Women’s Soccer: U.S. 1, Australia 1 Americans salvage draw with late goal
EAST HARTFORD — Paying its semi-regular visit to Connecticut, the United States women’s national soccer team carried play throughout the first half and beyond Sunday night at Rentschler Field.
All Australia needed was one block, one brilliant rush, one nifty pass and one shot on goal to take the lead. But the Americans finally found an answer just as the game clock hit 90 minutes.
Lindsey Horan’s header inside the right post gave the United States a 1-1 tie with Australia in a Tournament of Nations game the hosts had controlled, in possession and shots, from the early minutes.
Horan finished off Megan Rapinoe’s corner kick from the left side in front of a crowd of 21,570 in the second of three games for each team at the Tournament of Nations.
Lisa De Vanna’s singular effort set up Chloe Logarzo’s goal in the 22nd minute, giving Australia a lead that nearly lasted out the night, despite the United States’ 18-8 edge in shots, including 6-2 in shots on goal.
Since back-to-back losses to England and France in March 2017, the U.S. national team is 19-1-2. The only loss was to Australia, a year ago in this tournament. And the Matildas nearly made it two.
The United States had first-half chances, with the likes of Alex Morgan and Rapinoe threading passes and nearly completing crosses.
Nearly midway through the first half, Rapinoe had a corner kick on the left side. She got the ball back quickly and sent it into the box, where a defender blocked it. The ball caromed to De Vanna above the box, who collected it and spun away from an American player.
She dribbled upfield with speed and threaded a pass ahead into the box to Logarzo, who slipped it past American goalie Alyssa Naeher inside the right post from about 13 yards out.
A pretty set of passes sent Rapinoe into the box in the 66th minute, but Australia’s Alanna Kennedy knocked the ball away for a corner kick that went through harmlessly. It wasn’t long after that when Australia finally put its second shot on goal, grabbed by Naeher.
Naeher, the former Christian Heritage School standout who grew up in Seymour, made her 31st appearance for the national team. She has become the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper over the past year and a half.
Australia and the United States are both 1-0-1 at the Tournament of Nations, which U.S. Soccer says it plans to host in years that don’t feature an Olympic tournament or a World Cup. Australia won all three of its games at the tournament last year to win.
The tournament continues Thursday in Bridgeville, Ill., outside Chicago. The United States plays Brazil, which beat Japan 2-1 on Sunday to improve to 1-1. Australia meets 0-2 Japan.
For the Americans, it’s preparation for the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which in October will qualify three teams for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. also has games against Chile in California to warm up for World Cup qualifying.
This was the women’s national team’s 11th game in Connecticut and its seventh at Rentschler Field. They’ve played a game here every even-numbered year since 2010 and were here twice in the six years before that.
The last visit was a friendly against Colombia, a 7-0 win for the United States, on April 6, 2016. That game drew a crowd of 21,792, the largest attendance of the 11 games.
In Sunday’s earlier game, Brazil scored two second-half goals to beat Japan. Marta scored a left-foot goal inside the box in the 76th minute to open the scoring, and Beatriz added one in the 90th minute. Raquel assisted on both.
Rika Masuya scored for Japan in stoppage time in front of a crowd of 13,027.
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