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Brazil controls, ties USWNT to win home tournament

Marta and Brazil dominated, but settled for a 0-0 draw vs. the United States. (Getty Images)

Marta and Brazil dominated, but settled for a 0-0 draw vs. the United States. (Getty Images)

Brazil dominated possession but settled for a 0-0 draw against the United States on Sunday at the Mané Garrincha Stadium in the final of the International Tournament of Brasilia.

The draw was enough for Brazil to win the tournament by way of the tiebreaker of having obtained more points in group play. Brazil finished with 9 pts. on three wins in three matches — including a 3-2 victory over the U.S. last Sunday — in group play.

The U.S. ends the year with a 16-3-5 record and a 9-1-2 record this year under Ellis.

With Alex Morgan still hurt, Sydney Leroux suspended and Christen Press back in the U.S. due to a death in the family, United States coach Jill Ellis started Abby Wambach up front with Tobin Heath and Kelley O’Hara — earning a rare start — listed as the other two forwards in a 4-3-3 formation. Amy Rodriguez, the NWSL’s second-leading scorer in 2014 with 13 goals, sat the bench. Rodriguez hasn’t started since a Sept. 18 friendly against Mexico. She had played 25 minutes in eight games since then before checking in for Wambach in the 74th minute.

Wambach missed the best chance of the match for the United States in the 59th minute, when her header at the back post went over the crossbar. Tobin Heath lofted the cross in with her left foot. The U.S. also had a late effort called back due to Rodriguez being offside.

Andressa was denied claims of a penalty in the 78th minute, when Carli Lloyd brought down the Brazilian in the box.

Brazil dominated the first half, keeping almost three-quarters of the possession at the 20-minute mark of the first half. The U.S. packed into a defensive shell that looked much like a traditional 4-4-2, with Wambach and Lauren Holiday as the front two.

Defender Monica had the best chance of the match for Brazil, a wide-open header from six-yards out that she nodded wide of the far post. Marta delivered the in-swinging service on the corner kick. The United States’ only shot of the half was Wambach’s 28th-minute header, a tame effort that came nowhere close to being on frame.

Lori Chalupny started at left back for the U.S. for the third straight match. She played 55 minutes before coming off for Ali Krieger, who played her usual right back position and shifted Meghan Klingenberg to left back. Chalupny returned to international play at this tournament after a five-year absence due to concussion concerns.

China and Argentina tied, 0-0 in the third-place match. China placed third in the tournament by the tiebreaker of having more points from group play.


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