USWNT begins Summer Series with 1-0 victory over Portugal
HOUSTON, Texas – A late corner kick from Christen Press teed up Samantha Mewis for the lone goal in the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 1-0 victory against Portugal to open its 2021 WNT Summer Series.
After controlling the entire match, the 76th-minute goal capped off a hard-fought effort against a hardy Portugal defense that held strong for much of the hot and humid Texan evening, akin to the conditions the USWNT will face at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
While the USWNT didn’t get on the board until late in the second half, the team dominated the evening both offensively and defensively. The U.S. outshot Portugal 26-4, served in 32 open play crosses and racked up 15 corner kicks
In the first half, the USWNT threatened on a number of crosses as Press created danger on the wings and the U.S. fired off a few long-range warning shots. The U.S. also played stifling defense, making it difficult for Portugal to string together more than a few passes and not allowing their opponent to drive into American territory until midway through the opening frame.
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Several corner and free kicks provided chances for the USA with perhaps its best coming in the 34th minute. With the ball bouncing around the box, Press directed it on frame but was thwarted by a nice kick save from Portugal goalkeeper Inês Pereira, who had a fine match of shot-stopping and cross-catching. Mewis also had a nice chance to put the U.S. up on a header just before the break, but her shot bounced wide.
Things started to open up in the second half as forward Alex Morgan had another excellent opportunity in the 55th, striking a ball wide off a well-placed service into the box from Megan Rapinoe. A minute later, another shot from Mewis also went wide. Morgan just misfired on another prime service in the 67th minute while two more promising shots were deflected and fired wide in the following moments.
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski made his first three subs of the night in the 73rd and the USA’s breakthrough came just a few minutes later. With Rapinoe subbed off, Press took her first corner kick of the evening in the 76th minute and her soaring service found Mewis just inside the near post, where she headed it home into the roof of the net from close range for the game’s lone goal.
With the assist, the 40th of her career, Press becomes the 14th player in USWNT history with 100 combined goals and assists (60 goals and 40 assists). Mewis’ fourth goal of 2021 is good for second on the team this year.
The U.S. nearly doubled its lead in the 79th minute as Carli Lloyd pounced on a rebound following a save by Pereira off a free kick shot from Lindsey Horan, but the play was whistled offside. Lloyd had another dangerous opportunity late in stoppage time, but Pereira made another nice save with her right foot to hold the U.S. to just one goal. Lloyd’s next goal will make her the oldest player ever to score for the U.S. Women’s or Men’s National Teams.
Horan started and went 90 minutes at defensive midfielder in the absence of the injured Julie Ertz and played an excellent match.
Next up, the USA will continue its 2021 WNT Summer Series vs. Jamaica on Sunday, June 13 (10 p.m. ET on FS1). The two days between matches is designed to simulate the two rest days between matches at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA – Samantha Mewis (Christen Press), 76th minute: After knocking on the door for much of the match, the USWNT finally broke through in the 76th minute on one of its 15 corner kicks. Press lined up to take her first corner of the evening and she sent a booming ball over two Portuguese defenders and Rose Lavelle to find Mewis standing just inside the near post. She squared her header perfectly high into the net for her 22nd international goal and it would prove to be the difference for the USA. USA 1, POR 0
- The USWNT improves to 10-0-0 vs. Portugal. It was the teams’ first meeting since the team’s Victory Tour following its historic triumph at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, a 4-0 U.S. victory.
- The USA’s unbeaten streak now stands at 40 matches, the third-longest in USNWT history, trailing only a 43-game unbeaten run from March 2012 to March 2014 and a 51-match unbeaten streak from Dec. 2004 to Sept. 2007.
- The USWNT’s home unbeaten streak now stands at 54 games, including 49 wins and five draws. During the streak, the U.S. has outscored its opponents 191-27, including a 57-1 margin during its last 15 matches.
- It’s the USA’s 16th-straight home victory, dating back to head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s first match in charge of the team in Nov. 2019.
- Andonovski is 18-0-1 in his first 19 games (two at the end of 2019, nine in 2020 and eight so far in 2021), setting a record for the best start for a head coach in USWNT history.
- Forward Christen Press is in the midst of one of the most productive stretches of her career. She’s been directly involved in 31 goals in her last 33 games for the USWNT, scoring 13 goals and adding 18 assists in that stretch.
- Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher kept a clean sheet for the 12th time in her last 13 appearances for the USWNT. It was the 41st shutout of her career.
- Midfielder Rose Lavelle is the only player to appear in every USWNT match since the team resumed play in November 2020.
- At the end of the match, Andonovski sent on Tierna Davidson (79th), Sophia Smith (73rd) and Lynn Williams (89th) to help salt away the victory.
– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –
Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. Portugal
Date: June 10, 2021
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: BBVA Stadium; Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 8:38 p.m. ET; 7:38 p.m. local
Weather: 88 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
POR 0 0 0
USA – Samantha Mewis (Christen Press) 76th minute
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara (14-Emily Sonnett, 73), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (Capt.), 19-Crystal Dunn (12-Tierna Davidson, 79); 9-Lindsey Horan, 16-Rose Lavelle, 3-Samantha Mewis; 23-Christen Press (6-Lynn Williams, 89), 13-Alex Morgan (10-Carli Lloyd, 73), 15-Megan Rapinoe (2-Sophia Smith, 73)
Substitutes not used: 18-Jane Campbell, 21-Adrianna Franch: 11-Catarina Macario, 20-Margaret Purce, 22-Kristine Mewis, 25-Andi Sullivan, 26-Alana Cook
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
POR: 1-Inês Pereira, 2-Catarina Amado, 4-Sílvia Rebelo, 15-Carole Costa, 5-Joana Marchão (3-Alícia Correia, 90+1); 8-Andreia Norton (6-Andreia Jacinto, 82), 11-Tatiana Pinto (21-Andreia Faria, 90+1), 14-Dolores Silva (Capt.), 7-Francisca Nazareth (13-Fátima Pinto, 60); 10-Jéssica Silva (23-Telma Encarnação, 82), 16-Diana Silva (9-Melissa Gomes, 90+1)
Substitutes not used: 12-Bárbara Santos, 22-Rute Costa, 17-Mariana Azevedo, 18-Beatriz Cameirão, 19-Diana Gomes, 20-Lúcia Alves
Head coach: Neto Francisco
Stats Summary: USA / POR
Shots: 26 / 4
Shots on Goal: 10 / 1
Saves: 1 / 9
Corner Kicks: 15 / 1
Fouls: 6 / 12
Offside: 5 / 3
POR – Jéssica Silva (Caution) 49th minute
Referee: Danielle Chesky (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Sandra Ramirez (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Deleana Quan (USA)
4th Official: Karen Abt (USA)
U.S. Soccer Insiders Woman of the Match: Christen Press