The U.S. Women took the championship of the SheBelieves Cup 2021 in emphatic fashion with a 6-0 victory against Argentina. Boosted by a brace from Megan Rapinoe, first-half goals from Carli Lloyd and Kristie Mewis, plus two late tallies from Alex Morgan and Christen Press, the USA clinched its fourth SheBelieves Cup title, becoming the first back-to-back champion in the tournament’s six-year history and the first team to not allow a single goal at the competition.
Rose Lavelle was awarded the Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP award. Her dynamic style of play was on display in all three games and she scored the game-winning goal vs. Canada in the opener as well as earning the assist on the opening goal tonight.
The midfielder received 31.7% of the total vote, narrowly edging teammate Christen Press, who received 30.9% of the vote. Brazil’s Debinha (21.7%) and Adriana (15.7%) were the other finalists. A five-member committee selected the four finalists and the winner was determined by a combination of the committee votes as well as votes from over 8,000 fans.
Final Standings – 2021 SheBelieves Cup
USWNT BEAT ARGENTINA IN FINAL
After two hard-fought victories against Canada and Brazil to open the tournament, an offensive outburst fueled the USWNT to a dominant showing vs. La Albiceleste. The USA piled up a 27-1 margin in shots and kept the ball in Argentina’s defensive half for most of the night.
The USA kicked off the scoring in the 16th minute as Rose Lavelle chipped a ball over the Argentina defense to set up Rapinoe for the game’s first goal. Lloyd would set up Rapinoe’s second just 10 minutes later. It was Rapinoe’s her third score of the 2021 tournament and seventh all-time at the SheBelieves Cup, the most in the competition’s history. Rapinoe’s brace also marked her 56th and 57th international goals, moving her to the top 10 in scoring all-time for the USWNT, passing Carin Gabarra.
Lloyd, appearing in her 299th match for the USWNT, scored a goal of her own in the 35th minute off an assist from Mewis. The veteran forward’s next appearance will see her join Kristine Lilly and Christie Pearce Rampone in an extremely exclusive club as the only players in USWNT and world history with 300 caps.
Following some nice combination play with Casey Krueger, Mewis also got on the scoresheet in the waning minutes of the first half as she made her first start for the USWNT since March 2014.
After a number of chances following the break, Morgan and Press put exclamation points on the evening in the 84th and 88th minutes, respectively. Young forward Sophia Smith, the first player born in 2000 to play for the USWNT, recorded her first assist as she teed up Morgan’s first goal as a mom and her 108th for the USWNT, moving her past Michelle Akers and into sole possession of fifth place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list.
Press capped off a busy night of threatening the Argentina defense with a goal off a corner via an assist from Lindsey Horan. Both have been incredibly productive for the USA of late — Press’ goal marked her 11th in her last 13 games while Horan has had a hand in nine of the USWNT’s 19 goals in 2021.
Argentina played in a compact defensive block for the entire match, often with all 11 players inside the final 45 yards to goal, and it took the USA a bit of time to break down the defense. But in the end, WNT threatened and scored in a variety of ways, on set pieces, building from the back, in transition and working the ball around the Argentinian box.
Vlatko Andonovski uses all substitutes
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski used all six of his available substitutions, including five in the second half after a pre-planned change of defenders Emily Sonnett for Kelley O’Hara at the 30-minute mark as the veteran right back works her way back to fitness after a minor injury. The two youngest players on the USWNT roster, 21-year-old Jaelin Howell and the 20-year-old Smith, made their second and third full international appearances, respectively.
While action was limited for goalkeeper Jane Campbell, she recorded her second career shutout in her third career start for the USWNT. After entering the 2021 SheBelieves Cup without allowing a shot on goal in its last 302 minutes of play, the U.S. back line did not allow Argentina a shot on target and has not given up a goal in its last six games. The USWNT is planning to return to action during the April international window.
USA: 18-Jane Campbell; 5-Kelley O’Hara (14-Emily Sonnett, 32), 12-Tierna Davidson, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Capt.), 2-Casey Krueger (20-Margaret Purce, 46); 8-Julie Ertz (3-Jaelin Howell, 62), 16-Rose Lavelle (9- Lindsey Horan, 46), 22-Kristie Mewis; 23-Christen Press, 10-Carli Lloyd (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Sophia Smith, 62)
Subs not used: 1-Alyssa Naeher, 6-Lynn Williams, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 19-Crystal Dunn, 21-Casey Murphy
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
ARG: 1-Solana Pereyra; 21-Adriana Sachs, 4-Marina Delgado, 6-Aldana Cometti, 20-Daiana Falfan (10-Dalila Ippolito, 59), 15-Milagros Menendez (19-Mariana Larroquette, 51), 18-Romina Nuñez (3-Eliana Stabile, 46), 5-Vanesa Santana (Capt.), 11-Yamila Rodriguez (7-Yael Oviedo, 63), 8-Clarisa Huber (14-Miriam Mayorga, 52), 9-Soledad Jaimes (17-Valentina Camara, 75)
Subs not used: 12-Laurina Oliveros; 2-Agustina Barroso, 13-Sophia Braun
Head coach: Carlos Borrello