USWNT survives vs. Japan in SheBelieves Cup with 1-0 win
USWNT survives vs. Japan in SheBelieves Cup with 1-0 win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
It’s now two wins in two for the United States women’s national team in the SheBelieves Cup 2023.
Fresh after beating Canada 2-0 behind two Mallory Swanson goals on Thursday, Swanson added another to her tournament tally by scoring the team’s lone goal in a 1-0 win over Japan on Sunday.
Just before halftime with both teams deadlocked at 0-0, the USWNT came at Japan on a counter attack. Alex Morgan chested the ball down near the midway circle as Swanson cut inside from the left flank and made a run down the middle.
Morgan then lofted the ball up in Swanson’s direction, and despite Japanese center back Shiori Miyake’s positioning that should’ve seen Miyake clear the ball, Swanson got to it first. Swanson controlled the ball brilliantly while moving upfield, then slotted it home towards the bottom left corner past the uncontested save attempt from Ayaka Yamashite.
Though the U.S. won and kept control of first place in the four-team tournament, Japan outplayed the Gals throughout. Japan controlled possession 58% of the time to the United States’ 42%, per Sofascore, and it logged more shots at 13 to five.
The major difference, however, was Japan’s lack of a clinical finish. Both teams had two shots on target, with Swanson’s transition goal proving to be the difference. Japan’s second shot on target came in injury time just before the final whistle, but U.S. goalie Casey Murphy made a brilliant save to maintain the lead.
Now the U.S. must await the result between Brazil and Canada. Since Brazil beat Japan 1-0 in its opener, Japan is no longer in contention to win the SheBelieves Cup. With a win against Canada, Brazil would make it all to play for on Wednesday when it faces the U.S. in the tournament finale. A draw would mean Brazil would need to beat the U.S. to overcome the point difference. Canada can only afford a win against Brazil to stay in the hunt for the trophy.