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Bush: Tournament of Nations continues upward trend for USWNT

The USWNT celebrates the 2018 Tournament of Nations (photo copyright Daniela Porcelli)

The 2018 Tournament of Nations has come and gone, and although the US women’s national team left it to the last, they claimed the trophy in the end, going 2-0-1 and winning the tiebreaker over Australia on goal differential. Rose Lavelle made a triumphant return to the national team, Alex Morgan scored a hat trick, and five players didn’t even see the field. What else happened?

What went down

(Photo Copyright Joerdeli Photography | Daniela Porcelli)

The US wasn’t entirely fluid in the first match, struggling to combine in the midfield. Alex Morgan started the scoring early, only for Japan to equalize two minutes later, but they weren’t tied for long, and a late goal for Japan couldn’t overcome Morgan’s trio and Megan Rapinoe’s final tally. Much of the attack flowed through Rapinoe on the left side (a common theme), although Tobin Heath made the most of her touches on the right after subbing in. The US did show a vulnerability to the counterattack, but Japan wasn’t able to take full advantage.

The second match, a 1-1 draw, was a well-fought battle by both sides. Australia drew first blood on a brilliantly executed sequence immediately following a US corner kick, and then hung on as the Americans controlled much of the rest of the game. A combination of sturdy Australian defense and poor service from Rapinoe made the game seem destined to be a repeat of last year’s loss to the Aussies, but Lindsey Horan rescued a point with a header in stoppage time.

In the third match the US fell behind again..

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