The U.S. Women’s National Team clinched the 2023 SheBelieves Cup title – its fourth in a row and sixth overall – with a 2-1 victory against Brazil in front of 17,784 fans on the final match day of the 2023 SheBelieves Cup. Alex Morgan and 2023 SheBelieves Cup MVP Mallory Swanson scored for the U.S., while Ludmila tallied late for Brazil.
Report from USSoccer.com
U.S. Women’s National Team Beat Brazil 2-1 To 2023 Win SheBelieves Cup
For the title-deciding match, U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski selected six different players from the lineup that started on Sunday’s 1-0 win against Japan. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, defenders Becky Sauerbrunn, who served as captain for the 40th time in her career, and Crystal Dunn returned behind midfielders Andi Sullivan and Rose Lavelle, who made her first tournament appearance. Up top, Trinity Rodman came in on the right side of the U.S. attack.
It was a high-energy match from the opening whistle with the first moment of danger carved out by the USA in only the fourth minute. A poorly cleared corner fell perfectly for Dunn at the top of the box but her quick blast deflected off a Brazil defender before crashing against the base of the right post.
Not to be outdone, Brazil’s Debinha forced Naeher into a save minutes later. Against the run of play, midfielder Kerolin nearly capped off a lightening Brazilian counter on the half hour mark despite the USA holding a solid possession edge (56-44%).
The next moment of danger came with five minutes until halftime. The USA’s press, which was effective throughout the night, created a turnover inside Brazil’s half and a quick pass put Morgan through on goal. After slotting the ball home, she wheeled around to celebrate only to see the flag raised for offside.
It seemed destined the teams would head to the locker rooms all square but once again the U.S. press won the ball and sprang forward in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. This time, Morgan would not be denied. Picking up the rebound after a blocked Swanson shot, she sped past a defender before curling a left footed shot inside the left post to give the USA a 1-0 advantage at the break.
Brazil — lively and dangerous all game long — nearly responded early in the second half. Adriana crashed a 49th minute hammer strike off the crossbar. It was foreshadowing of a second half full of excitement and offense.
A creative heel flick from Morgan in the 52nd minute nearly redirected a Swanson cross into the top left corner of the goal only for Brazil goalkeeper Lorena to push it over the bar. The ensuing corner brought a scramble with numerous U.S. attempts blocked inside the six-yard box.
On the hour mark the speedy Kerolin run allowed her to carve out hard shot, but it was from a tight angle and Naher had it covered.
Three minutes later, Swanson capped off another quality U.S. press and counter with what proved to be the game winning goal. Her fourth goal of the tournament not only provided the final margin but made her the first player to score in every game of a single SheBelieves Cup and made her the competition’s all-time leading scorer with eight goals.
The final 15 minutes of the game really opened up as Brazil sought a goal. With the game stretched out, the U.S. had numerous chances to extend its lead but it was Brazil, ranked No. 9 in the world by FIFA, that found a late consolation goal through a header from substitute Ludmila in the 90th minute.
Up next, the U.S. will have games during the April FIFA window before U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski and his staff select the 23-player roster for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 23-Emily Fox, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Capt.), 12-Naomi Girma, 19-Crystal Dunn (14-Emily Sonnett, 61); 17-Andi Sullivan (22-Kristie Mewis 81), 10-Lindsey Horan, 16-Rose Lavelle (2-Ashley Sanchez, 71); 5-Trinity Rodman (6-Lynn Williams, 61), 13-Alex Morgan (20-Taylor Kornieck, 81), 9-Mallory Swanson (15-Megan Rapinoe, 71)
Substitutions Not Used: 3-Alana Cook, 7-Ashley Hatch, 8-Sofia Huerta, 11-Midge Purce, 18-Casey Murphy, 21-Adrianna Franch
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
BRA: 1-Lorena, 5-Tainara (2-Bruninha, 62), 14-Lauren, 4-Rafaelle (Capt.), 6-Tamires; 20-Nycole (8-Ana Vitória, 46), 17-Ary Borges (, 10-Marta, 58), 21-Kerolin, 11-Adriana; 16-Bia Zaneratto (7-Ludmila, 86), 9-Debinha (18-Geyse, 46)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Letícia, 22-Luciana, 13-Tarciane, 15-Julia Bianchi, 19-Yasmim, 23-Gabi Nunes
Head coach: Pia Sundhage