Alex Morgan’s 50th international goal held up as the game-winner for the United States in a 1-0 victory over England on Friday at Stadium mk in Bletchley, England.
England was denied an equalizer in the 56th minute when forward Jodie Taylor was called offside after beating U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Replays showed that Taylor was onside. Harris had tipped Fran Kirby’s shot off the crossbar and the rebound fell to Taylor of the put-back, but the flag was up.
Manager Mark Sampson made five changes to England, who were handily beaten by Germany, 3-0 their last time out, on Nov. 23, 2014. Regular starters Eniola Aluko, Lianne Sanderson and Fara Williams all came into the match late as substitutes.
The United States entered the match winners of only one game in their last five matches. The U.S. lost to a convincing France team, 2-0 on Sunday.
The United States kept most of the possession throughout the match as England dropped off in a defensive shell behind midfield for most of the match. But finishing in the final third was hard to come by for the visiting Americans.
Morgan’s first touch of the game didn’t come until the 21st minute. Four minutes later, she headed in Lauren Holiday’s cross to put the United States ahead. The goal was Morgan’s 50th career international goal. Her 79 games needed to score 50 goals is the third-fastest in U.S. history.
Ellis again implemented a 4-2-2-2 formation, trying midfielder Carli Lloyd in a wide left position and Christen Press on the right, with Morgan and Abby Wambach starting up top. Right back Ali Krieger returned to the starting lineup at right back. Ellis managed to get some improved possession from fullbacks Krieger and Meghan Klingenberg. The U.S. failed to keep the ball on the flanks in Sunday’s loss to France.
England’s best chance of the first half came in the 8th minute, when Kirby spun out of pressure at midfield and led a counterattack. Taylor was defended well and prevented from getting off a shot.
Sydney Leroux missed her second straight match for the U.S. with a right ankle injury. Christie Rampone and Megan Rapinoe didn’t make the trip due to injuries and goalkeeper Hope Solo is suspended.
Next up for the U.S. is the Algarve Cup, where they will play Norway, Switzerland and Iceland beginning on March 4.
England next plays in the Cyprus Cup against Australia, Finland and the Netherlands beginning on March 4.
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