USWNT Win Opening Match in SheBelieves Cup
The USWNT opened the SheBelieves Cup with a win over Germany led by Lynn Williams on Wednesday night. With three points in the bag, the U.S. heads to New Jersey next to face England on March 4th (5 p.m.; FOX) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.
Soccer News: The U.S. Women’s National Team opened its 2017 schedule against No. 2-ranked and Olympic champion Germany at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday during the first day of the SheBelieves Cup.
Alyssa Naeher started in goal for the U.S. and made her 11th appearance and eighth start. The match was the first time Naeher suited up against 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. The trio played in their fifth game together in a formation that head coach Jill Ellis first introduced on Oct. 19, 2016 against Switzerland. The four previous occasions in which the three-back was used had been friendly games.
The U.S. defense was organized, composed and aggressive over the entire 90 minutes as they put pressure on the Germans from the forwards all the way to the back. The U.S. worked hard to win numerous balls in the midfield and earned a shutout against a 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. “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.”
Naeher’s solid performance keeps her in the discussion for the starting position as she continues to compete with Ashlyn Harris, as well as other younger goalkeepers – led by Jane Campbell – for playing time in the net.
While the U.S. kept Germany out of dangerous positions for most of the match, Naeher came up big in the 12th minute when she was tested by a strike 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 striking a shot from about 18 yards out that was surging into the upper right corner. Naeher was well-positioned and flew to her left to tip the ball out for a Germany corner.
The U.S. went on to record the game-winner in the 56th minute from Lynn Williams as they claimed a victory in their opening match of the SheBelieves Cup.
Williams broke through after Christen Press’ shot struck the crossbar and Tobin Heath’s follow up was blocked by a German defender. The ball then rolled to Williams who finished smoothly to make it 1-0.
The USWNT travels to New Jersey next to take on England on March 4th (5 p.m.; FOX) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.