Revenge! USWNT beats France 2-0 to Win the Algarve Cup

algarve cup champs 3

By MC Bousquette
Staff Writer

The USWNT were out for revenge — and they got it.

France found themselves on the goose-egg end of the final 2-0 score, in a complete reversal from the last time the two faced off, just one month ago.

Julie Johnston opened scoring early in the match, and Christen Press followed suit towards the end of the first half to provide the second of the two US goals.

France put up a formidable offensive fight, but were stopped by the dynamic US defense and dominant keeping by Solo.

Both squads entered the game looking very different from their first encounter a month ago. The French squad was missing key starters in Louisa Necib, Elodie Thomis, Laura Georges, and Wendie Renard, who were all absent due to injury.

USWNT v France Lineup

The United States, in contrast, has all but Christie Rampone back from injury, and has solidified many of its weak spots, which showed in today’s championship match.

The match commenced with a coordinated French offensive culminating in a free kick in the 3rd minute, only to be cleared by the United States. Amy Rodriguez launched a counterattack, but fell short of the French penalty box.

In the 7th minute, the US was granted a free kick on a controversial call from the referee. Lauren Holiday send the ball in to a wide open Julie Johnston, who completed the header for her first-ever international goal, bringing the US to a 1-0 lead.

A French attack in the 9th minute was stopped by Hope Solo, who caught the cross from far outside the box in midair. The US returned the strike until a cross from Meghan Klingenberg, narrowly missed by Alex Morgan, was cleared by Anaïg Butel. The resultant corner featured a connection from Lauren Holiday to Morgan Brian, but Brian’s volley was greeted by blocked before reaching goal.

A handball called on Ali Krieger in the 22nd minute resulted in a French free kick taken by Camille Abily approximately 23 yards from goal. The shot in was cleared by Morgan Brian, but returned to the French. Abily served into the box a minute later, but missed a wide open Eugénie Le Sommer, as Solo scooped the ball out of danger. France returned to the box again in the 23rd, as Camille Abily again set up a dangerous situation, chipping over the US defense, only to have the recipient, Le Sommer, called offsides.

The United States, from Ali Krieger to Alex Morgan, continued to press with a diversified array of attacks, from numerous setup piece opportunities to runs to serves and crosses.

France, however, did not let up throughout the first half. In the 31st minute, Amandine Henry had a chance to head in a promising cross, but missed wide of the goal. Le Sommer, taken down by Morgan Brian who was given a questionable yellow card, was granted a free kick in the 34th minute. Abily took the free kick, but Hope Solo punched the shot out of danger. Solo was responsible for another key save in the 40th minute, as Kheira Hamaroui sent a low bullet to goal. Abily repossessed the ball moments later, serving back into the box, only to miss Henry on post.

Christen Press had a breakthrough moment in the 42nd, when she picked up the ball at midfield, and executed an agile run through French defenders, finishing with a shot into the right side of the French goal, defeating keeper Sarah Bouhaddi to bring the United States lead to 2-0.

 

The remainder of the half featured several more US attempts, but the French defense shut the attacks. The first half ended at 2-0, with the United States showing clear offensive and defensive domination.

The beginning of the second half featured an offensive back and forth between France and the United States; France came out strong in the second half, clearly frustrated by repeatedly being shut down in the first half.

In the 47th minute, Le Sommer sent a shot off a cross towards goal, but Johnston tipped it out and to safety, for another corner. The resultant cross missed through the box, which Gaëtane Thiney send to the top of the box. After a ball in, Le Sommer headed the ball to goal, ending in another save by Solo.

Alex Morgan brought a run into the box in the 49th minute, only to have a bizarre foul called on her to turn the ball over. She was back a minute later, coming in from the right on an attempt to deliver on a well-place serve from Julie Johnston, but missed just right of the post into the side of the net.

France made a dangerous run towards goal in the 59th minute, only to be stopped after a misdirected serve from Kenza Dali was scooped by Solo and returned to the French half.

In the 66th minute, Amy Rodriguez missed Alex Morgan in the French box, but the US managed to repossess the ball and send it back to Cali Lloyd at the top of the box. Lloyd, shooting with her left foot, missed high over the French goal.

Ellis made several substitutions in the second half, with Kelley O’Hara in for Amy Rodriguez, pushing Christen Press up front with O’Hara in the 67th. Sydney Leroux came on for Christen Press in the 74th. Ten minutes later, Shannon Boxx came on for Brian, Abby Wambach for Meghan Klingenberg, and Megan Rapinoe for Alex Morgan.

Solo made two key saves in the later part of the second half; the first was a cross from FRance which she got a hand on, sending it over the crossbar in the 71st, and the second was her penalty save. Klingenberg grabbed Marie Laure Delie’s hand in the box, drawing a penalty. Sabrina Delannoy took the penalty, which Solo read like a book and saved it with a dive to the right.

The remainder of the match was an offensive back and forth, with several attempts by each team to add one to the scoreboard, though all attempts fell short. The US squad that faced France today is barely recognizable from the one that faced France just over a month ago. In their victory, the US proved exactly why they are strong contenders to win the World Cup this summer.

The US women play next against New Zealand on April 4th at Busch Stadium in St. Louis at 330pm EST (Fox Sports 1).