That’s all for tonight. Thanks as always for following along with us and be sure to check out the match report here.
It’s a draw that will surely feel like a defeat given how long the action was seemingly in the USA’s command. In the end, goals by Rapinoe and Morgan were canceled out by Nakajima and Momiki and the Americans must settle for a lone point, dropping them to second place behind England after one stage of the SheBelieves Cup.
90 min+5: Lloyd takes a crack from about 28 yards and it’s easily corralled by the keeper. The last kick of the game as it turns out.
90 min+2: Five minutes of added time, by the way. And the US are making the most of it so far, turning the screws with a series of attacks. Japan are bailed out by a curious whistle, which draws a cacophony of jeers from the crowd.
A poor giveaway and the US back four crumbles at the worst possible moment, allowing Hasegawa to slide it to Yuka Momiki, who equalizes six seconds into stoppage time. Yikes on bikes.
89 min: Play resumes and the lineswoman is staying on! What a trooper. Will soon see how it affects the added time.
88 min: Play has stopped due to an injury on the field … an injury to one of the assistant referees. Yikes I’ve seen it happen once or twice, but it’s not a common occurrence.
85 min: Now entering the game for the United States is local hero Carli Lloyd, who grew up down the road in Delran Township. She replaces the goalscorer Alex Morgan.
81 min: The US win a corner and Rapinoe’s offering is short to the near post. A bit of a confusion ensues but Japan are able to clear it. Another sub coming for Japan with Nakajima, the goalscorer, coming off for Jun Endo, the youngest player on the squad.
79 min: And Morgan very nearly makes it No 100 after beating her defender to a long ball, but she can’t quite negotiate it on target and it’s out for a goal kick.
Press doesn’t wait long to make an impact. Not even a minute. Working from same right-side position where Heath has been doing her worst all night, she assists on Alex Morgan’s 99th international goal – and first of 2019. Just what the doctor ordered for a US team that had seemingly surrendered all momentum to Japan over the last 10 minutes.
76 min: Christen Press is coming in for Pugh after another credible chance by Japan.
72 min: Nakajima’s driving cross from a wide position sails low across the mouth of the goal. Had any Japanese player been in the vicinity, it would easily be 2-1.
And right on cue Japan have equalized against the run of play. It must be said that Tierna Davidson’s gruesome defending had a big part in it: her attempted clearance fell right to the foot of Nakajima, who needed only pound it into the gaping target.
64 min: The US only lead by a goal but it feels like they’ve been in control from wire to wire, mostly thanks to the prodigious industry of their front three. Famous last words.
63 min: Heath tries to nutmeg a defender from her familiar right-elbow perch. Doesn’t quite make it work but it’s out for a corner.
59 min: A couple of switches for Japan as Risako Oga comes in for Saori Ariyoshi and Mayu Ikejiri spells Rikako Kobayashi. Both subs are making their international debuts.
57 min: Dunn wins a free kick and Rapinoe takes it from about 35 yards, but her offering doesn’t have quite enough under it and it’s easily cleared by Japan.
54 min: Looks like the US has settled back into the familiar 4-3-3. No real chances for either side over the last eight minutes, but Japan have just won a corner after a near-chance by Kobayashi.
52 min: USA manager Jill Ellis tells Fox’s sideline reporter that we can expect to see unfamiliar shapes in the second half as they attempt to draw Japan out of their attacking formation.
51 min: Dunn is a split-second late on a challenge, giving Japan a free kick near the halfway line.
48 min: Heath, picking up right where she left off in the first half with her tireless work rate up the right flank, drives a cross into Morgan, but it pops up on her awkwardly and a Japanese defender arrives in time to bust it up before she can muster an attempt on goal.
46 min: We’re off and running after the break. No changes for either side. The US, which typically operates out of a 4-3-3 formation, appears to be in a 5-4-1 to start the second half.
There’s the half-time whistle and Megan Rapinoe’s goal is the difference after 45 minutes. Almost all positives for the United States in the first chapter of their SheBelieves Cup.
43 min: Japan get numbers forward but the US track back and choke off the attack.
40 min: Rapinoe, the goalscorer, takes the corner and plays it back for Dahlkemper with all 11 Japanese players in the box. She takes a crack from about 25 yards but it’s off target and out for a goal kick.
39 min: Morgan is hacked down by Kumagai, who is shown a yellow card. The US have a free kick about 24 yards from the goal and Rapinoe will take it … and her effort is lofted over the wall and just saved by Yamane. Out for a corner.
36 min: O’Hara floats one into the area for Rapinoe, but a Japanese defender arrives just in time to head it out for a corner. Rapinoe’s corner to the near post is headed out for another. Now Rapinoe’s second effort, low and short, is easily cleared.
33 min: A bit of a rudderless patch for both sides with no real chances over the last five minutes, but the high-pressing US are clearly on the front foot.
28 min: Some uncharacteristically sloppy play from Japan following the goal, though the US are not able to immediately capitalize.
Another attack up the right flank through Tobin Heath and this time she breaks down and surges past her defender, taking it down to the end line before centering to an onrushing Megan Rapinoe, who need only stick her foot out to pound it into the back of the net. A well-constructed attack by the World Cup holders.
20 min: A few more hints of a chance for the US but nothing to show for them. Japan manage to organize a bit of build-up and with their second corner, but it’s quickly given back to the hosts.
15 min: Japan win a corner, their first, but it’s immediately cleared.
13 min: Japan doing a nice job of using short, sharp passing to keep possession and prevent the US from tackling. They’ve played their way into this game after a somewhat iffy start.
11 min: Japan’s first real threat of the match is a golden one! A bit of an overload on the right flank sees Kumi Yokoyama spring free and she pounds a shot off the crossbar. Very nearly an opening goal against the run of play.
9 min: A very fast pace to this one early on, which you have to think would favor the US.
8 min: Japan finally create a bit of a build-up, but Morgan intercepts and delivers a teriffic 40-yard pass to spring Rapinoe. It looks like a scoring chance but the Japanese defenders close in and break it up.
6 min: Heath continues to give Japan headaches up the right side. She wins a corner. It’s played short, quickly, then crossed where it sails across the mouth of the goal but no US player can drive it in.
3 min: A spirited start for the US, who have been on attack early. No chances to how for it yet, but they’re making good progress up that right flank through Heath.
1 min: And we’re off! The United States attacking from left to right in all-blue kits, Japan from right to left in the all-white strips.
The teams have emerged from the tunnel. A couple of national anthems and we’ll be off and running in Chester. It’s a chilly night here: 2C (35F) though it feels even colder with the wind coming off the Delaware River.
Here’s a look at tonight’s teams. A bit of a surprise with Becky Sauerbrunn left on the bench for the United States. Our Caitlin Murray believes Dahlkemper and Davidson are fighting for the chance to start alongside her at center back in France.
XI: Alyssa Naeher, Tierna Davidson, Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, Mallory Pugh, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath
Subs: Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, Emily Sonnett, Andi Sullivan, Ashlyn Harris, Sam Mewis, Casey Short, Adrianna Franch, Jessica McDonald, Emily Fox, McCall Zerboni
XI: Erina Yamane, Saori Ariyoshi, Saki Kumagai, Aya Sameshima, Risa Shimizu, Rikako Kobayashi, Arisa Matsubara, Kumi Yokoyama, Hina Sugita, Yui Hasegawa, Emi Nakajima
Subs: Rumi Utsugi, Rei Takenaka, Ayaka Yamashita, Yuka Momiki, Nana Ichise, Moeno Sakaguchi, Jun Endo, Mayu Ikejiri, Risako Oga
Hello and welcome to scenic Chester as the United States steps up preparations for their World Cup title defense with their SheBelieves Cup opener against Japan. It’s the back end of a double-header at Talen Energy Stadium in scenic Chester, a venue that’s proven friendly confines for the national side down the years. The US women are unbeaten in six games – five wins and one draw – at the home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union including a 1-0 win over Germany in the 2017 SheBelieves Cup. No opponent has scored against them in their last four games in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge.
Tonight’s match offers up a tasty rematch of the 2015 World Cup final. The US enjoys a lopsided head-to-head record in 36 all-time meetings with Nadeshiko Japan – 28 wins, one loss and seven draws – yet that lone pockmark was not an insignificant one.
Kickoff is about 20 minutes away. We’ll be back with the team sheets in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s how McCall Zerboni is preparing for the World Cup:
When she was 12 years old, McCall Zerboni saw her first live soccer match.
With the letters USA hand-drawn on her shirt and her blonde hair braided in three sections and sprayed red, white and blue, she joined her mom, twin sister and more than 90,000 eager spectators at the Rose Bowl for the 1999 World Cup final.
Zerboni recalls taking a deep breath, looking around and thinking: “Wow. All these people came here to watch those women down on the field. And those women are such bosses, they’re handling it all like it’s no problem,” she tells the Guardian.
You can read the full article below:
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