In front of 23,603 fans, the United States women’s national team played the fifth of their ten match “Victory Tour” at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA Wednesday night. Unlike their previous opponents, this one would not be a cake walk. The USWNT faced a very talented, veteran laden team in Brazil Wednesday night.
There were a lot of subplots heading into this match. The main one being this was the final game for Shannon Boxx Spearman. After 195 caps, Shannon has decided to fully retire from professional soccer and made this her final appearance for the USWNT. Prior to the match, U.S. Soccer gave Shannon a commemorative jersey honoring her time with the national team.
It didn’t take long for a ball to find the back of the net, but it wasn’t from the home team. Brazil got on the board first in the third minute of the match. After winning a corner, Andressinha sent in a ball that found the head of Monica and into the back of the net. What was odd about the play was that U.S. center back Becky Sauerbrunn was beat in the air. It is not something that you see happen every often.
Brazil was not content to sit back and absorb pressure as they continued to press for another goal. The U.S. did a good job in keeping that pressure at bay. The U.S. constantly threatened Brazil’s back line trying to find the equalizing goal of the match. In the first half alone, the U.S. was called offsides five times.
The first substitution of the match came in the 41st minute as Tobin Heath came on for the now retired Boxx. After the match, Boxx joked about sprinting off out of habit then realized she needed to slow down so she could thank the fans for all the support they have given her the last 13 years.
The U.S. had a few good, solid chances in the first half. The best one came in the last minute of the first half. Carli Lloyd sent in a cross and found Alex Morgan at the top of the six yard box. Somehow Brazil goalkeeper Luciana was able to make a save and send it out for a corner.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was more of Brazil looking to get an insurance goal and the U.S. had trouble maintaining possession. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo had to make a few saves here and there, but nothing that were real dangerous.
The next best chance for the U.S. came in the 69th minute after Megan Rapinoe found herself about ten yards from goal. She ripped a shot that somehow Luciana was able to stop and redirect out of the area. The shot was hit so hard that if it would have found the back of the net, it probably would have gone straight through. The save seemed to be more Luciana protecting herself, but she did what she needed to do to keep the U.S. off the board.
Finally in the 85th minute, all the pressure the U.S. had been putting on Brazil paid off. Megan Klingenberg was deep in the offensive third and worked her way around three defenders and found herself at the end line. She did what every good player does and put the ball back across the mouth of the goal. Lloyd found herself on the other end of the pass and was able to get just enough on it to send the ball to the roof of the net. Her tying goal sent the stadium into pandemonium.
Just a few minutes later in the 89th minute, the U.S. almost broke the deadlock. Rapinoe sent a beautiful cross into the box, but Morgan wasn’t able to get her foot on it in the end. Morgan missed it by mere inches which would have cause an eruption from the fans.
In the end, the game finished 1-1. A disappointing result, but the U.S. knew they would be getting a great match from Brazil as they are a quality opponent. The U.S and Brazil square off again this Sunday at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL.