The USWNT overcome a resilient Spain side

Spain 0 - 1 USA

Spain: Paños; Torrejón (Corredera, min. 65), Pereira, Paredes, León; Putellas, Meseguer, Losada (Falcón, min. 60); Sampredo (L. García, min. 73), Hermoso (N. García, min. 79), Caldentey (Bonmatí, min. 73).

USA: Naeher; Sonnett (Davidson, min. 46), Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Lavelle (Mewis, min. 76), Ertz (Zerboni, min. 69), Horan (Pugh, min. 46); Heath (McDonald, min. 60), Morgan, Rapinoe (Press, min. 46).

Goals: Press (min. 54).

Caution: Meseguer (min. 74).

After a lackluster first half, the United States Women's National Team had substitute Christen Press to thank for giving them their first win of the year with a brilliantly taken goal.

Spain made it difficult for the visitors throughout the game but Press produced one moment to change the outcome and help the USWNT bounce back from their defeat against France.

Spain dominated proceedings in the first half | Source:
Spain dominated proceedings in the first half | Source:

Control of possession keeps Spain on top

As is the Spanish way, the home side looked to keep the ball and press quickly to win back the ball whenever they lost it. Having never played Spain before, the USWNT were clearly not prepared for the style of play they came up against and found it difficult to get some rhythm going throughout the first 45 minutes. The closest the US came to taking the lead in that period was in the 14th minute when Sandra Paños flapped at the ball during a corner kick but Megan Rapinoe's effort was stopped at the goal line by Paños' teammates.

The majority of the half saw Spain impose their will on the game and although they did not trouble Alyssa Naeher in goal, they kept the US quiet and on the backfoot for most of the first half. Alexia Putellas had the best chance of the half for Spain when her long range effort went narrowly over the bar but otherwise, the US' goal remained untroubled.

The US managed to repel most of Spain's attacks | Source:
The US managed to repel most of Spain's attacks | Source:

Press' introduction changes the game

Christen Press came into the game at half-time and did not take long to influence not only the result but the overall tone of the match. In the 54th minute, Press got the ball in midfield and drove forward on a slalom run, using her pace and close control to speed away from Spain's backline before aiming her shot towards the far corner. Irene Paredes stretched to clear the ball but ended  up putting it into her own net. Despite Paredes' touch, Press was given the goal as it would have gone in due to its trajectory. Press continued to probe at the Spanish defense and was at the heart of anything good the US did during the second half.

After going a goal down, Spain changed their tempo and began to push towards goal with more intent. They had a few efforts on goal that Naeher was able to stand up and parry away when needed but ultimately could not breach the goal and give themselves a draw they probably deserved.