USWNT Defeats Japan 2-0 in Weather-Shortened Friendly

By June 5, 2016USWNT

The United States Women’s National Team defeated Japan 2-0 Sunday at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland in a match that was abandoned due to severe weather.

“(In friendlies) it’s really about the performance, and I thought today’s performance was very good,” USWNT head coach Jill Ellis said following the match.

Photo Credit: Brent Durken/

Photo Credit: Brent Durken/

The win comes three days after the U.S.’ 3-3 come from behind draw with Japan in Thursday’s friendly.

“From the last game to this game, big positives,” Ellis added. “There were a lot of good things that we had discussed in a classroom setting and applied on the field, so overall I was very pleased.”

The USWNT started off quickly, with Christen Press getting in behind the Japan backline in the second minute, and two following chances were blocked and eventually cleared by the visitors.

Then in the fifth minute, Crystal Dunn created her first chance, ringing a shot off the crossbar after a strong effort to remain on the ball in the box.  Dunn would continue to create chances, with her cutback pass from the left side of the box finding Long, but her shot went straight to the waiting arms of Japanese goalkeeper Erina Yamane.

Twenty minutes following Long’s chance and after a Japanese free kick sailed over Hope Solo’s crossbar, the U.S. would find their breakthrough. Off a free kick from just inside Japan’s half and a failed Japanese clearance, Long found Julie Johnston on the back post and the defender placed the half volley in the top right corner, with the off-sides flag left down.

The 1-0 scoreline would carry into the second half, with the U.S. leading in shots by a 6-1 margin, and leading shots on goal 5-0. Tobin Heath would find herself with the best chance to add a second early in the half, but she couldn’t quite corral Crystal Dunn’s through ball to threaten Yamane, who cleared it.

Photo Credit: Brent Durken/

Photo Credit: Brent Durken/

The USWNT would find their insurance goal in the 62nd minute, with Alex Morgan finishing off Dunn’s ground-cross with a flick off her left foot. The goal marks Morgan’s 67th career international goal, her seventh against Japan (her most against any country) and her 11th goal of 2016 in as many appearances.

“It feels like I’m combining well with all of the attacking players,” Morgan said after the game.

She also feels confident heading into the Rio Olympics in August.

“I think we’re in the perfect place pre-Olympics.”

The USWNT will play a friendly against South Africa in Chicago on July 9th as well as an additional friendly that is yet to be announced before heading to Brazil where they will face New Zealand on August 3rd to begin Olympic group play.

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