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Three Takeaways: USWNT Won SheBelieves Cup in Penalties

The USWNT Won SheBelieves Cup Championship Against the CanWNT

ANALYSIS – The USWNT won the SheBelieves Cup in a very close game as they had to go to penalties. Canada fought valiantly, but it was the U.S. that won the SheBelieves Cup trophy at Field in Columbus, Ohio.

The USWNT Won SheBelieves Cup Against Rivals the CanWNT

The Passing of the USWNT Played a Big Role in the Win

A big reason why the U.S. won this game was the ability to pass within the Canadian zone. This was seen in many different instances such as:

  • Some great passes by the USWNT almost led to a goal by Lindsey Horan in the 50-minute.
  • Tierna Davidson passed the ball to Alex Morgan in the seventh-minute, who put a dangerous cross inside Canada’s box.

READ MORE: CanWNT’s Jessie Fleming Stood Out in Game Against Brazil

These were just two examples, but it is something Canada can learn from. The passing of the American team inside Canada’s half put the Canadian defence under pressure. This was also seen similarly in Canada’s semi-final SheBelieves Cup game against Brazil back on Saturday and is something Canada will need to work on heading into the Summer Olympics.

Sophia Smith Scored Two Goals

Sophia Smith played a big role in helping secure the U.S. victory as she scored two goals for the national team.

The first goal was scored from just outside the box as Smith’s shot went into the back of the net. The second goal was created from a great pass from Trinity Rodman, where Smith was able to capitalize and put it into the back of the net. This is what the USWNT interim head coach, Twila Kilgore, said about the game:

“She can score variety, different type of goals. And she’s doing great.”

The USWNT Won In Penalties

The USWNT won this game because of penalties. There are a lot of players to discuss, but goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, is one to note. The momentum started to change when she made her first penalty-kick stop, followed by her penalty shot conversion. Naeher would make three stops in seven attempts, and it resulted in the Americans winning the match.

This is what the USWNT interim head coach, Kilgore said about Naeher:

“I mean, it’s incredible. You guys, is it not incredible? I mean, nerves of steel, getting a job done. By the way, I think she made three PK saves in the first the first time we played in Canada, and scored the goal. And I think she just repeated that. And that’s all in a matter of like 35 days or something like that. It’s incredible.”

What Kilgore is talking about is also the Concacaf W Gold Cup semi-final match-up when Naeher made three penalty saves on March 6, 2024. Also, the U.S. will be one of the teams Canada should watch out for as the Olympic Games draw nearer for both nations.

Other Factors: Positives for the CanWNT

The Canadian women’s national team was one header away from winning the 2024 SheBelieves Cup. Kadeisha Buchanan got a header from a fantastic corner following a free-kick by Adriana Leon.

Jade Rose was a player that stood out for the Canadian national team as CanWNT head coach, Beverly Priestman, said this about Rose:

“So, I think the unique story is Christine Sinclair gave her that jersey and I think that says a lot when she announced she was retiring. She said that I want you to have the number 12,” Priestman said. “I thought today she showed great real bravery to step in the midfield and just Yeah, dribble and players do something different. I think she has an unbelievable football bring. And then unbelievable athleticism. She’s not even a professional player. And I think the sky’s the limit.”

The performance of J. Rose was something to note of this game. Her ability to make key defensive plays against Jaedyn Shaw as Canada made sure that Shaw did not score in this game was exceptional. Not to mention Vanessa Gilles’ diving tackle to prevent a clear-cut USWNT goal-scoring opportunity was also something to note.

READ MORE: Ashley Lawrence: One of the CanWNT’s Most Important Players

As for the offence, Ashley Lawrence is showing why she is one of the best for Canada, as Lawrence played a big part in yet another key Canada goal. Then, there is Adriana Leon, who scored two goals, including one scored via a penalty that she earned for her team, and is now third all-time in goal-scoring for the national team, only behind Christine Sinclair and Charmaine Hooper.

SheBelieves Cup Overview: USWNT Won SheBelieves Cup Championship

READ MORE: Adriana Leon: The Prolific CanWNT Striker

This is what head coach Priestman said about the experience of having gone through many penalty shoot-outs in a short space of time this year:

“We’re living at live with a full stadium. And I think that that just can’t be rehearsed, no matter how many times you practice. Every day, every player’s hitting penalties between the Gold Cup and here there’s not one practice where we haven’t done it.”

Canada has now played three-straight games against top-ten opposition as they faced Brazil on April 6, 2024, and also the U.S. on March 6, 2024.

As for the third-place game, Brazil won in penalties against Japan as Lorena made three penalty-saves to give her team the win. It is also important to note that three of the four SheBelieves Cup games went to penalties. The only game that did not go to penalties was a 2-1 U.S. win against Japan in the semi-finals stage of the SheBelieves Cup.

All four of these nations will also participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. So, getting friendlies before those games happen in July will be crucial preparation for the Canadian women’s national team.


Photo Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK, of a USWNT Headshot, on April 9, 2024.


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