USWNT beats Japan 3-1 to claim 2020 SheBelieves Cup title
FRISCO, Texas – The U.S. Women’s National Team beat Japan 3-1 to claim the 2020 SheBelieves Cup title – and third SheBelieves championship overall – in front of a sellout crowd of 19,096 fans. Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press scored magnificent first half goals that were followed by a late Lindsey Horan insurance strike to give the USWNT the victory.
The USA (3-0-0, 9 points) finished atop the tournament standings while Spain (2-1-0, 6 points), which was making its debut in the competition, defeated England (1-2-0, 3 points) 1-0 on a late goal in the 84 th minute to finish second. England finished third and Japan (0-3-0, 0 points) rounded out the standings. Spain attacker Alexia Putellas was named the Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP after scoring twice in the tournament.
2020 SheBelieves Cup Final Standings
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski shook up his starting XI with six changes to the lineup that began against Spain, bringing in goalkeeper Adrianna Franch and defender Tierna Davidson for their first action of the tournament as well as handing starts to outside back Kelley O’Hara, midfielder Lindsey Horan and forwards Christen Press and Tobin Heath.
The new lineup wasted little time carving out the lead as Horan was fouled on the edge of the penalty area as she dribbled toward goal. Rapinoe curled the ensuing free kick over the Japan wall into the top left corner to put the USA up 1-0 in the 7th minute.
In the 26th minute, Rapinoe intercepted a pass from Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita and quickly played the ball to Press at the top of the box. She sent magical chip over Yamashita and into the net for joint team-leading seventh goal of 2020 to put the WNT firmly in the driver’s seat.
After Press’ goal, the USA has scored on both of its shots so far, and at that point, Japan needed four goals to knock the USA out of first place. While the perennial Asian power came out with renewed energy in the second half after the USA had the better of the play in the opening stanza, that was too big a mountain to climb.
Franch, playing in just her fourth cap, made a fine double save in the 50 th minute, first knocking down a long-range drive from Mana Iwabuchi and then making a point-blank stop on the follow-up. Iwabuchi would not be denied on her next attempt in the 58th minute when she snapped a shot through traffic to haul Japan within a goal at 2-1.
With the visitors ascendant and the USA trying to find its shape after a slew of subs, Japan threatened again minutes later, but a sharp angled shot hit the inside of the left post and deflected away from the U.S. goal and with it went Japan’s last quality opportunity to tie the match.
In the 83rd minute, substitute Mallory Pugh picked out Horan with a corner kick that the WNT’s joint-leading scorer powered inside the left post to put the USA up 3-1 and on the path to claiming its third SheBelieves crown.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Megan Rapinoe, 7th minute: The USA won the ball in Japan’s half and moved it to Lindsey Horan, who was pulled back and fouled by a defender just outside the penalty arc. Wearing the captain’s armband, Rapinoe sent the ensuing free kick scorching over the Japan wall from 24 yards out and into the upper left corner of the net. USA 1, JPN 0 [WATCH]
USA – Christen Press (Megan Rapinoe), 26th minute: Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita mishit a pass directly to Megan Rapinoe, who was stationed just outside the Japan penalty area. She picked out an unmarked Press at the top of the Japan box with a crisp pass. Press swiveled to face goal and lifted a deft chip over Yamashita to billow the left side of the net. USA 2, JPN 0 [WATCH]
USA – Mana Iwabuchi (Emi Nakajima), 58th minute: Moving the ball across the USA’s final third, Japan unbalanced the U.S. defense before Emi Nakajima cut into the right side of the box and played a pass back to an unmarked Iwabuchi who angled a sharp drive through traffic into the right side netting. USA 2, JPN 1
USA – Lindsey Horan (Mallory Pugh), 83rd minute: From the left corner, Mallory Pugh sent a perfectly-placed cross toward the top of the six-yard box where Horan had timed her run well to then jump highest and snap a header inside the left post. USA 3, JPN 1 [WATCH] FINAL
- The USWNT is 29-1-8 all-time vs. Japan.
- The USA is 10-2-3 all time in SBC play.
- The USWNT is unbeaten on home soil over its last 48 matches, 43 wins and five draws.
- The USA is riding a 31-game unbeaten streak and has scored two or more goals in 27 of those games.
- Christen Press’ goal was her seventh of year, which is tied for the team lead with Lindsey Horan.
- Horan’s goal was the 19th of her career and Press’ was her 58th.
- Press has nine goals in her last 10 games for the USA, only failing to score in Concacaf Olympic Qualifying against Mexico and against Spain on March 8 in New Jersey.
- Press has been directly involved in 25 goals over her last 26 appearances for the USA, scoring 11 goals and assisting 14.
- Megan Rapinoe’s assist was her fifth of the year, which leads the team, and the 68th of her career. She is fourth all-time on the WNT list and former teammate Abby Wambach is third with 73 assists.
- Ten players have scored so far for the USA in 2020: Press (7), Horan (7), Mewis (4), Williams (3), Lavelle (2), McDonald (2), Lloyd (2), Rapinoe (2), Heath and Ertz.
- Crystal Dunn is the only player to start every game so far this year for the USA. Dunn, Abby Dahlkemper and Julie Ertz are the only WNT players to start all three SheBelieves Cup matches.
- Mallory Pugh and Casey Short saw their first action of the tournament when they came on as subs at the hour mark for Rapinoe and Dunn, respectively.
- Three U.S. players in the lineup also started the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final vs. Japan (Tobin Heath, Ertz – at center back – and Megan Rapinoe)
- Japan’s goal ended a 789-minute shutout streak for the USA that extended back to the 79th minute of the WNT’s 3-2 win against Sweden on Nov. 7, 2019.
- The USA victory gave Vlatko Andonovski a 10-0- record, tying him with Pia Sundhage for best start to a tenure as USWNT head coach.
– Shebelieves cup MATCH REPORT –
Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Japan Women’s National Team
Date: March 11, 2020
Competition: 2020 SheBelieves Cup
Venue: Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas
Attendance: 19,096 (Sell Out)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: 83 degrees, Partly Cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
ENG 0 1 1
USA – Megan Rapinoe 7th minute
USA – Christen Press (Megan Rapinoe) 27
JPN – Mana Iwabuchi (Emi Nakajima) 58
USA – Lindsey Horan (Mallory Pugh) 83
USA: 21-Adrianna Franch; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 12-Tierna Davidson (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 46), 19-Crystal Dunn (20-Casey Short, 61); 8-Julie Ertz, 3-Samantha Mewis (16-Rose Lavelle, 72), 9-Lindsey Horan; 17-Tobin Heath (13-Lynn Williams, 78), 23-Christen Press (10-Carli Lloyd, 71); 15-Megan Rapinoe (Capt.) (2-Mallory Pugh, 61)
Substitutes not used: 1-Alyssa Naeher, 6-Andi Sullivan, 11-Ali Krieger, 14-Emily Sonnett, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 22-Jessica McDonald
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
JPN: 18-Ayaka Yamashita; 22-Mayo Doko, 4-Saki Kumagai (Capt.), 5-Moeka Minami, 3-Shiori Miyake; 17-Narumi Miura, 6-Hina Sugita, 9-Yuika Sugasawa, 7-Emi Nakajima; 10-Yuka Momik (11-Riko Ueki, 84), 15-Mina Tanaka (8-Mana Iwabuchi, 46)
Substitutes not used: 1-Sakkio Ikeda, 2-Risa Shimizu, 12-Hikaru Naomoto, 13-Mayu Ikejiri, 16-Asato Miyagawa, 19-Jun Enda, 20-Arisa Matsubara, 21-Chika Hirao, 23-Mami Ueno
Head coach: Asako Takakura
Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 7 / 11
Shots on Goal: 4 / 4
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 9 / 11
Offside: 7 / 2
JPN – Mina Tanaka (Caution) 5th minute
USA – Tobin Heath (Caution) 50
JPN – Riko Ueki (Caution) 90+2
Referee: Melissa Borjas (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Shirley Perello (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Yudilia Briones (HON)
4th Official: Tatiana Guzman (MEX)
Player of the Match : Megan Rapinoe