SheBelieves Cup: USWNT finish tournament in second, defeat Brazil

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Tobin Heath USWNT
TAMPA, FLORIDA — MARCH 05: Megan Rapinoe #15, Mallory Pugh #11, and Alex Morgan #13 celebrate with Tobin Heath #17 of USA after a goal against Brazil in the first half during the She Believes Cup at Raymond James Stadium on March 05, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tampa, Florida (March 5, 2019) — Tobin Heath wasn’t going down without a fight. She knows all about that, too. Heath is one of the most aggressive players for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

So, when the Brazilian Women’s National Team sparked their own aggressiveness, Heath had to notch up the intensity. Her ball movement aside, Heath was dribbling in between Brazilians in the final match of the SheBelieves Cup. Before the match began, Heath and her teammates knew they had no shot of lifting the trophy. It belonged to England, after the Lionesses defeated Japan, 3-0.

SheBelieves Cup: USWNT finish tournament in second, defeat Brazil

However, that didn’t stop the United States from bringing it all. They needed a win to help keep spirits alive after two consecutive draws. This calendar year has been a rollercoaster for the USWNT. After dropping the opening match of 2019 to France, the USWNT defeated Spain.

But, the SheBelieves Cup hasn’t been an easy road.

A draw against Japan and then England doomed the United States. In order for the team to have any chance at the trophy, Japan had to tie England. But, after three first half goals, it was game over for the USWNT.

However, Heath’s goal, which occurred in the 20th minute, helped the United States give Brazil their seventh-straight loss. All four teams that competed in the SheBelieves Cup are qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.

However, not all the squads have looked at their best — except England. Brazil has been shifting between players not in season and players in Europe. Japan is young and missing plenty of their squad due to injury. Meanwhile, the United States is having issues on defense and giving up goals.

Heath’s goal sparked some confidence into the USWNT. The national team was able to hold off Brazil’s advances and finished the match with 1-0 victory. Despite not winning the SheBelieves Cup on their home soil, the United States left the tournament on a positive note.

Meanwhile, congratulations goes to England on winning the tournament. The United States finished in second place while Japan took third. Brazil finishes the tournament at the bottom of the table, at fourth place.

Three Takeaways

  1. One game certainly helped Harris: Ashlyn Harris earned the start over Adrianna Franch in her home state of Florida. Alyssa Naeher is dealing with a minor shoulder injury and Franch played against England. Harris needed a big game, as she’s fallen down the USWNT depth chart. In her 20th appearance, Harris made a big time save against her club teammate Marta. She finished the match with three saves. However, the one against Marta certainly helped her case in goal.
  2. Mewis was the best player in the midfield: Samantha Mewis had a slip up when she clipped, and ultimately injured, Brazilian striker Beatriz. However, throughout the match, Mewis was solid. Looking to take her starting role in the midfield back, Mewis used her size to get inside the box. Brazil has nobody near her height and Mewis almost scored twice. When she was given the chance, she performed well. Now, the ball is in Jill Ellis’ court to see if she starts again.
  3. The Crystal Dunn experiment needs to be over: Don’t throw her to the wolves like you did with Sofia Huerta and Ali Krieger, Jill. However, Crystal Dunn needs to get off the backline. She plays as a striker for the North Carolina Courage, and sometimes an attacking midfielder. Either way, she’s not playing defense at club. Ellis’ experiment of her as a left back needs to wrap up. It’s not working and Dunn looked perplexed against Marta.

What’s Next?

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is still over three months away. However, there’s more tune up games for the United States.

Players will return to their respective NWSL clubs for preseason. However, right before opening weekend, the USWNT will face off against Australia for friendlies. The first friendly is schedule for April 4 at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. Then, the USWNT will face Belgium on April 7 at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

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