Knowing they needed a two-goal victory to claim the Tournament of Nations trophy on home soil, the U.S. delivered an entertaining performance Thursday night in Chicago and got the job done, winning their second tournament of 2018.

Early on, the task looked difficult against Brazil, who used their speed on a counter attack to force a mistake by the U.S. defense, when a low-chance shot at goal deflected off of Tierna Davidson for an own goal, giving Brazil the early 1-0 advantage.

Despite facing an early deficit, the U.S. responded by ramping up their offensive attack, sending numbers forward and generating a few decent chances. Finally, in the 33rd minute, the U.S. broke through when Alex Morgan sent a cross to the feet of Lindsay Horan, who sent a skipping ball to Rose Lavelle, who fired a shot into the goal on the half volley.

After a few chances in the remaining minutes of the first half (including a Megan Rapinoe goal called back for being offsides), the teams went into the halftime break level on the scoreboard.

After Lavelle exited at halftime, the U.S. continued to push forward, attempting to cause Brazil to make mistakes and beat them with their speed and athleticism.

In the 53rd minute, Tobin Heath put on a dribbling clinic, sending a cross over multiple Brazil defenders in the box, where a sprinting Julie Ertz slid in a second goal, giving the U.S. a 2-1 lead.

Brazil nearly equalized just minutes later, when a shot flew well over the crossbar despite only needing to beat Alyssa Naeher in goal.

The U.S. tacked on another in the 61st minute when an Alex Morgan pass found Heath breaking into the box, who fired a curling shot into the goal for a 3-1 lead.

With a two-goal lead in tow, the U.S. could have sat back and defended the final half hour of the match, but instead continued to move numbers forward while looking for a clinching goal.

The chance came in the 77th minute when Morgan was fouled outside of Brazil’s box. Rapinoe took the free kick, finding a streaking Morgan, who redirected the ball into the back of the net for a fourth U.S. goal and an insurmountable three-goal advantage.

It was Rapinoe’s eighth assist of 2018, while Morgan scored her team leading tenth goal of the year. It was also her 16th in 17 matches for the USWNT.

After 15 more minutes of physical play – including Morgan being stretchered off – the U.S. were able to close out the game and complete the hard-fought comeback, winning the 2018 Tournament of Nations.

Tournament Of Nations: U.S. Takes Down Japan 4-2; Alex Morgan Nets Hat Trick


Morgan Electrifies

Alex Morgan led the U.S. with four goals and one assist in the tournament, including a hat trick in the opener against Japan. She now has 90 career international goals, sitting alone at No. 7 in the USWNT record books. After leading the team in goals in 2017 (6), Morgan has picked up right where she left off thus far in 2018, with a team leading 10 goals to go with three assists while captaining the squad to a pair of tournament wins this year.

Rapinoe Candidate For Best FIFA Player

Megan Rapinoe has been named one of the 10 players up for the Best FIFA Women’s Player award. The award takes performances from September 2017 to April 2018 for both club and country into consideration. During that period, Rapinoe scored 12 goals during the 2017 NWSL season, being named to the NWSL Second Best XI team. She also helped the USWNT claim the title at the 2018 SheBelieves Cup in March.

Up Next

The U.S. will take on Chile in a set of friendlies for the first time on Aug 31 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Ca at 9 p.m. MT. The second match will take place on September 4 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose at 8 p.m. MT. Both games can be seen on ESPN2.

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