Rapinoe, Heath Goals Lift WNT 2-1, USA Completes Sweep of China PR in Cleveland

Heath Scores in Her First Action Since Sept. 19, 2017 and Tallies First WNT Goal Since Nov.13, 2016 vs. Romania; Rapinoe Scores 37th International Goal, Third of 2018; Mathias Earns First Cap; Press Becomes 37th Player to Play 100 Times for the U.S. WNT
Tobin Heath
Tobin Heath

CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 12, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team used a first-half headed goal from Megan Rapinoe and responded quickly with a Tobin Heath game-winner after China PR had equalized in the second half to record a 2-1 win.

Press, who got her first start of 2018 and had both assists, became the 37th female player in U.S. history to earn 100 caps.

The victory gave the USA a two-game sweep of China who have already qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. China came out a bit more aggressively than it did on June 7 in Sandy, Utah, pressing the USA higher up the field, but still did well to stay compact in the defensive half while challenging the USA to find a way through. The USA out-shot China 16-9, but had to work very hard to create dangerous chances.

The opening goal was a beauty as a quick series of passes got Christen Press free on the right flank and she sent a perfect cross the far post for Rapinoe to finish with a well-placed header in the 35th minute.

China tied the game in the 71st minute on a swift counter as Li TingTing got behind the defense on the left side and raced into the penalty area before playing a square pass to the unmarked Li Ying, who rolled it home.

Ashlyn Harris made a spectacular save in the 74th minute to keep the game tied, pushing away a free-kick that was headed into the upper right corner, before Press connected with Heath – a 64th minute substitute -- on the opposite end for the game-winning score a minute later.

Next Up: The players will now return to their NWSL clubs and the next action for the USA will come at the 2018 Tournament of Nations, featuring the USA, Brazil, Australia and Japan. The round-robin tournament will be comprised of three doubleheaders that will be played on July 26 in Kansas City, Kansas, July 29 in East Hartford, Conn., and Aug. 2 in Bridgeview, Ill.
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Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Christen Press), 35th minute: The USA faced an organized and compact China defense, but broke them down with quick interplay in the midfield that sprung Press open on the right flank. Her long cross to the far post dropped perfectly onto the head of Rapinoe, who struck a powerful header back into the middle of the goal to give the USA the lead. USA 1, CHN 0. WATCH.

CHN – Li Ying (Li Tingting), 72nd minute: China tied the game in the 72nd minute on a swift counter as Li Tingting got behind the defense on the left side and raced into the penalty area before playing a square pass to the unmarked Li Ying and she rolled it home. USA 1, CHN 1.

USA – Tobin Heath (Christen Press), 75th minute: The USA answered right back and it was Heath, who due to injury hadn’t played in a U.S. match since Sept. 19, 2017, that bagged the game-winner. Press nutmegged a defender on the right flank and then drove laterally across the top of the penalty area before playing a give-and-go with Heath. The return pass then bounced off Press’ shoulder and back to Heath, who hit a spinning half-volley from 15 yards that looped over the goalkeeper and settled into the net for the game-winner. USA 2, CHN 1. WATCH.

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is 7-0-1 so far in 2018, with wins over Denmark, Germany, England, Mexico (twice) and China PR (twice), along with a tie against France.  
  • The USA is unbeaten in its last 16 matches (14-0-2). The USA has outscored its opponents 49-13 over those 16 matches, and has scored in all 16 games.
  • Press two assist tonight were her first ones of the year.
  • Rapinoe made her 137th international appearance today. She scored her 37th career goal and has moved ahead of April Heinrichs and Sydney Leroux into sole possession of 15th on the all-time goals list.
  • U.S. head coach Jill Ellis made five changes from the starters who lined up against China on June 7, giving nods to forward Christen Press, midfielders Samantha Mewis and Morgan Brian, defender Sofia Huerta, and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.
  • Mewis made her first start of 2018 after playing the second half of the June 7 match. Mewis played in every match in 2017.
  • Ashlyn Harris earned her 16th cap tonight and made her first start of 2018.
  • Tobin Heath and Rose Lavelle played their first minutes for the USA since Sept. 19, 2017. Heath’s goal was her first for the USA since Nov. 13, 2016 vs. Romania.
  • Defender Merritt Mathias earned her first cap for the USA. She is the 26th woman to earn a first cap under Jill Ellis.
  • Tierna Davidson received the first yellow card of her WNT career.
  • Not dressing tonight were Casey Murphy (GK), Abby Smith (GK), Abby Dahlkemper (D) and Savannah McCaskill (F).

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

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. China PR
Date: June 12, 2018
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium; Cleveland, Ohio
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 12,335
Weather: 77 degrees; Cloudy

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

USA – Megan Rapinoe (Christen Press)                35th minute
CHN – Li Ying (Li Tingting)                                         72
USA – Tobin Heath (Christen Press)                         75                                                                                   

USA:  24-Ashlyn Harris; 14-Sofia Huerta (27-Merritt Mathias, 77), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 12-Tierna Davidson, 19-Crystal Dunn; 2-Julie Ertz (9-Lindsey Horan, 57), 3-Samantha Mewis (16-Rose Lavelle, 65), 6-Morgan Brian (20-Allie Long, 46); 23-Christen Press, 13-Alex Morgan (capt.) (17-Tobin Heath, 64), 15-Megan Rapinoe (10-Carli Lloyd, 57)
Substitutes: 1-Alyssa Naeher, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 25-McCall Zerboni
Head coach: Jill Ellis

CHN: 12-Peng Shimeng; 5-Wu Haiyan (capt.), 6-Lin Yuping, 7-Wang Shuang, 10-Li Ying, 11-Wang Shanshan (21-Xiao Yuyi, 66), 16-Yan Jinjin (29-Li Tingting, 59), 18-Han Peng, 23-Ren Guixin (26-Wang Yan, 66), 25-Lou Jiahui, 27-Yao Wei
Substitutes: 24-Yang Yan, 31-Zhou Li, 2-Liu Shanshan, 4-Li Danyang, 9-Tang Jiali, 14-Xu Yanlu, 19-Tan Ruyin, 20-Zhang Rui, 30-Yang Li
Head coach: Jia Xiuquan

Stats Summary: USA / CHN
Shots: 16 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 5 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 0
Fouls: 10 / 14
Offside: 2 / 6

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Tierna Davidson (caution)                               69th minute    
CHN – Han Peng (caution)                                       78

Referee: Christina Unkel (USA)                           
Assistant Referee 1: Kimberly Moreira (CRC)}
Assistant Referee 2: Jennifer Garner (USA)                         
4th Official: Quetzalli Alvarado (MEX)                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Budweiser Woman of the Match:  Christen Press