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WNT vs. Brazil: Highlights - December 21, 2014

The U.S. WNT wrapped up 2014 with a 0-0 draw against Brazil in the International Tournament of Brasilia.

WNT Ties Brazil 0-0 in Title Game at International Tournament of Brasilia

BRASILIA, Brazil (Dec. 21, 2014) – Playing in steady rain on a saturated pitch, the U.S. Women’s National Team tied Brazil 0-0 in the championship match of the 2014 International Tournament of Brasilia. As Brazil accumulated more points than the USA during the group stage (nine points to the U.S. WNT’s four), Brazil was awarded to the tournament title. 

The U.S. finishes runner-up after posting a 1-1-1 record in group play. 

The match marked just the second time the USA and Brazil have played to a scoreless draw in their storied history. The previous occasion was on June 27, 2000, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. 

In the USA’s final match of 2014, its two best scoring chances came in the second half. The first came off a 59th-minute cross from Tobin Heath on the left wing. She picked out Abby Wambach, who was making a run to the far post, but the pass was just a bit too high and the 5-11 striker sent her header just outside the upper right corner of the goal. 

In the 86th minute, a Becky Sauerbrunn header off of a Megan Rapinoe corner kick was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Luciana and Brazil fended off the USA’s late attack to secure the draw. 

The USA did put the ball in the net in extra time as Carli Lloyd finished into the lower left corner from close range, but the goal was waved away for offside. After Heather O’Reilly played a cross in from the left side, the ball was headed up in the air by Morgan Brian. Amy Rodriguez was in an offside position on the header, but did not touch the ball, which bounced off a Brazilian defender straight to Lloyd, who slotted home. 

Brazil had the better overall possession in the match, but its scoring chances were few. Brazil’s best chance came in the 38th minute off of a Marta corner kick from the right side. Monica, who did not play against the USA in the teams’ previous tournament matchup, rose from eight yards out and headed the ball just wide left of the frame. 

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo was forced to make just one save on a shot from distance, but she was tremendous controlling her penalty area and had several excellent punches during the match. 

In the third-place game, China PR and Argentina played to a scoreless draw. With more points in group play, China (1-1-1, 4 points in the group stage) was awarded third place over Argentina (0-3-0, 0 points in group). 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
(None) 

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Hope Solo, 30th minute: Just after Morgan Brian was issued a yellow card for a foul against Andressa Alves, Brazil’s Marta delivered a dangerous free kick toward the penalty spot. Solo confidently read the ball and punched it toward the edge of the box for the USA defense to clear it out of harm’s way. 

BRA – Luciana, 60th minute: The USA played the ball from the midfield behind Brazil’s defense in the direction of Tobin Heath, who was in a one-on-one against Brazil goalkeeper Luciana but the net-minder won the foot race, beating Heath by one step to prevent a potential U.S. goal.

USA – Hope Solo, 83rd minute: Brazil’s corner kick was whipped in and Solo punched the ball away. Though Brazil did follow with a volley from the top of the box, it sailed over the goal as the USA continued to maintain its clean sheet.

BRA – Luciana, 86th minute: Off of a Megan Rapinoe corner kick, U.S. center back Becky Sauerbrunn rose for the header at the back host and directed back across toward the center bar. However, Luciana rose up to palm the shot away.

Milestone Watch:

  • U.S. WNT captain Christie Rampone earned her 304th-career cap. She is second on the USA’s all-time list behind only Kristine Lilly’s 352 appearances.
  • Goalkeeper Hope Solo, the USA’s all-time leader in career shutouts, earned her 78th clean sheet. It was her 11th shutout in 2014.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. WNT begins 2015 with a January camp at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, California, followed by two matches in in Europe in early February. The USA faces France on Feb. 8 in Lorient, followed by England on Feb. 13 at a venue to be determined.
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram 

Additional Notes:

  • The USA wraps up its 2014 schedule with a 16-3-5 record.
  • The U.S. is 16-1-5 under head coach Jill Ellis.
  • After Alyssa Naeher played in the last match against Argentina, earning her first cap, Hope Solo returned to the goal, anchoring a defense featuring right back Meghan Klingenberg, left back Lori Chalupny and the center back duo of Becky Sauerbrunn and team captain Christie Rampone.
  • The starting midfield of the USA’s 4-3-3 included Lauren Holiday, Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian.
  • The front line included Tobin Heath, Abby Wambach and Kelley O’Hara from left to right. O’Hara has played as an outside back for the WNT since 2012, but she returned to forward, a position at which she won the MAC Hermann Trophy at Stanford.
  • Three U.S. forwards were unavailable for Sunday’s final. Sydney Leroux served her suspension after receiving a red card late in the second half against Argentina on Thursday. Christen Press returned to the United States because of a death in her family. Alex Morgan is still not cleared to play as she completes her recovery from an ankle injury.
  • Outside back Ali Krieger replaced Chalupny in the 55th minute. Chalupny started in three of the tournament’s four games.
  • In the 74th minute, Megan Rapinoe entered for O’Hara and Amy Rodriguez replaced Wambach. Rodriguez made her first appearance of the tournament.
  • Heather O’Reilly was the USA’s fourth and final sub in the 80th minute as she took over from Heath.
  • Lloyd caps off the year as the U.S. WNT’s leader with 15 goals and eight assists. Wambach was second on the team with 14 goals and Rapinoe was second in assists with seven.
  • Lloyd and Press tied for the team lead with 23 appearances in the USA’s 24 matches. 

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report - 

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Brazil
Date: Dec. 21, 2014
Competition: 2014 International Tournament of Brasilia; Final
Venue: Mané Garrincha Stadium; Brasilia, Brazil
Kickoff: 7 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET
Attendance: 11,000
Weather: 72 degrees; Steady rain 

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            0          0          0
BRA                            0          0          0 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 25-Meghan Klingenberg, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 16-Lori Chalupny (11-Ali Krieger, 56); 7-Morgan Brian, 10-Carli Lloyd, 12-Lauren Holiday; 17-Tobin Heath (9-Heather O’Reilly, 81), 20-Abby Wambach (8-Amy Rodriguez, 74), 5-Kelley O’Hara (15-Megan Rapinoe, 73)
Subs Not Used: 6-Whitney Engen, 13-Alex Morgan, 14-Julie Johnston, 18-Alyssa Naeher, 19-Crystal Dunn, 22-Samantha Mewis
Suspended: 2-Sydney Leroux
Head Coach: Jill Ellis 

BRA: 12-Luciana; 2-Poliana, 3-Bruna (capt.), 14-Monica, 11- Andressa Alves (17-Andressinha, 89), 7-Maurine (6-Tamires, 57), 5-Thaisa, 20-Formiga, 8-Rosana (21-Beatriz, 57), 10-Marta, 9-Debinha
Subs Not Used: 1-Andreia Suntaque, 4-Tayla, 13-Camila, 15-Erika, 16-Rafaelle, 18-Fernandes, 19-Darlene, 22-Gabi, 23-Barbara
Head Coach: Oswaldo Alvarez 

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 4 / 4
Shots on Goal: 1 / 1
Saves: 1 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 18 / 9
Offside: 3 / 2 

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Morgan Brian (caution)                       30th minute
USA – Tobin Heath (caution)                         51
USA – Abby Wambach (caution)                   72 

Officials:
Referee: n/a
Assistant Referee 1: n/a
Assistant Referee 2: n/a
Fourth Official: n/a 

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Morgan Brian 

Unexpected Soccer Tennis

A heavy storm in Brasilia, Brazil, the night before the U.S. WNT’s scheduled match with Argentina on Dec. 17 forced the postponement of the game just hours before kickoff. Undeterred, the U.S. team got in a few highly competitive games of soccer tennis just to get the legs moving.

WNT Takes On Brazil

A match against Brazil in Brazil is one of the most difficult in women's soccer. Coming off a 1-1 draw with China, the USA will take on the hosts of the International Tournament of Brasilia on Dec. 14 on the second match day of this four-team competition.

The tenacious and skillful Sauerbrunn, who was a captain for the USA at the U-19 level, has shown the ability to play in the center and on the outside. She made her debut in Pia Sundhage's first match in 2008. Sauerbrunn started three matches during the USA's championship run at the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Vancouver, Canada. In 2011, she set personal highs with 12 games and eight starts while making her first Women's World Cup roster with a 90-minute performance in the semifinal victory against France.

Called into the U.S. team for the first time in January of 2008 and then earned a place on the roster for the Four Nations Tournament in China where she earned her first caps … Her first start and cap against Canada on Jan. 16, 2008, was also Pia Sundhage’s first match as head coach … Trained with the WNT in February of that year, but then traveled to Spain with the U.S. U-23s … Did not get another call-up to the senior team until after the 2010 WPS season and worked her way into the mix ... 2012: Saw the most action of her National Team career so far, playing 1,255 minutes over 22 games while making nine starts … Played both centerback and at outside back during the year … Made her first Olympic Team and played in three matches off the bench … Only played 38 total minutes, but was a sub in both the semifinal and the final to help seal those victories and the Olympic gold medal … Started and played every minute of three matches at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualiyfing tournament in Vancouver, Canada … 2011: Had her best year yet for the National Team, playing in 12 games while starting eight and made her first Women’s World Cup roster at the senior level … Played in just one match in Germany but had a stellar game while playing all 90 minutes during the semifinal victory against France, stepping up in a big way to replace the suspended Rachel Buehler … 2010: Played in five matches, starting three, and made the roster for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament, playing in one match … Was called into a training camp prior to the qualifying roster being named due to an injury to another player and ended up making the roster and solidifying her place in the national team pool … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-21s/U-23s in 2007 and 2008, winning Nordic Cup titles in both years … Co-captain of Nordic Cup champion U-23s in 2008 … Was a starter and co-captain for the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand, playing every minute of all six games … Completed her U-19 career with 25 caps … Member of U.S. U-16s and U-17s from 2000-02 … Attended the U.S. U-14 I.D. camp in 1999 … First Appearance: Jan. 16, 2008, vs. Canada … First Goal: None.

2012: Allocated to FC Kansas City for the inaugural NWSL season … The only player to play every minute of the first two WPS regular seasons, a streak that was only broken when she left to play for the USA at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany … She played every minute of every match she played in her WPS career … Signed with Sky Blue FC as a free agent for the 2012 season before the league folded … 2011: Signed with magicJack and played in 13 regular season games, tied for most WPS matches played by a U.S. WNT player, while playing all 1,170 minutes (most by a WNT player) … Also played all 180 minutes over magicJack’s two playoff games … 2010: She started all 24 matches for the Washington Freedom and picked one up assist … Played all 120 minutes in playoff match against Philadelphia … 2009: Selected by the Washington Freedom as the third overall pick in the 2008 WPS General Draft ahead of the inaugural season … She started all 20 games and scored one goal, a spectacular header for the Freedom’s first WPS goal … Immediately after the 2009 WPS season, she played three months in Norway for Røa IL, a club right outside of Oslo … Her team finished first in the league and won the Norwegian Cup … She also played two rounds of UEFA Champions League, defeating Everton of England and FK Zvezda of Russia in two-leg series’ to get to the final eight … 2008: Played for the Freedom in W-League during 2008 … Played for the Richmond Kickers in the W-League in 2006-07 and the Boston Renegades in 2005 … Youth: Played youth club for J.B. Marine and helped lead her teams to four state cup titles and a 2000 regional championship.

Full name is Rebecca Elizabeth Sauerbrunn … Majored in English literature and composition at Virginia … Was midway through getting her master’s in education from UVA when WPS started, so she put her studies on hold … Loves country music … Loves science fiction, and her favorite book is “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card … Will name her first cat “Ender” after her favorite character in the book … Favorite all-time TV show is “Lost” … Favorite movie is “The Shawshank Redemption” … Loves going to movies and enjoys writing … Favorite soccer team is Arsenal but also really likes watching Real Madrid and Bayern Munich … Likes Liverpool centerback Martin Skrtel for some irrational reason … Favorite color is grey … The youngest of three children, she has two older brothers … Surprisingly good at video games, especially racing and adventure ones, especially Zelda … Has a dry, dark sense of humor that still often catches her teammates off guard … Favorite number is 11, and during the past 15 years she has either worn 11 or 22, but at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2012 Olympics she wore the number 4 and has remained in that number ever since.

 Played at Virginia from 2003 to 2007 … Played every game and all but 10 minutes during her college career … She became the Cavaliers’ only three-time NSCAA All-American and was named First-Team NSCAA All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2007 … Part of defensive unit that led the nation in goals against average (0.40) and set a school record with 15 shutouts in 2007 … NSCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2007 … As a junior in 2006, she was an NSCAA Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC … Started all 22 games and played every minute of the season … Named to the ACC All-Academic Team in 2006 … As a sophomore in 2005, she was Second-Team All-ACC, started every game and played every minute of the season … Had one goal and two assists … Her 2,289 minutes played set a Virginia record for a season … Red-shirted what would have been her sophomore season in 2004 to play in the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup … As a freshman in 2003, she was an NSCAA First-Team All-American, Second-Team All-ACC and the ACC Freshman of the Year … Started all 21 games and played every minute of the season … High School: Attended Ladue High School where she was a two-time NSCAA Youth All-American and a two-time Parade All-American … She was the 2003 Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year … First-Team St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro as a senior … She had 21 goals and 19 assists during her senior year … Was also conference player of the year in volleyball and basketball … St. Louis Post-Dispatch Scholar-Athlete Award winner.
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