U.S. Soccer

Williams Goal Steers USA to 1-0 Win vs. Germany in 2017 SheBelieves Cup Opener

CHESTER, Pa. (March 1, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team began its 2017 campaign and the SheBelieves Cup with a 1-0 victory against Germany in front of 16,318 fans at Talen Energy Stadium.

As was expected with the top two teams in the world, the affair was an evenly played match throughout the entire 90 minutes, but the Americans did have the advantage in possession and scoring chances. The USA’s first moment of danger came in the 10th minute following a throw-in by Becky Sauebrunn on the right flank. Samantha Mewis brought the ball down and it bounced to Crystal Dunn, who fired a shot from the right side of the six-yard box straight at Germany’s goalkeeper. Amulth Schult did well to push it out for a USA corner. In the ensuing corner kick, Tobin Heath sent a corner kick to the far side that found the head of Carli Lloyd, but she sent it just over the crossbar.

Germany responded with a chance of its own in the 12th minute when Sara Däbritz’s rocket seemed to be heading into the upper right corner, but U.S. ‘keeper Alyssa Naeher responded with a diving save and pushed the ball out of danger.

In the second half, the USA came out energized and in the 56th minute, Lynn Williams finally broke through to give the USA a 1-0 lead after Christen Press’ shot hit the crossbar and Tobin Heath’s follow up was blocked by a German defender. The ball then rolled to Williams and she finished smoothly to make it 1-0.

The U.S. took control of the match and missed several close chances in the latter part of the second half that would have sealed the game. Lloyd created a particularly dangerous chance as she dribbled around several defenders in the left side of the box and was one-on-one with the German goalkeeper, who made a great save to pin the ball with her legs.

The USA's team defense was excellent over the entire 90 minutes and for the most part kept the Germans out of dangerous spots to earn the shutout.

Up Next: The USA now travels to Harrison, New Jersey to take on England on Saturday, March 4 in a primetime matchup at 5 p.m. ET that will air live on FOX. Additionally, the WNT will also honor legendary defender and former captain Christie Rampone before the match on Saturday. In the first game of today’s doubleheader, France took the 2-1 victory with a dramatic game-winning goal in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time.

2017 SheBelieves Cup Standings

Team

GP

W

L

T

GD

Points

France

1

1

0

0

+1

3

USA

1

1

0

0

+1

3

England

1

0

1

0

-1

0

Germany

1

0

1

0

-1

0

Goal Scoring Rundown
USA – Lynn Williams 56th minute: Christen Press stole the ball from Isabel Kerschowski on the right flank and raced down the right wing, before cutting smartly into the penalty box while beating several defenders. She made enough space to fire a left-footed shot that hit the crossbar. The ball rebounded to Tobin Heath in the left side of the penalty area and her shot hit Kerschowski before settling for Lynn Williams to finish first-time with her right foot from eight yards out past another German defender and into the open net. It was her second career goal in her fifth international appearance. USA 1, GER 0. WATCH

Key Saves and Defensive Stops
GER – Amult Schult, 10th minute:
Early in the first half, Crystal Dunn ran onto a ball that Samantha Mewis had knocked down into the right side of the six-yard box and fired a shot straight at goal, which Germany’s Amult Schult did well to push out for a USA corner.

USA – Alyssa Naeher, 12th minute: Germany’s Sara Däbritz received a pass from the left side and ripped a shot from about 18-yards towards the U.S. goal. Naeher came up big, diving to her left and pushing the ball out for a Germany corner. Josephine Henning’s cross was then easily controlled by Naeher to maintain the scoreless draw.

GER – Amult Schult, 24th minute: After some nifty moves on the left side of the box, Christen Press slid a pass to Crystal Dunn who shot it to the upper 90, much like her goal from last year’s tournament against England, but this time Schult timed it well and jumped to catch the ball to keep the game scoreless.

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Additional Notes:

  • The USA played in a 3-4-1-2 formation to kick off 2017 with Casey Short, Allie Long and Becky Sauerbrunn in the back, Samantha Mewis and Morgan Brian in the middle; Crystal Dunn and Tobin Heath on the wings; Carli Lloyd playing behind Lynn Williams and Christen Press up top.
  • Williams earned her fifth cap for the WNT and scored her second international goal. She earned her first cap on Oct. 19 against Switzerland in Utah, where she came into the game in the second half, played the entire second 45 minutes and scored 49 seconds into her debut (a record until Kealia Ohai broke it four days later). She became the 20th player in WNT history to score in her first international appearance.
  • Alyssa Naeher made her 11th appearance tonight, her eighth start and earned her seventh career shutout for the USA.
  • The three-person backline of Becky Sauerbrunn, Allie Long and Casey Short started together for the fifth consecutive time (first time was on Oct. 19, 2016). Sauerbrunn earned her 120th cap, Long her 21st cap and Short her fifth. All three played all 90 minutes of the match.
  • Both Morgan Brian, who just turned 24 years old earlier this week and earned her 64th international appearance, and Samantha Mewis, who earned her 19th cap, played all 90 minutes tonight.
  • Mallory Pugh made her first appearance for the USA since the game against Sweden on Aug. 12 at the 2016 Olympic Games. Pugh came in for Crystal Dunn in the 58th minute.

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

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Germany
Date: March 1, 2017
Competition: SheBelieves Cup
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. ET
Attendance: 16,318
Weather: 64 degrees; cloudy

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

USA – Lynn Williams               56th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 20-Allie Long, 7-Casey Short; 19-Crystal Dunn (2-Mallory Pugh, 58), 6-Morgan Brian, 3-Samantha Mewis, 17-Tobin Heath 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 12-Lynn Williams (13-Alex Morgan, 79), 23-Christen Press (9-Lindsey Horan, 79)
Subs not used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 11-Ali Krieger, 14-Jessica McDonald, 15-Emily Sonnett, 16-Rose Lavelle, 18-Jane Campbell, 22-Brianna Pinto, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis

GER: 1-Almuth Schult, 2-Josephine Henning, 4-Leonie Maier, 5-Babett Peter, 9-Alexandra Popp, 10-Dzsenifer Marozsan, 11-Anja Mittag (15-Mandy Islacker, 74), 13-Sara Däbritz, 14-Anna Blässe (7-Pauline Bremer, 69), 17-Isabel Kerschowski (29-Felicitas Rauch, 74), 18-Lena Petermann (23-Verena Faißt, 45)
Subs not used:  3-Kathrin Hendrich, 12-Laura Benkarth, 20-Lina Magull, 21-Lisa Weiß, 24-Kristin Demann, 26-Hasret Kayikci, 27-Sara Doorsoun, 31-Linda Dallman
Head coach: Steffi Jones

Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 6
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
GER – Elizabeth Kerschowski (caution)                42nd minute
GER – Anna Blasse (caution)                        63
USA – Lindsay Horan (caution)                      90

Officials:
Referee: Carol Ann Chenard (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Princess Brown (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM)
4th Official: Cardella Samuels (JAM)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Allie Long

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WNT Mar 1, 2017

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

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Germany
Date: March 1, 2017
Competition: 2017 SheBelieves Cup
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. ET
Attendance: 16,318
Weather: 64 degrees; cloudy

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

USA – Lynn Williams                           56th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 20-Allie Long, 7-Casey Short; 19-Crystal Dunn (2-Mallory Pugh, 58), 6-Morgan Brian, 3-Samantha Mewis, 17-Tobin Heath 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 12-Lynn Williams (13-Alex Morgan, 79), 23-Christen Press (9-Lindsey Horan, 79)
Subs not used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 11-Ali Krieger, 14-Jessica McDonald, 15-Emily Sonnett, 16-Rose Lavelle, 18-Jane Campbell, 22-Brianna Pinto, 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis

GER: 1-Almuth Schult, 2-Josephine Henning, 4-Leonie Maier, 5-Babett Peter, 9-Alexandra Popp, 10-Dzsenifer Marozsan, 11-Anja Mittag (15-Mandy Islacker, 74), 13-Sara Däbritz, 14-Anna Blässe (7-Pauline Bremer, 69), 17-Isabel Kerschowski (29-Felicitas Rauch, 74), 18-Lena Petermann (23-Verena Faißt, 45)
Subs not used:  3-Kathrin Hendrich, 12-Laura Benkarth, 20-Lina Magull, 21-Lisa Weiß, 24-Kristin Demann, 26-Hasret Kayikci, 27-Sara Doorsoun, 31-Linda Dallman
Head coach: Steffi Jones

Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 6
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
GER – Elizabeth Kerschowski (caution)        42nd minute
GER – Anna Blasse (caution)                         63
USA – Lindsay Horan (caution)                      90

Officials:
Referee: Carol Ann Chenard (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Princess Brown (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM)
4th Official: Cardella Samuels (JAM)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Allie Long

Jill Ellis Q&A: Looking Back and Forward

Coming out of the 2017 SheBelieves Cup, and in advance of the next set of matches for the U.S. Women’s National Team against Russia in April, U.S. head coach Jill Ellis shares her thoughts on the team’s evolution, giving chances to young players, formations, and keeping focused on the big picture.

ussoccer.com: Looking back at the SheBelieves Cup, what were the big picture points of emphasis in terms of what you and your staff wanted to see on the field?

Jill Ellis: The priority in every game plan was having the confidence to trust our passing game, to play out of tight spaces with numbers, to show patience and try to control the game with the ball. Of course, coaches and fans know that on a certain day ball possession does not always translate to a win, but long term we will give ourselves a higher chance to get a positive result if we can control the ball. In the 2015 Women’s World Cup we found ways to win, but in almost every game except the Final our opponent was often in the driver’s seat for long periods of time. We want to change that, and I believe we have the players and the vision to evolve our style of play. Does change sometimes come at a cost? At times, it does. Losing for us can be an unfamiliar experience, but internally we know we are not close to being a finished product and these growing pains will pay off.

ussoccer.com: The roster for the SheBelieves Cup was one of the youngest you have selected for a competitive event and one of the most inexperienced in terms of caps. Why was it so important to field such a young squad in a big tournament?

JE: In 90% of our matches, we won’t experience the pressure on the field that these three opponents can generate. Going back 10 to 12 years, our matches against the top three teams in the world have been extraordinarily tight. That is exactly the pressure cooker you want a young player to feel, and to experience that two and a half years away from a World Cup is fantastic for us. The European teams get to go through another major event by having the European Championships. By hosting SheBelieves Cup, we give ourselves a big, but important, challenge. For players like Rose Lavelle, Lynn Williams or Sam Mewis to play in front of 25,000 people against Germany or France is vital on so many levels. The playing time gained, the evaluation opportunity, the test of character, we only get these experiences in a format like this event. So yes, I prioritized looking at players that I am not as familiar with in these types of situations, and although they are not young players, Alyssa (Naeher) and Ashlyn (Harris) are also players that needed to get experience against top teams outside of a “friendly” type atmosphere.   

WNT - Rose Lavelle

ussoccer.com: You have been playing a three-back formation in recent months, and stuck with it against three very attacking-minded teams. Is this something we can continue to see out of the U.S. side?

JE: We’ve played in a 4-4-2 for about eight to ten years, so it was important, on both sides of the ball, to evaluate our flexibility and get answers against top teams in a different shape. When we looked at our personnel, we felt it was important to look at more numbers in midfield and a shape that we can aggressively press out of, but every system has strengths and weaknesses and you only find those out against the best teams in the world. France looked at our build-up shape and matched up to try and nullify what we have been working on. Couple that with the fact that they played as direct as they have ever played against us, and it became an excellent challenge for us. A shape doesn’t win or lose games – if it did everyone would play the same – but it’s about figuring out what gives you the best chance to have your individual players in the best position for them to be successful and help the team. The reality is the first two goals came off a tough turnover in our own end and a long ball in behind, scenarios we have dealt with before and been punished by before. So, in short, am I married to a system? No, but I am committed to finding out more about our players and then building a framework in which we can be successful against every team in the world.

ussoccer.com: After the France game, what were your messages to the players moving forward?

JE: These are extremely competitive and prideful women, so nothing you can say in the moment numbs the sting of losing, but they are also professionals and they know where we are in our cycle and that we are a work in progress. At the end of last year, we let them know that evaluation and deepening the roster is the priority. Right now, it’s not as much about building chemistry between the same two players on the pitch, it’s about getting answers about them and challenging ourselves to get better. Consistency in good performances is what we seek, and that’s tough for even a seasoned player and team to pull off, so I reminded them to keep perspective in the big picture and stay focused on what our end game is: 2019. I think in 80-90% of our matches, the WNT makes it look easy, and that’s a credit to all who have worn the jersey, but in reality it is very hard work to win as consistently as this team has over the years. In the World Cup Final in ‘91, we beat Norway 2-1 and in the ‘99 Final we tied China 0-0 before winning in penalty kicks. Games at the highest level have always been very close, and now with global investment in our game the landscape has changed dramatically. It would be naïve to think results are going to be easy or guaranteed. Winning consistently at the highest level takes investment and commitment. It must be built, and that is the process we are in right now. 

WNT - Tobin Heath

ussoccer.com: The next two games coming up are against Russia in April in Texas. What would be the main areas of focus for the team as you head into the next FIFA window?

JE: The Russia games will be a combination of player evaluation and post-assessment from SheBelieves Cup. For sure our focus will again be on ourselves and the areas we want to see continued growth; some areas being our decision making and execution close to goal, outplaying pressure, and individual defending. We learned a lot from seeing what our opponents would try to “take away” from us, so problem-solving within the game and reliance on our core principles to do so will be ongoing. In terms of personnel, once the NWSL league play begins, we will have a chance to evaluate the players in another environment, but until then looking at a player’s performance and positional options in international competition is a critical component of the friendlies.


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WNT Mar 13, 2017

Naeher and U.S. Defense Come Up Big Against Germany

The U.S. Women’s National Team did not ease into its 2017 schedule, taking on No. 2-ranked and Olympic champion Germany at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Penn. on Wednesday, March 1, during the first night of the SheBelieves Cup.

Alyssa Naeher started in goal for the USA and made her 11th appearance and eighth start. With her 10 previous caps coming against Argentina, China PR, Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico, the game against Germany was first time Naeher was facing a team ranked in the top-10 in the world.

In front of Naeher was the three-player back line of Becky Sauerbrunn, Allie Long and Casey Short. Those three were playing in their fifth game together in a formation that head coach Jill Ellis first rolled out on Oct. 19, 2016 against Switzerland, and one that she wanted and needed to see in a highly competitive environment against a team like Germany. The four previous occasions in which the three-back was deployed had been in friendly matches.

The trio of Long, who played in the middle of Sauerbrunn on the right and the left-footed Short on the left, were organized, composed and aggressive over the entire 90 minutes, as was the entire U.S. defense, which put pressure on the Germans from the forwards all the way to the back. The USA did the work to win numerous balls in the midfield and earned a shutout against a supremely talented German side.

“I think this was obviously our biggest test playing in that three-back and there was a lot of energy on the field,” Naeher said after the match. “I thought we had a lot of good communication and a lot of good moving parts and I’m very happy about how it worked out against a top team.”

As Ellis resumes her evaluation of the goalkeepers, Naeher’s performance was a solid line on her resume as she continues to compete with Ashlyn Harris, as well as a slew of younger goalkeepers – led by Jane Campbell – for playing time in the U.S. net.

While the USA kept Germany out of dangerous areas for most of the game, Naeher needed to come up big in the 12th minute when she was tested on a rocket from one of Germany’s youngest and most promising stars in Sara Däbrmtz.

“From looking at Germany, we knew they like to hit shots from distance and we put focus into that this week in training,” Naeher said. “So, any time they were anywhere in their shooting range I just tried to keep my feet balanced and ready to react to a shot, which helped me get a good read and my feet underneath me enough to get a good push on the ball.”

Däbritz received a pass from the left side and had time to turn towards goal before ripping a shot from about 18 yards that seemed headed into the upper right corner. Naeher was well-positioned and flew to her left to push the ball out for a Germany corner. Josephine Henning's cross was then easily controlled by Naeher to maintain the scoreless draw. 

The diving save was timely, sharp and it allowed the USA to maintain the 0-0 score line early in a hotly contested match. The U.S. went on get a game-winner in the 56th minute from Lynn Williams to win the opening match of the SheBelieves Cup. With three points in hand, the USA heads to New Jersey next to face England on March 4 (5 p.m.; FOX) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.

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WNT Mar 2, 2017

GALLERY: WNT Defeats Germany 1-0 in Opening Match of 2017 SheBelieves Cup

Photos from the U.S. Women's National Team's opening match of the 2017 SheBelieves Cup in Chester, Pa. The WNT defeated Germany 1-0 with a goal from forward Lynn Williams in the 56th minute. The team will now travel to Harrison, N.J. to take on England on March 4 in the second fixture of the tournament.

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WNT Mar 2, 2017
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