Morgan’s late strike puts the United States past France

usa she believes

by TOM SLATER 

Alex Morgan’s comeback from last year’s troubles continues.

Morgan’s stoppage time goal gave the United States Women’s National Soccer Team a 1-0 over France in the SheBelieves Cup in Nashville.

Morgan scored when she got loose about 30 yards from goal and Mallory Pugh fed her a perfect through pass. The United States striker calmly collected the ball behind the French defense and slotted home a left-footed shot for the game-winner.

The goal was Morgan’s seventh of 2016 after she scored only once in the Women’s World Cup while still recovering from an injury.  And the assist from Pugh punctuated another solid game for the teen wonder.

The victory keeps the United States on a collision course with Germany, who plays England in the second half of the doubleheader.The two play Wednesday night in Boca Raton. France was eliminated from winning the inaugural SheBelieves Cup Tournament.

The match was a tale of two distinct halves. France had their way with the Americans in the opening 45 minutes and could have had a 3-goal lead if not for goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Solo denied Louisa Nebib who had a clear shot on goal from 20 yards out and the American goalkeeper  tipped it over the crossbar. Minutes later, Marie-Laure Delie had a wide open chance in front of the net after a scramble but Solo made a point-blank save. France couldn’t get a handle on the rebound, keeping the match scoreless. France had another chance in the 31st minute when defender Amel Majri slammed a long free kick off the cross bar.

The United States were a different team in the second half as France set up deeper on defense and the Americans used that to their advantage. Carli Lloyd came back a little deeper to get the ball and began distributing. Pugh who continues to impress, Kelley O’Hara and Tobin Heath began to mix short balls with longer passes with Morgan making smart runs.

Heath nearly gave the United States a lead in the 55th minute when she had an open look at the net from 12 yards but her shot went wide again.

The increased pressure faced off as the Americans eventually got the game-winner late.