October 25, 2015
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
USWNT downs Brazil as vets leave, newcomers make debuts
ORLANDO -Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn scored first half goals, and newcomer Stephanie McCaffrey added one in the second half as the U.S. Women's National Team defeated Brazil 3-1 in front of 32,869 fans at the Citrus Bowl, the largest stand-alone crowd to watch the USA friendly in the state of Florida.
The game marked a kind of changing of the guard for the U.S. Women as defender Lori Chalupny (106 caps) and midfielder Lauren Holiday (133 caps) played in their final match for the USWNT and were honored before the game. Meanwhile three players, McCaffrey, Gina Lewandowski and Emily Sonnett earned their first caps and Lindsey Horan got her first start for the USA and earned her fourth cap.
It was a fast-paced, end-to-end match that saw Brazil control the play for significant parts of the game, but the Americans finished their chances to defeat Brazil for the first time in the last four meetings (one loss, two ties and a win). Both teams created early chances, but unlike their last meeting four days ago - a 1-1 tie in Seattle - it was the United States that got on the scoreboard first.
In the ninth minute, Tobin Heath found some space down the left sideline and timed her pass perfectly to Morgan, who made a precisely timed run to beat the Brazil back line. Morgan outran her defenders and then beat Brazil goalkeeper Luciana to the left before rolling the ball into and open net for her 55th career goal.
The goal was perhaps an introduction to the Orlando fans for Morgan, who is expected to join the expansion Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League. The team has scheduled a Monday press conference for a major announcement. Morgan has spent the last two seasons with the Portland Thorns, but is reported to have requested a trade in order to be in the same city with her husband, Servando Carrasco, who plays for Orlando City.
Becky Sauerbrun made the defensive play of the game in the 24th minute, as Brazil counterattacked down the left side and crossed to the far post where Cristiane had an open shot from close range. , Sauerbrunn recovered to clear the ball away just inches from it crossing the line.
Nearing the end of the first half regulation time, Brazil got its equalizer when Cristiane received a nice slip pass from Marta in the right side of the penalty box. She cut back inside to beat a defender and hit a powerful left-footed shot from just inside the penalty box that flew straight to the left corner.
The USA mounted an immediate response and went ahead three minutes later when a point-blank header from Lindsey Horan was blocked by Brazil goalkeeper Luciana but rebounded to Crystal Dunn, finished through traffic with her right foot to regain the lead just before halftime.
McCaffrey, added another score in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage, volleying home a perfect Megan Rapinoe cross from the left side for the final score line.
Hope Solo was once again solid in goal for the USA, making two saves while dominating the penalty box against a talented Brazilian attack.
With the win, the WNT extended its unbeaten home streak to 102 games (89-0-13). The last loss at home came to Denmark on Nov. 6, 2004, in Philadelphia.
The USWNT will resume its Victory Tour in December when it takes on Trinidad & Tobago on Dec. 6 in Hawaii and on Dec. 10 in San Antonio, Texas. The team will then face China PR in Glendale, Arizona on Dec. 13 and again in New Orleans on Dec. 16.