USWNT beats Canada 2-0 in SheBelieves Cup as Mallory Swanson records a brace
ORLANDO, Florida – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened the 2023 SheBelieves Cup with a convincing 2-0 victory over Canada in front of 14,697 fans at Exploria Stadium.
Forward Mallory Swanson continued her fantastic start to the year by scoring twice in the first half to extend her scoring streak to four straight games. The brace lifts Swanson to 30 international goals as she recorded her fifth career multi-goal game and her second such outing on the year.
In a series that dates back to 1986, the 64th meeting between the USA and Canada saw the reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup champions USA take on the reigning Olympic gold medalists Canada. While the last three meetings between the teams were decided by 1-0 scorelines, the USA controlled Thursday’s match from the opening whistle.
Similar to its year-opening wins in New Zealand in January, the USA’s pressure and pace set the tone early. Just 12 seconds into the match, the U.S. nearly opened the scoring after defender Alana Cook sent a long ball into the attacking third which forward Alex Morgan, who was recognized prior to the match for her earning her 200th cap at the end of 2020, flicked on to midfielder Lindsey Horan. Horan advanced the ball to Swanson inside the penalty area and she took a quick shot from a tight angle on the left that Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan did well to save at the near post.
It was a sign of things to come from Morgan, Horan and Swanson, who caused Canada problems throughout the first half.
Two minutes later, Morgan played a square ball from the center to the right side for on-rushing midfielder Ashley Sanchez, who ripped a shot from 22 yards that Sheridan saved with a diving effort to her left, tipping the ball spectacularly over the crossbar.
Horan was next to threaten, nearly finishing a good team effort in possession up of the field with a shot that was blocked two yards from the goalmouth by a defender.
On its heels, Canada finally surrendered in the seventh minute when Morgan set up Swanson for a first-time shot that she tucked past Sheridan and into the lower left corner for the opening goal.
Highlighting the early pressure, in the first ten minutes of the match the U.S. had 50 touches in the offensive third compared to one for Canada.
While Canada started to alleviate the pressure a bit with some good possession, but they could not completely contain the American attack. Horan nearly doubled the lead in the 17th with a powerful header off a cross from Cook that bounced off the outside of the lower left post. Forward Trinity Rodman also had a solid look and shot just past the half hour mark which Sheridan also saved.
Swanson then notched her second of the night when she picked up an errant back pass from Canadian defender Vanessa Gilles – who was pressured by Morgan – and hit a first time shot past Sheridan from close range.
Canada’s best chance of the half – and game – came in first half stoppage time. Forward Janine Beckie attacked down the right channel and unleashed a hard shot from 22 yards, but USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was up for the challenge, diving at full extension to her right to keep the visitors off the board. Naeher recorded three saves on the night as she registered her 52nd career shutout. Sheridan ended the night with five saves for the visitors.
The U.S. team could have been a bit more ruthless in front of the net, creating numerous chances after going up 2-0 to put the match to bed, but in the end, Swanson’s two goals would have to suffice.
Both teams used their full allotment of substitutes in the second half which saw the U.S. create even more offensively. The USA nearly added a third with 15 minutes to play when Horan sent a long ball up the middle that Kristie Mewis did well to control in the box before sliding a square pass over to fellow second-half substitute Ashley Hatch. Sheridan read the play and came quickly off her line to cut off the angle and block Hatch’s close-range shot.
Five-time SheBelieves Cup champions and winners of the last three editions of the tournament, the USA sits atop the standings after the first day of the 2023 SheBelieves Cup. Brazil also picked up three points in the opening match of the tournament, defeating Japan 1-0 on a goal from Kansas City Current star Debinha.
Level on three points each, the USA has the advantage over Brazil on goal differential heading into the second match day in Nashville. The USA will face off against Japan on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT at GEODIS Park (TNT, HBO Max, Universo, Peacock), followed by Brazil vs. Canada at 6:30 p.m. ET (HBO Max, Universo, Peacock)
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
USA – Mallory Swanson (Alex Morgan), 7th minute – Taking the ball down the right touchline, Trinity Rodman beat her mark as she cut inside before sending a lined cross towards the middle of the box. With her back to goal, Morgan lunged and pushed the ball back towards the top of the box, where Swanson hit a powerful first-time, right-footed half-volley from 17 yards into the lower left side of the goal to open the scoring. USA 1, CAN 0
USA – Mallory Swanson, 34th minute – With Canada looking to build out of the back, Canadian defender Vanessa Gilles received a ball near the left touchline, but felt the pressure applied by Morgan and decided to turn and pass the ball back to Sheridan in goal. Swanson read the play and darted forward to pick off the ball before it reached the goalkeeper, hitting a first-time shot from close range for her second of the night. USA 2, CAN 0
- Tonight’s 2-0 scoreline snaps a streak of three consecutive 1-0 games between the USA and Canada and is the USA’s largest win over Canada since a 3-0 victory in Olympic Qualifying in February of 2020.
- The USA leads the overall series 53-4-7 in a series that began in 1986.
- Swanson’s current four-game scoring streak ties for the longest such streak of her career.
- Swanson’s goals were the 99th and 100th goals scored in SheBelieves Cup history.
- With her second goal of the night, Swanson now has five international goals in 2023 and 30 in her career, moving into a tie with Brandi Chastain and Amy Rodriguez for 20th on the USA’s all-time scoring list.
- The assist on Swanson’s opening goal was the 48th career assist for Alex Morgan who is now just one assist away from moving into a tie with Carin Jennings-Gabarra for 10th place on the USA’s all-time assists charts.
- Defender Crystal Dunn, along with Swanson, are the only two players to start all three matches for the USWNT in 2023.
- Morgan was honored prior to kickoff for earning her 200th career cap on Nov. 13, 2022, and captained the USA as she earned her 202nd career cap. Morgan is one of just six active players in women’s international soccer with 200 or more caps.
- Alyssa Naeher made her second start of 2023 in her 88th appearance all-time for the USWNT. Naeher earned her 52nd career shutout, which ranks third in USWNT history. Naeher extended her tournament record with her ninth clean sheet in the SheBelieves Cup.
-U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. Canada Women’s National Team
Date: February 16, 2023
Competition: 2023 SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa
Venue: Exploria Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
Kickoff: 7:07 p.m. ET
Weather: 77 degrees, mostly clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 0 2
CAN 0 0 0
USA – Mallory Swanson (Alex Morgan) 7th minute
USA – Mallory Swanson 34
USA:1-Alyssa Naeher; 23-Emily Fox, 3-Alana Cook, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 19-Crystal Dunn (14-Emily Sonnett, 46); 17-Andi Sullivan, 2-Ashley Sanchez (22-Kristie Mewis, 62), Lindsey Horan (20-Taylor Kornieck, 88); 5-Trinity Rodman (6-Lynn Williams, 78), 13-Alex Morgan (Capt.) (7-Ashley Hatch, 62), 9-Mallory Swanson (11-Midge Purce, 88)
Substitutions Not Used: 8-Sofia Huerta, 12-Naomi Girma, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 16-Rose Lavelle, 18-Casey Murphy, 21-Adrianna Franch
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
1-Kailen Sheridan, 10-Ashley Lawrence, 3-Kadeisha Buchanan, 14-Vanessa Gilles, 2-Allysha Chapman (23-Jenna Hellstrom, 46), 17-Jessie Fleming, 7-Julia Grosso (8-Simi Awujo, 65), 19-Adriana Leon (20-Cloé Lacasse, 57), 12-Christine Sinclair (Capt.) (5-Quinn, 57), 16-Janine Beckie (21-Jade Rose, 76), 9-Jordyn Huitema (15-Evelyne Viens, 76)
Substitutions Not Used: 18-Sabrina D’Angelo, 22-Lysianne Proulx, 4-Shelina Zadorsky, 6-Gabby Carle, 11-Clarissa Larisey, 13-Sophie Schmidt
Head coach: Bev Priestman
Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 14 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 11 / 12
Offside: 3 / 0
CAN – Jessie Fleming (Caution) 64th minute
CAN – Jenna Hellstorm (Caution) 82
Referee: Katia Garcia (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Karen Diaz (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Enedina Caudillo (MEX)
4th Official: Katja Koroleva (USA)
Woman of the Match: Mallory Swanson
2023 SHEBELIEVES CUP STANDINGS