BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) The United States women’s soccer team conceded a second-half equalizer to draw 1-1 against China in the opening match of the International Tournament of Brasilia on Wednesday.
Carli Lloyd put the U.S. ahead in the 22nd minute, but Hang Peng equalized in the 66th to close the scoring in the first game of the four-team competition. Host Brazil defeated Argentina 4-0 in the late match at the Mane Garrincha Stadium.
Lloyd redirected the ball into the net from close range after a perfect low cross from the right side by Megan Rapinoe, scoring her 57th goal with the national team. China equalized thanks to its midfielder’s remarkable right-footed shot from the right side of the box, finding the upper left corner over goalkeeper Hope Solo.
The Americans struggled to control possession and China had most of the dangerous scoring opportunities throughout the match in the Brazilian capital. Neither team had many significant chances to break the deadlock, although the Americans complained of a hand ball by a Chinese defender inside the penalty area near the end of the game.
Abby Wambach, nominated for the world’s best player award, entered the match after halftime. Only 300 people attended the game at the Mane Garrincha Stadium, which hosted seven World Cup matches.
The top two teams after round-robin play will meet for the title on Dec. 21. The other two nations will play for third place.
The U.S. will face Brazil on Sunday and Argentina on Dec. 17. All matches will be played in Brasilia.
Brazil made its debut with an easy win over Argentina. Debinha opened the scoring with a header in the 13th, veteran midfielder Formiga added to the lead in the 41st and Raquel got on the board in the 78th before Formiga netted again in the 82nd. Five-time world player of the year Marta had a goal ruled offside near the end of the game.
It is the sixth edition of the international tournament. The hosts have won four of the previous five tournaments, finishing second to Canada in 2010. It is the second year in a row the competition is being played in Brasilia. The first four were played in Sao Paulo.
The U.S. is in the tournament for the first time. It’s the team’s last competition of the year.
The Brasilia tournament serves as preparation for the 2015 World Cup in Canada. Brazil, China and the U.S. have qualified.
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