USA vs. Brazil
After an ugly start for the U.S. Women’s National Team and down 3-1 with 12 minutes remaining, the host nation defeated Brazil 4-3 on Sunday night in a heart-stopping comeback victory with Julie Ertz scoring the game-winner in the 89th minute.
Brazil took a 1-0 lead in just the second minute of action when Andressinha ripped a shot from distance and U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher mishandled the ball into the back of the net.
However, the USWNT converted the equalizer in the 18th minute and would eventually take a 1-1 score line into halftime. One the play, Crystal Dunn played a ball across the field to the left hand side towards teammate Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe controlled the ball and slotted a pass backwards towards Sam Mewis, who then struck the ball towards goal and saw her shot deflected off a defender to beat Bárbara for the USA’s first tally of the match.
In the second half, Brazil once again got on the board 63rd minute with Bruna Benites scoring off a corner kick taken by Marta. Andressinha extended the lead by sending home a free kick in the 78th minute of play to make it a 3-1 game.
With the USA in danger of losing for the fourth time this year, Christen Press gave the U.S. hope by converting a beautiful goal off a Rapinoe pass in the 80th minute and put the comeback in motion. Shortly after, Press and Rapinoe would combine again, only this time Rapinoe found the back of the net to tie the game at three each.
Ertz completed the rally in the 89th minute by finishing a Bárbara deflection to secure the victory for USA. Sky Blue FC’s Kelley O’Hara earned her first start for the U.S. in the Tournament of Nations and played a full 90 minutes. O’Hara was responsible for serving the ball into the box on the eventual game-winner by Ertz.
The U.S. will face Japan on August 3 in Carson, Calif. with kickoff at 10 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast on ESPN2.
Australia vs. Japan
Sky Blue FC’s Sam Kerr was on fire Sunday afternoon as the 23 year old scored her first international hat trick to lead Australia to a 4-2 victory against Japan in the second day of competition for the Tournament of Nations. The Matildas are currently at the top of the table with six points and are proving to be the team to watch.
Although Australia created several scoring opportunities very early in the match, Japan struck first in the sixth minute. On the play, a short corner sequence resulted in the ball being played into the box and headed on to Mina Tanaka, who then deflected the ball past Australia goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold for the 1-0 advantage.
The lead would not last as the Aussies scored just five minutes later. Kennedy played a long ball over the top towards the right flank for teammate Hayley Rasso. Rasso was able to get behind the backline and play a low cross into the box to a wide open Kerr for the one-time finish.
Another five minutes later, Kerr’s high defensive pressure resulted in her second goal of the match. The Australian picked Riho Sakamoto’s pocket and took off towards goal before slotting the ball around netminder Sakiko Ikeda for the 2-1 lead in the 16th minute.
Kerr extended the lead in the 25th minute after creating another breakaway opportunity to goal. Ikeda blocked Kerr’s first shot, but the Aussie converted off the rebound to complete her first career international hat trick and give her team a two-goal advantage going into halftime.
The Matildas would score one more time in the second half after Japan was called for a hand ball in the box. Emily Van Egmond stepped up to the spot and put away her penalty kick attempt.
Japan got on the scoreboard before the final whistle, but it would be too late for a comeback for the Nadeshiko. In added time, Yuka Momiki fired a one-time shot off a back-pass from Tanaka, and Momiki’s strike deflected off a defender to beat Arnold to her left.
The 4-2 result for Australia puts the squad in first place and in a good position to win the Tournament of Nations on August 3 when the Matildas take on Brazil in the final day of competition. The Aussies must win or draw on Thursday in order to secure a first place finish.