Lindsey Horan’s 82nd minute goal kept the United States in the thick of Group B at the U-20 Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 win over Brazil on Friday in Edmonton, Canada.
Second-half substitute Summer Green did most of the work on the goal, beating two Brazilian defenders on the right flank before sending a low cross to Horan at the penalty spot for the finish. Horan’s goal lifted some pressure off the defending champion U.S., who lost their opening match to Germany on Tuesday. A loss would have eliminated the United States.
It was far from pretty from the Americans, who were badly out-possessed in a physical first half. But the U.S. came out with more energy in the second half, eventually finding the back of the net late.
Margaret Purce nearly put the U.S. ahead in the opening seconds of the second half, sending a right-footed shot off the crossbar. Six minutes later, Makenzy Doniak crossed the ball to Taylor Racioppi, whose near-post header went over the bar.
In the 62nd minute, Rose Lavelle surged through Brazil’s back line and was in alone vs. goalkeeper Leticia, but her left-footed shot was right at the Brazilian goalkeeper. The rebound fell right to Horan, but the ball bounced off of her and over the endline.
Horan would redeem herself 18 minutes later, though, scoring her first World Cup goal at any level after missing the 2012 U-20 World Cup due to injury.
Brazil had the best chance of the first half, and it came with shouts for a penalty kick. Patricia sent a header on frame in the 15th minute, and as U.S. defender Christina Gibbons cleared the ball off the line, it appeared to strike her in the hand. But referee Kirsi Heikkinen did not blow her whistle for a penalty kick despite brief Brazilian appeals.
Heikkinen was busy all night, especially in the first half. An ugly, late tackle by Djenifer forced U.S. midfielder Malory Pugh out of the match with a right ankle injury. Racioppi replaced Pugh a eight minutes later, just before Djenifer went down with an injury of her own, taking Horan’s right elbow to the nose. Djenifer stayed in the match after having her bloody nose bandaged. Both Djenifer and Horan received yellow cards for their respective incidents.
A United States draw with China on Tuesday in Moncton combined with a Brazil loss to Germany will be enough to send the Americans through to the knockout stage. Earlier Friday, China and Germany tied 5-5 in a wild match.
Djenifer’s tackle on Pugh:
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