U.S. Soccer
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USA Fights Back to Claim Dramatic 4-3 Win vs. Brazil in #ToN2017

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (July 30, 2017) – In a wild ending at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday evening, the U.S. Women’s National Team scored three goals in nine minutes at the end of the match to overturn a 3-1 deficit and earn a thrilling 4-3 win against Brazil.

Australia leads the Tournament of Nations after a 4-2 victory against Japan in the first game of the day, but the win keeps the USA alive for the tournament title. All four teams now head north for the conclusion of the competition on Aug. 3 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., as Australia takes on Brazil (4:15 p.m. PT on ESPN3) and the USA faces Japan (7 p.m. PT on ESPN2 and UDN).

In order to win the tournament, the USA will need to defeat Japan, have Brazil defeat Australia, and overturn a three-goal difference.

Brazil scored in just the second minute on a swirling shot from Andressinha that was misplayed by Alyssa Naeher, but the USA leveled it 16 minutes later when Samantha Mewis ran onto a square pass from Megan Rapinoe at the top of the penalty box and smashed a low, driven shot into the left corner.

While both teams were dangerous in the attack throughout the match, the USA created the better chances and eventually out-shot Brazil 24-13. But it was the South Americans who took the 3-1 lead, scoring on set plays in the 63rd and 78th minutes through Bruna Benites -- off a corner -- and Andressinha off a direct free kick.

The USA wasted no time launching an epic comeback as 57th minute substitute Christen Press blasted a shot into the upper left corner to pull within one. Rapinoe’s equalizer in the 85th minute was a thing of beauty as Press chipped a ball over the defense to her on the left side of the penalty box. In a fluid motion, Rapinoe brought the ball down perfectly and drilled a low shot from an extremely tight angle that snuck into the near post to tie the game.

Four minutes later, Ertz, who had also come on the 57th minute, got the winner by smashing home a loose ball after a goal mouth scramble, and the USA did well to salt away the remaining minutes.

In the earlier game of the day, Australia put in a dominant performance and got a hat trick from Samantha Kerr as it answered Japan’s early score with four consecutive goals. Japan pulled a goal back in stoppage time for the final score line.

2017 Tournament of Nations Standings

Team

GP

W

L

T

GF

GA

GD

Pts.

Australia

2

2

0

0

5

2

+3

6

United States

2

1

1

0

4

4

0

3

Brazil

2

0

1

1

4

5

-1

1

Japan

2

0

1

1

3

5

-2

1

Goal Scoring Rundown

BRA – Andressinha (Debinha), 2nd minute: Debinha played a ball back to Andressinha at the top of the penalty area and she sent a swerving shot from more than 30 yards out that was misplayed by U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who was in good position to make the save, only to see it slip through her hands and fall into the net. USA 0, BRA 1. GOAL 

USA – Samantha Mewis (Megan Rapinoe), 18th minute: Megan Rapinoe latched onto a long ball on the left side, danced a bit to freeze a defender and then played a square pass into the middle to the crashing Mewis, who hit a low laser from 28 yards that took a slight deflection before sticking in the left corner of the net.USA 1, BRA 1. GOAL

BRA – Bruna Benites (Marta), 63rd minute: Marta took a corner from the left side that barely skimmed off the head of Carli Lloyd in the penalty box and fell to Bruna Benites at the far post. She bundled it into the net from close range to give her side the lead.USA 1, BRA 2. GOAL

BRA – Andressinha, 78th minute: Brazil was awarded a free kick after a U.S. foul outside the box for which Kelley O’Hara was cautioned. Andressinha took it flawlessly, sending her shot from 24 yards just inside the left post past a diving Alyssa Naeher. USA 1, BRA 3.

USA – Christen Press (Megan Rapinoe), 80th minute: Megan Rapinoe slipped a perfectly weighted pass into the left side of the penalty box for Press, who collected, spun toward goal and smacked a right-footed shot into the upper left corner from 14 yards away to pull the USA to within one. It was the 43rd international goal for Press.USA 2, BRA 3. GOAL 

USA – Megan Rapinoe (Christen Press), 85th minute: 
In one of the best of her 32 career goals, Rapinoe ran under a lofted pass from Press into the left side of the penalty area. With a perfect touch, she brought it down and then, with Brazil goalkeeper Barbara cheating ever-so-slightly for the cross, hit her shot so hard into the near post that Barbara couldn’t react in time. It slammed off the goalkeeper’s hands and into the net to send the crowd into a frenzy.USA 3, BRA 3. GOAL

USA – Julie Ertz (Carli Lloyd), 89th minute: Rapinoe was once again involved in the goal, playing Kelley O’Hara down the right side on the overlap. Her cross bounced off the sliding Carli Lloyd and back to Ertz, who blasted the loose ball into the back of the net from six yards out for the victory. It was Ertz’s ninth career goal.USA 4, BRA 3. GOAL 

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Additional Notes:

  • Megan Rapinoe earned her 122nd cap today and made her second start of the year. She scored her 32nd career goal, which is good for 18th on the all-time goals list.
  • It was Rapinoe’s first goal since June 8, 2015, when she scored a brace in the opening game of the WWC against Australia. She also had two assists today, her first ones of 2017.
  • Christen Press scored her 43rd international goal in her 89th cap. It was her second of 2017.
  • Samantha Mewis made her 15th career start and earned her 26th cap. Alongside Sauerbrunn, she is the only other player to be in the starting lineup of every game the WNT has played in 2017. She scored her first goal of 2017 and fifth of her career today.
  • Alyssa Naeher made her 17th appearance for the USA and 15th start.
  • Defender Taylor Smith earned her second cap and second start for the USA after making her debut on July 27 against Australia and playing all 90 minutes.
  • Abby Dahlkemper earned her sixth cap for the USA and her third career start.
  • Carli Lloyd notched her 50th career assist, joining just seven other U.S. players to earn 50 or more assists in their careers.
  • Lloyd is in eighth-place in all-time assists but can move into fifth with six more.
  • Becky Sauerbrunn started and played an excellent match at defensive midfield today, a position she’s played several times for the WNT in her career.
  • Kelley O'Hara earned her 98th international appearance today and has tied Ali Krieger for 36th place on the all-time caps list.
  • Julie Ertz earned her 50th cap today. She is the 54th American player to earn 50 or more caps.
  • Jill Ellis used all six of her substitutions tonight, bringing on Mallory Pugh for Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz for Taylor Smith, Christen Press for Alex Morgan, Allie Long for Samantha Mewis, Lynn Williams for Megan Rapinoe, and Sydney Leroux for Casey Short. It was Leroux’s first appearance for the USA since June 30, 2015 against Germany.
  • This is the first time the U.S. has won a game after trailing by two goals since the 2012 Olympics against France.
  • That was the first of Julie Ertz's nine WNT goals that didn't come off a set piece.
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WNT Jul 30, 2017

- Tournament of Nations Match Report -

Match: Women’s National Team vs. Brazil
Date: July 30, 2017
Competition: Tournament of Nations
Venue: Qualcomm Stadium; San Diego, Calif.
Kickoff: 5:00 p.m. PT
Attendance:  21,096
Weather: 75 degrees, sunny 

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                             1          3          4
BRA                             1          2          3 

BRA – Andressinha (Debinha)                                                           2nd minute
USA – Samantha Mewis (Megan Rapinoe)                                       18
BRA – Bruna Benites (Marta)                                                             63
BRA – Andressinha                                                                            78
USA – Christen Press (Megan Rapinoe)                                           80
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Christen Press)                                           85
USA – Julie Ertz (Carli Lloyd)                                                             89 

Lineups:
USA:  1-Alyssa Naeher; 16-Taylor Smith (8-Julie Ertz, 57), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 14-Casey Short (2-Sydney Leroux, 76), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Samantha Mewis (20-Allie Long, 86), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 19-Crystal Dunn (22-Mallory Pugh, 53), 13-Alex Morgan (23-Christen Press, 57), 15-Megan Rapinoe (12-Lynn Williams, 90+1)
Subs not used: 6-Morgan Brian, 9-Lindsey Horan,11-Ali Krieger, 17-Margaret Purce, 18-Jane Campbell, 21-Abby Smith
Head coach: Jill Ellis

BRA: 1-Barbara; 15-Leticia (8-Maria, 71), 21-Monica, 3-Bruna Benites 22-Jucinara (6-Tamires, 46); 5-Djenifer, 7-Gabi Nunes (20-Camila, 22), 17-Andressinha; 9-Debinha (13-Andreia Rosa, 82), 10-Marta, 16-Bia Zaneratto (19-Ludmila, 86)
Subs not used: 2-Maurine, 14-Chu, 18-Fran
Head coach: Emily Lima

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 24 / 13
Shots on Goal: 11 / 5
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 12 / 20
Offside: 4 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
BRA – Jucinara (caution)                                                                    36th minute
USA – Becky Sauerbrunn (caution)                                                   54
BRA – Bia Zaneratto (caution)                                                           59
BRA – Marta (caution)                                                                       84
BRA – Barbara (caution)                                                                    89                                   

Officials:
Referee: Melissa Borjas (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Lidia Ayala (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Nelly Alvarado (CRC)
4th Official: Sandra Benitez (SLV)

Budweiser Woman of the Match:  Megan Rapinoe

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Breaking Down the WNT's Top 10 Goals of 2017

1. Julie Ertz vs. Korea Republic (International Friendly; Oct. 19): Something everyone can agree on is that Julie Ertz was dangerous in the penalty area this year. All six of her goals came from set pieces, but her goal against Korea Republic on Oct. 19 had a little extra mustard on it as Ertz nutmegged the goalkeeper with a diving header. The goal came off a well-struck corner kick by Megan Rapinoe from the left side that flew towards the near post. The diving Ertz sent a low, skidding header through the legs of the goalkeeper. The celebration afterwards was equally as fun.

2. Megan Rapinoe vs. Brazil (Tournament of Nations; July 30): She had just assisted Christen Press on the goal that ignited the comeback, making the score 3-2 in favor of Brazil, but then Rapinoe took the reins, scoring one of the best goals of her career to tie the game, 3-3. She settled a well-placed lofted pass from Press with a perfect touch inside the penalty area and then, with Brazil goalkeeper Barbara cheating ever so slightly for the cross, blasted her shot from a stiff angle so hard towards the near post that Barbara couldn’t react in time. Her reaction and the reaction of her teammates (as well as the pumped-up crowd inside Qualcomm Stadium) showed just how big a goal it was. 

3. Alex Morgan vs. New Zealand (International Friendly; Sept. 15): This was another beauty from Alex Morgan. Sofia Huerta, playing in her first cap, sent a long cross from the right wing into the left side of the box, where Morgan brought it down with her left foot, evaded a closing defender and then ripped her shot into the roof of the net for her second goal of the yearIt was vintage Morgan.

4. Megan Rapinoe vs. Japan (Tournament of Nations; Aug. 3): Breaking ankles inside of the six-yard box is how Megan Rapinoe added her name to the scoring sheet. The goal came when Christen Press found space between two defenders to slip a beautiful pass to Rapinoe, who was cutting into the right side of the penalty box. Rapinoe latched onto the pass, faked a shot to force the Japanese defender into a slide and then hesitated long enough for the defender to move out of the way as she got to her feet. Rapinoe then had enough space to slot her shot into the lower left corner from close range. The goal was worthy of a classic Rapinoe celebration, and that’s exactly what she gave to the fans.

5. Christen Press vs. Korea Republic (International Friendly; Oct. 22): This much we know: Press can be lethal shooting from outside the 18-yard box. On a nice U.S. build-up through the midfield, Alex Morgan found Press with a threaded pass near the top of the penalty area. She squared up on a defender, made space for a shot with a quick move to her right and whipped the ball brilliantly into the upper right corner for her third goal of 2017.

6. Julie Ertz vs. Brazil (Tournament of Nations, July 30): After two goals in five minutes brought the USA back to life against Brazil, the game was now tied 3-3 at the 85-minute mark. Ertz completed the incredible comeback with her game-winning goal in the 89th. Rapinoe was once again involved in the goal, playing Kelley O’Hara down the right side on the overlap. O’Hara’s cross bounced off the sliding Carli Lloyd and back to Ertz, who blasted the loose ball into the back of the net from six yards out for the victory. It was Ertz’ first goal of 2017…. but it wouldn’t be her last.

7. Christen Press vs. Brazil (Tournament of Nations, July 30): After Brazil made it 3-1 in the 78th minute on well-placed free-kick goal, ESPN commentator Ian Darke was understandably gloomy about the USA’s prospects. “The U.S., surely sunk here….”, said Darke, but then something amazing happened. The USA scored three goals in nine minutes, starting with this Christen Press rocket. Megan Rapinoe slipped a perfectly weighted pass into the left side of the penalty box for Press, who collected, spun toward goal and smacked a right-footed shot into the upper left corner from 14 yards away to make it 3-2.

8. Alex Morgan vs. Canada (International Friendly; Nov. 9): Of her team-leading seven goals this year, one of Morgan’s best came against a familiar opponent: Canada. The play began when Casey Short did well to take advantage of some poor clearances by Canada and headed the ball back into the mixer. Morgan kept a U.S. attack alive by bravely heading the bouncing ball past a defender and then drilling a half-volley with her right foot between three Canada defenders. The shot bounced hard past the outstretched arm of Stephanie Labbé and into the lower right corner for a timely and stylish finish.

9. Allie Long vs. Russia (International Friendly; April 6): In classic Allie Long fashion, she scored on a header in the 70th minute (her second of the night) after Mallory Pugh crossed into the middle of the six-yard box. Long beat a pair of players with a powerful falling header for her fifth career goal (all of which had come on headers, although she did go on to score her sixth with her foot on Oct. 22) and her second multi-goal game for the USA, which coincidentally enough came exactly a year after her first (April 6, 2016, against Colombia in East Hartford, Connecticut).

10. Mallory Pugh vs. Japan (Tournament of Nations; Aug. 3): Pugh hadn’t scored for the WNT so far in 2017, and after suffering an injury during warmups on June 11 in Norway, she made her return to game action in the Tournament of Nations. Against Japan in the 60th minute, Pugh received a perfect ball from Taylor Smith and swiftly ran into the box, charging at the ‘keeper all alone before calmly finishing with a low shot. The classy finish by the 19-year-old showcased her decision-making as well as her growth over the last year. 

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WNT Dec 1, 2017
US Soccer

Takeaways from the 2017 Tournament of Nations

Excellent opponents and exciting games, that was the 2017 Tournament of Nations as U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis continued her evaluation of players as she goes through the process of building the team towards 2019.

Some notables from the inaugural tournament:

  • Defender Taylor Smith earned her first three caps and two starts. 
  • She picked up her first two assists against Japan in the finale.
  • Megan Rapinoe earned her first 90-minute game since 2015, and her first start since Aug. 9, 2016. 
  • She also scored her first WNT goals since the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
  • Ellis gave minutes to 18 of the 20 field players on the roster.
  • Alyssa Naeher played every minute of all three games in goal for the USA.
  • Allie Long started at defensive midfielder against Australia, followed by Becky Sauerbrunn playing in that slot against Brazil, and then Julie Ertz against Japan.
  • Ellis used all six of her substitutions in all three matches.
  • The USA had six different scorers during the tournament: Samantha Mewis, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press, Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh and Julie Ertz.
  • The USA scored three goals in nine minutes during a comeback to defeat Brazil 4-3.
  • Kelley O’Hara played in her 99th game for the USA and could become the 36th American fe
    male player to reach 100 caps.

U.S. WNT - Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe scored two goals and had two assists during the 2017 Tournament of Nations.

The USA finished the tournament in second place following a loss to Australia, a thrilling 4-3 comeback win against Brazil, and a 3-0 shutout victory against Japan. While Australia played excellent attacking soccer in all three games and lifted the trophy with three victories, including its first against the USA, what the U.S. did achieve was the continuing evolution of the team and the deepening of the player pool. Now, Ellis is ready to take the next steps.

“Now it’s about building connections,” Ellis said after the Japan match. “I know what I’ve put the players through in terms of making it a challenge and playing them in different positions, playing them with different people. I get that. It’s a long run up to 2019 but I want to do that now. Look at Australia, they are a seasoned team because they’ve been together so long that they know each other so well. That’s the next step in our process; establishing our starting lineup and working on our chemistry and connections and our team play.”

The U.S. WNT is set to play six more games this year in the fall against three opponents to wrap up 2017. It will face New Zealand twice in September, another pair of soon-to-be-announced friendlies in October, and will end its 2017 campaign with two matches against Canada, on Nov. 9 in Vancouver, and on Nov. 12 in a U.S. venue which will also be announced soon.

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WNT Aug 11, 2017

Samantha Mewis' New Role

WNT Aug 1, 2017

Samantha Mewis Is Taking Nothing for Granted

In the last year, U.S. WNT midfielder Samantha Mewis has seen her role shift and evolve. She first broke into the team on a more consistent basis in the latter part of 2015, but it wasn’t until late in 2016 that she began to feature more prominently in the starting lineup.

In 2017, she has started all nine games the USA has played this year and has been on the field for 773 minutes, second-most on the team behind Becky Sauerbrunn’s 810 minutes, while becoming an important part of the USA’s midfield dynamic.

Despite the confidence the coaching staff has placed in her, the six-foot Massachusetts native – the tallest field player ever to play for the USA -- knows it would be unwise to ever allow herself to get comfortable on the U.S. team as the competition to earn, keep, or regain a starting role never ceases.

“Every day is a new challenge here,” Mewis said of the WNT environment. “I’m still trying to just absorb as much as I can and grow as a player and as a person. It’s always an honor to play on this team but I don’t expect anything. Every day is a new day and every game is a new game, so each time we come in here we have to earn something and we have to fight for something, and that’s what makes this team so special.”

Besides her acumen in the center of the field, her savvy passing skills and ball-winning abilities in the air and on the ground, she can also score. Against Brazil on July 30, Mewis scored her first goal of 2017, and the fifth of her career, with a grass-cutter from just outside the penalty area to even the match at 1-1 in the 18th minute. 

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WNT Aug 1, 2017
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