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Leroux scores, Morgan returns & Solo reaches milestone as US women top France

U.S. forward Sydney Leroux scored the lone goal against France on Saturday. (Photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

TAMPA, Fla. — The United States women’s national team defeated France 1-0 on Saturday night in front of 9,799 fans at Raymond James Stadium.

Sydney Leroux scored the lone goal in the United States’ 1-0 win over France on Saturday in Tampa, Fla., as Alex Morgan made her first national team appearance in seven months and Hope Solo tied the record for career U.S. shutouts.

Heavy rains and lightning delayed kickoff just over 30 minutes as fans were directed to covered areas in the stadium.

Solo secured a shutout in the 1-0 victory, tying Briana Scurry for the U.S. shutout record with the 71st of her career.

“It’s an amazing moment,” Solo said. “It goes down in history. I’m happy it was against a great team. I earned it. I had a couple saves. That’s going to go down as a very memorable game for me.”

Ranked No. 4 in the world, France challenged the U.S. throughout the game. In the 8th minute Elodie Thomis used her speed to get past defender Stephanie Cox, and in one-on-one with Solo, but the U.S. No. 1 made the huge save.

Thomis’ speed proved threatening over the course of the game pushing forward. France and Lyon teammates Eugenie Le Sommer and Louisa Necib were dangerous creating space and chances on the counter attack.

In the 21st minute, Leroux scored the lone goal of the game, beating French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi.

“It was a ball over the top by (Christen) Press. It was bouncing in the box and I kind of just put my body through it and got it on my left foot and slotted it,” said Leroux.

Leroux leads the team in goals this year with seven, and has 31 goals in 52 appearances for the US.

Morgan entered the game in the 49th minute after Tobin Heath went down with an apparent injury. This was Morgan’s first appearance following an ankle injury that kept her sidelined for seven months.

Even with Morgan providing energy off the bench, the U.S. struggled to keep possession and complete passes in the second half. Ellis only used two subs in the second half to “keep rhythm and tempo to the game.”

In her first match as full-time head coach, Ellis’ squad fought hard for the win.

“We just played a tremendous opponent.” Said Ellis. “It’s really meaningful and I thought we did some really good things tonight.”

A major change Ellis is implementing is the team’s formation. Saturday night, the U.S. started in a 4-3-3 with Press, Leroux, and Heath as forwards. Leroux played high for the majority of the first half while Press and Heath switched flanks. Following Heath’s exit, Leroux pushed wide as Morgan went central.

Ellis was pleased following the first game in the new formation.

“[I liked] our attacking shape… That’s the biggest we have been in our attacking shape, and just the confidence to push the ball around,” Ellis said. “We’re going to make some mistakes but overall [I’m happy with] our tempo which we played with in the first half.”

The United States takes on France again on Thursday in East Hartford, Conn. As 2015 Women’s World Cup qualifiers near, U.S. Soccer confirmed that there will be three domestic friendlies before October, dates TBD.

• Forward Abby Wambach was unavailable for Saturday’s match after sustaining an LCL injury during a club match.
• Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was listed as the back-up for Hope Solo
• Midfielder Allie Long made her first national team start in her second appearance
• Lauren Cheney was honored for her 100th cap, which took place on 5/8 v. Canada. She wore the captain’s armband and played a full 90 minutes for the U.S.


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