ALICANTE, Spain (Jan. 22, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Spain 1-0 in the first international meeting between the two teams thanks to a second half goal created by a strong individual effort from halftime substitute Christen Press.
The first 45 minutes began with both teams wrestling to impose their style on the match, but after a hard-charging opening 10 minutes from Spain, the U.S. began flexing its muscles, nearly taking the lead in the 14th minute. A corner kick from the right wing was misjudged by Spain goalkeeper Sandra Paños and reached Megan Rapinoe on back left post. Her bicycle-kick attempt was pushed away by a recovering Paños as Julie Ertz crashed in looking to get her head on the ball, which slipped just past Rose Lavelle, who couldn’t react in time to stab home the loose ball at the right post.
The U.S. held the upper hand for the remainder of the half, carving out its best chances via crosses into the box, but the breakthrough did not come until the second half, when U.S. head coach introduced a trio of substitutes, including Press who fashioned the opening goal. Receiving the ball at midfield, Press turned one defender and headed directly for goal, sprinting past another before sending a shot from wide left of the goal toward the right post before it was knocked in by Spain defender Irene Paredes in the 54th minute.
From there, the U.S. looked the dominant team, creating numerous opportunities to extend its lead through Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh and Ertz, but needed only the single goal to secure the victory after a stout defensive performance buttressed by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher’s fine day in net when called upon.
Up Next: The WNT returns to the USA for the beginning of the eight-game, home portion of Countdown to the Cup. The opening match of the 2019 SheBelieves Cup vs. Japan at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. on Feb. 27 (7 p.m. ET; FS1). The U.S. will also face England on March 2 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (4:30 p.m. ET; FOX) and Brazil on March 5 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (8 p.m. ET; FS1) during the SheBelieves Cup.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Christen Press (Rose Lavelle), 54th: The USA broke up a Spain attack at midfield and Rose Lavelle played the ball to Press near the center circle. She turned a defender and headed directly toward goal, then sprinted past a second defender and clipping a low shot from wide left of the goal toward the right post. Before the ball could reach the line, Spain defender Irene Paredes attempted to clear it but ended up putting it into her own goal. USA 1, ESP 0 [WATCH] FINAL
- Since the 2017 SheBelieves Cup, the USA has failed to score in just one game (vs. Australia at the 2017 ToN); a 34-game span. Tonight’s goal marked the USA’s 30th consecutive match scoring a goal.
- Alyssa Naeher earned her 41st career cap tonight. She has 22 career shutouts and is the fifth goalkeeper in U.S. history to earn 30 or more caps.
- Becky Sauerbrunn earned her 151st cap tonight. She is now the 20th player – and only the third who has played exclusively as a defender – to feature 150 times for the U.S. WNT.
- Julie Ertz, who did not dress for the match vs. France, made her 74th international appearance tonight. She has scored 18 international goals.
- Rose Lavelle, who also did not dress for the game vs. France, made her first start and appearance of this year. It was cap No. 21 for Lavelle, who has scored six international goals.
- Tobin Heath is another player who did not dress vs. France but took the field vs. Spain to make her 143rd international appearance for the USA. In 2018, Heath scored seven goals in only 10 appearances.
- Megan Rapinoe captained the USA tonight. Rapinoe, who did not suit up vs. France, earned her 146th cap for the U.S WNT. She was the team-leader in assist last year with 12.
– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Spain
Date: January 22, 2019
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Estadio José Rico Pérez; Alicante, Spain
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. ET (8:30 p.m. local)
Weather: 52 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
ESP 0 0 0
USA – Christen Press (Rose Lavelle) 54th minute
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 2-Emily Sonnett (12-Tierna Davidson, 46), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 19-Crystal Dunn; 8-Julie Ertz (25-McCall Zerboni, 69), 9-Lindsey Horan (11-Mallory Pugh, 46), 16-Rose Lavelle (3-Sam Mewis, 76); 17-Tobin Heath (20-Jessica McDonald, 60), 13-Alex Morgan, 15-Megan Rapinoe (capt.) (23-Christen Press, 46)
Substitutes not used: 10-Carli Lloyd, 24-Ashlyn Harris, 27-Andi Sullivan
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
ESP: 13-Sandra Paños; 8-Marta Torrejón (capt.) (7-Marta Corredera, 65), 4-Irene Paredes, 20-Andrea Pereira, 16-Mapi León; 6-Vicky Losada (21-Andrea Sánchez Falcón, 60), 15-Silvia Meseguer, 11-Alexia Putellas; 9-Mariona Caldentey (18-Aitana Bonmatí, 73), 10-Jennifer Hermoso (22-Nahikari García, 79), 19-Amanda Sampedro (17-Lucía García, 73)
Substitutes not used: 1-Lola Gallardo, 23-Sun Quiñones, 5-Ivana Andrés, 3-Leila Ouahabi, 2-Celia Jiménez, 12-Marta Carro, 25-Ángela Sosa, 24-Alba Redondo
Head Coach: Jorge Vilda
Stats Summary: USA / ESP
Shots: 9 / 4
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 17 / 8
Offside: 6 / 4
ESP – Silvia Meseguer (caution) 74th minute
Referee: Stéphanie Frappart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Manuela Nicolosi (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Solenne Bartnik (FRA)
Fourth official: Victoria Beyer (FRA)
Budweiser Woman of the Match: Christen Press