It was almost an upset for the United States women’s national football team’s opening match in the 2014 Algarve Cup, an invitational tournament for the world’s best in women’s football. The current Olympics champion had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Japan, the current FIFA World Cup holders, when they conceded a goal in the last minutes of the game.
With the first half ending scoreless, US’ Sydney Leroux opened the scoring in the 59th minute when she slid a goal into the net after Japan’s goalkeeper Erina Yamane tried to clear it. Leroux had another scoring opportunity in the 73rd minute but her shot went straight to the left post. While the US dominated most of the game with more opportunities created and attempts at the goal, 20 -8 shots on target, they were not able to convert the opportunities and even conceded a goal in the last seven minutes of the game.
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn tried to clear a shot with her chest but was called by the referee on a handball. Japan was awarded a free kick on the 83rd minute, which captain Aya Miyama took. She struck off a strong free kick 35 yards away from the goal, which US goalkeeper Hope Solo only managed to deflect to the upper right corner of the goal. US will play Sweden next, which includes former US manager Pia Sundhage in their line-up while Japan will face Denmark, who lost to Sweden in their opening match. The USWNT and the Nadeshiko are both favored to do well in the tournament and are fast developing a rivalry, having contested both the last Olympics and the World Cup between themselves.
[via Boxscore News]