sending home her second tally of the contest.
Sky Blue FC’s Kerr ended the tournament on a high note by getting on the score sheet in the 81st minute. On the play, Kerr controlled the ball in the air off her chest and continued to progress forward despite being marked by two defenders. She then struck the ball with her left towards the right corner of the net, and despite Neuhaus getting a piece of it, she could not stop Kerr’s shot. The goal marked her fourth of the tournament.