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Williams Wins the Day for the U.S.

Lynn Williams scored the USWNT's lone goal in their 1-0 win over Germany.

Lynn Williams scored the USWNT’s lone goal in their 1-0 win over Germany.

It was only Lynn Williams’ fifth cap and second goal of her USWNT career, but that’s all it took to carry the U.S. over Germany in the second match of the SheBelieves Cup.

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Jill Ellis’ side rolled out in a 3-4-1-2 formation, with the increasingly familiar three-back system comprised of Casey Short, Allie Long and Becky Sauerbrunn making its fifth consecutive appearance. Alyssa Naeher was given the nod over Ashlyn Harris as the U.S. goalkeeping battle continues. Steffi Jones, in her first year as Germany’s head coach, went with a more traditional 4-4-2.

It took some time for either team to find their footing as they tested each other’s defenses. While Germany kept to their preferred style of patient build-up, the U.S. pressed quickly, looking to catch the new German defense in transition. However, it was the European side who created the first chance, when Sara Däbritz forced Naeher into an excellent diving save that was deflected for the first corner of the game.

Crystal Dunn forced goalkeeper Almuth Schult into a fine reaction save of her own soon after, collecting the ball from a long throw-in by Sauerbrunn and launching it near post. The U.S. earned another corner off the deflection, but it was all for naught.

Carli Lloyd was given a chance to put the U.S. on the board near the end of the first half when she lined up for a free kick just on top of the box. Her first effort went into the wall, but she was given a second opportunity when it was called back for encroachment. However, perhaps attempting to avoid the same fate, she sent the second kick well over the net.

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The deadlock was finally broken in the 56th minute when Christen Press won a ball and took it up the right side. Juking three defenders, she fired a rocket to the far post past Schult but was met by the woodwork. Tobin Heath collected the rebound, but her attempt was blocked. Third time was the charm as Williams sent a low roller back in and caught Schult wrong-footed.

The game opened up after the goal, with more end-to-end action as a result. Williams had an open chance to earn a brace when she broke free of the German defenders and faced Schult one on one but sent her shot high. Mallory Pugh came on for Dunn two minutes after the goal in her first minutes for the senior national team since the Olympics. Williams and Press would make way for Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan in the 79th minute. Germany used four of their substitutes throughout the second half in an attempt to find an equalizer. As the game wound down, Dzsenifer Marozsan got loose on the left side and sent in a dangerous cross but couldn’t find anyone on the end of it. Ultimately the Germans’ offensive push would prove unsuccessful.

Germany faces France, winner of today’s earlier match, on Saturday at 2:15 PM EST at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, followed by the U.S. taking on England at 5:00 PM EST. The U.S. and France are tied for the lead in the tournament with three points apiece.

U.S. Starting XI: Alyssa Naeher; Becky Sauerbrunn, Allie Long, Casey Short; Morgan Brian, Samantha Mewis, Crystal Dunn (Mallory Pugh, 58’), Tobin Heath; Carli Lloyd, Lynn Williams (Alex Morgan, 79’), Christen Press (Lindsey Horan, 79’)

Germany Starting XI: Almuth Schult; Isabel Kerschowski (Felicitas Rauch), Babett Peter, Josephine Henning, Anna Blässe (Pauline Bremer, 69’); Sara Däbritz, Dzsenifer Marozsan, Leonie  Maier, Alexandra Popp; Anja Mittag (Mandy Islacker), Lena Petermann (Verena Faißt, 46’)


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