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The USWNT grinds out a 1-0 win against China PR in Utah

The night didn’t prove as action-packed as the 13,000 strong packed in Rio Tinto stadium had likely hoped, but the US Women’s National Team walked away with a 1-0 victory over China PR courtesy of a 57th minute goal from Alex Morgan, off a Megan Rapinoe free kick.

The first half was a mostly disjointed affair, with the USWNT showing some rust after time off from one another, and China holding a compact defensive line in front of their own box. The U.S. themselves also started with a very high defensive formation, but the attack was frequently gummed up by China’s defensive personnel. While the USWNT held much of the possession, the best chance of the first half came from a China counter-attack in the 34th minute, that had all the pieces of a goal against the run of play up until the actual shot, that Alyssa Naeher handled readily.

The half would ultimately end in a scoreless draw, and the U.S. would have to wait until almost the 60 minute-mark to distance themselves from their visitors, when a foul in the left corner of the China penalty box resulted in a USA free kick. Rapinoe, whose precision on the wing continued throughout Thursday evening, sent in a well-weighted ball for Morgan to smash into the goal via header.

After the goal, the match didn’t see more of what could be considered major action, though Amy Rodriguez did get a nice moment in the 77th minute, returning to USWNT play in front of her home club crowd after injuring her ACL last year.

The USWNT will have to be happy with the win, but still have a lot of work to do to be peaking in form by the time World Cup Qualifiers roll around in October. They will play China PR again at 7pm EST in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday.

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