The United States defeated Brazil 2-0 in Orlando to remain perfect at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup. ASN’s John Halloran breaks down the team’s performance.
In it’s second match of the SheBelieves Cup, the United States women’s national team downed Brazil 2-0 and put itself in the driver’s seat heading into the final game of the tournament. The Americans tallied on both sides of the halftime break with Christen Press striking early in the 11th minute and Megan Rapinoe adding a late goal in the 88th minute to secure the result.
Here are three thoughts from the game.
A MIXED BAG IN THE BACK
The United States picked up its second shutout in the tournament, and both matches thus far have been against solid competition in Canada and Brazil—who are tied with each other at the No. 8 spot in FIFA’s latest rankings.
The team also benefitted from strong performances out of Crystal Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn in the match. Dunn made a tremendous tracking run in the 13th minute to stop one of Brazil’s most promising attacks when she stuffed Ludmila just as she was about to fire a shot on an open chance from eight yards out and also contributed her normal excellence in the attack.
Sauerbrunn, for her part, did well cleaning up a number of messes in the middle and in multiple 1-on-1 situations with the speedy and tricky Brazilian attackers. In the 24th minute, Sauerbrunn couldn’t quite keep up in a footrace with Ludmila on a long run down the field, but the American defender did just enough to push the attacker wide and force her to take a shot from a poor angle.
The other two defenders on the U.S. backline, however, were not as good. Debinha torched Abby Dahlkemper on the turn to create the dangerous sequence Dunn cleaned up early in the match and also got beat by Marta on another dicey play in the first half.
Emily Sonnett struggled in multiple areas of her game, losing possession in dangerous areas, getting beat 1 v. 1, leaving her feet, and even missing an important clearance in the 82nd minute. And in the final 10 minutes of the match, with the score still 1-0, she allowed Debinha to get inside her and get off a header in the six.
PRESS NEEDS TO START . . .