U.S. Veterans Christen Press And Megan Rapinoe Score In Win Over Brazil
by Todd Kortemeier
Christen Press controls the ball against Andressa Alves and Bruna Benites of Brazil during the first half of the SheBelieves Cup at Exploria Stadium on Feb. 21, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.
Thursday night in the SheBelieves Cup opener, Christen Press sent in the free kick that fell to Rose Lavelle, who scored the lone goal to beat Canada. Sunday afternoon against Brazil, Press did it all by herself.
Instead of the late goal Lavelle scored, this time it was Press’ 11th-minute goal that was the match-winner. Receiving the ball in the final third, Press dribbled into the box, cut back, and unleashed a perfectly-placed shot at the far post that beat the Brazil keeper. Press made way in the second half for Megan Rapinoe, who added some late insurance with her 55th international goal.
Press has now been involved in 27 U.S. goals in her last 28 appearances. That stretch includes 12 goals and 15 assists. She also was the co-leading scorer at last year’s SheBelieves Cup with two goals.
It was in many ways a familiar afternoon for the U.S. women, as legends Press and Rapinoe — 313 caps between them — provided all the scoring. Alex Morgan also got her first start since the 2019 Women’s World Cup Final, making way in the 71st minute for another legend in Carli Lloyd. Keeper Alyssa Naeher extended her U.S.-record shutout streak to 10 games.
But with his first substitute in the 65th minute, U.S. manager Vlatko Andonovski opted to replace U.S. veteran Lynn Williams with Sophia Smith, making her second international appearance. Andonovski made four changes to the starting lineup from Thursday, getting a look at as many players as possible with the time to name an Olympic roster approaching.
But before then, the U.S. now sits alone in first place on the SheBelieves Cup standings. The U.S. can clinch the title with a draw or a win over Argentina in the tournament finale on Wednesday. The U.S. is the defending SheBelieves Cup champion and has won three titles overall. Sunday’s win extended the U.S. unbeaten streak to 36 games.