USWNT rout England in opening SheBelieves Cup match, 2-0

USWNT Christen Press

Orlando, Florida — Julie Ertz didn’t score a goal during her 100th appearance for the USWNT. However, the Chicago Red Stars midfielder made her presence known on both offense and defense. Last night, against England, Ertz featured for a strong 90 minutes. Her work earned her high praise from head coach Vlatko Andonovski.

“Everybody knows who Julie Ertz is and what she does for this team,” Andonovski said. “I start getting feelings that Julie Ertz might be the most important player on this squad. I didn’t know that until I started working with this team… This team revolves around her. She’s the glue defensively and she’s a go-to person offensively.”

“Besides that, she’s a true professional and student of the game.”

Christen Press took the scoring reins in the second half. After an intense battle to find the net in the first half, which results in plenty of diving for English goalkeeper Carly Telford, Press hit the upper corner of the net for a goal. Andonovski called her a world-class forward.

“She’s always had a good instinct for scoring goals,” Andonovski said. “It seems that she just finds space more instinctively. She has a great shot. We saw that in the qualifiers and we saw that now. She’s always had that; I’ve seen it in the league.”

Carli Lloyd also found the back of Telford’s net, two minutes later. On defense, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made three saves to keep a clean sheet.

The contest was a competitive rematch of the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal this past summer. The United States ended that match with a 2-1 scoreline, edging out England and eventually winning the tournament. This time, Naeher and the defense got the clean sheet victory.

The SheBelieves Cup will continue on Sunday.

Spain vs. Japan: Lucía García dominates 

Spain is competing in their first-ever SheBelieves Cup this year. The first competition for La Roja was a contest against Japan, who won the World Cup back in 2011.

Spain dismantled Japan with a 3-1 victory, putting them at the top of the SheBelieves Cup table with the United States. La Roja got off to an early start, with Alexia Putellas scoring the opening goal in the 8th minute. However, right before the halftime whistle blew, Mana Iwabuchi chipped goalkeeper Dolores Gallardo and scored.

The tie didn’t last, though.

Lucía García, who features for Athletic Club in Spain, scored twice in the second half. Her first goal came in the 48th minute, while her final goal came in the 78th minute. García made her Spanish debut in 2018 and scored her first international goal during the World Cup last summer, against South Africa.

After the match, Japanese manager Asako Takakura called his team sluggish.

“Our finishing wasn’t particularly good,” Takakura said. “On the other hand, our opponents finished their chances well. Overall, we were sluggish… I want us to show the kind of football we’re capable of playing.”

What’s Next for the USWNT?

The two teams at the top of the table met last summer, too. Spain was knocked out of the Round of 16 by the United States. Now, there’s a chance for revenge on U.S. soil. On Sunday, La Roja and the USWNT will kick off at 5 p.m. EST.

Beforehand, England and Japan will compete at 2:15 p.m. EST.

 

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