Soccer

U.S. women’s soccer beats Germany 2-1 in SheBelieves Cup final

Germany goalkeeper Almuth Schult (1) catches the ball as United States player Whitney Engen tries to gain possession during the first half of a soccer game in the SheBelieves Cup, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Boca Raton, Florida.
Germany goalkeeper Almuth Schult (1) catches the ball as United States player Whitney Engen tries to gain possession during the first half of a soccer game in the SheBelieves Cup, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Boca Raton, Florida. AP

The top-ranked U.S. Women’s National Team bounced back from its first deficit of 2016 to beat Germany 2-1 on Wednesday at FAU Stadium in a rematch of last year’s World Cup semifinal.

Midfielder Samantha Mewis put the U.S. ahead in the 41st minute after she stole the ball in Germany’s half and fired it on net. The ball ricocheted off an opposing player, and German keeper Almuth Schult couldn’t hang on as she attempted to make a diving save.

U.S. keeper Hope Solo, who finished with four saves, kept a clean sheet in the second half to hand the Americans the inaugural SheBelieves Cup. The U.S. is now 9-0-0 in 2016 and has not lost to the Germans since 2003.

“I think we held tough tonight,” head coach Jill Ellis said, “but that’s a heck of a team. I though that was the best game Germany played in this tournament. I thought they gave us their best tonight, and I think it was a fantastic game.”

Both the U.S. (3-0-0) and Germany (2-1-0) won their first two games of the tournament to set up a championship match between the top two teams in the world.

The Germans became the first team to score on the U.S. in 2016 when Anja Mittag received the ball in the 29th minute after a United States turnover and fired one from outside the box into the bottom-left corner of the net.

The U.S. wouldn’t take long to tie the game at 1-1. Meghan Klingenberg sent a through ball to Alex Morgan, who made a skilled first touch to control the ball in the box before she rocketed one past Schult. Morgan’s 35th-minute goal was her second in two games and her eighth of the year.

“I mean, that was a goal that I felt really comfortable in,” Morgan said. “I knew what I was doing. Instinct took over, so I think it definitely ranks up there, especially the fact that we were down 1-0 and we were able to come back from that so quickly and win our first domestic tournament. It was pretty great for me.”

Morgan, who knocked home the game-winner against France in stoppage time on Sunday, won the golden ball and golden boot for the tournament.

Through the first nine matches of 2016, the U.S. has outscored its opponents 32-1

The U.S. controlled the match early against the Germans. Carli Lloyd, who scored on a penalty kick against Germany in the World Cup, had a breakaway in the first few minutes that she couldn’t convert. Soon after, Morgan and Christen Press each found their way into the box with the ball, but neither could beat Schult.

Germany struggled to maintain possession in the U.S.’ half of the field during the first few minutes, and several turnovers led to U.S. run-outs in the first half.

But the Germans soon found their rhythm. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo made a diving save to parry away a shot that came from at least 30 yards away, and the Germans pushed another chance just wide of the net near the 25-minute mark.

“It feels great, but we have a long way to go,” Solo said. “The Olympics, everybody knows, is going to be much more intense, much more competitive. Right now, all these great teams that we’ve played, they’re gearing up, they’re trying new players, they’re trying new lineups, it’s not full roster.”

The Americans are now 3-0 at FAU stadium, where 13,501 people gathered to watch the U.S. play Germany. The U.S. beat Russia 7-0 in 2014 and China PR 4-1 in 2012 at the venue.

England captured third place in the tournament over France on goal differential after neither team could break through in a 0-0 game in the opening game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The French failed to capitalize on a series of runs in the first half, and the English clamped down after halftime.

Neither team earned a win during the three-round tournament. France fell 1-0 to the U.S. and Germany, while England lost 1-0 to the U.S. and 2-1 to Germany.

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments