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Horan starts; Weaver and Sauerbrunn feature in USWNT’s 1-1 draw with the Matildas in Australia

Lindsey Horan captained the side for the second consecutive match and Weaver made her second senior international appearance.

SOCCER: NOV 27 Women’s - Australia v USA Photo by Steven Markham/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Lindsey Horan captained the U.S. Women’s National Team in their 1-1 draw with the Matildas in Newcastle, Australia. Morgan Weaver came off the bench in the 70th minute to make her second USWNT appearance. Becky Sauerbrunn came on late in the match, making her 199th international appearance.

Horan was the only Portland Thorns player in the USWNT starting eleven. She captained the side for the second consecutive match. Becky Sauerbrunn and Morgan Weaver started the match on the bench. Sophia Smith (concussion protocol) and Bella Bixby missed out on the match day squad.

As is bound to happen when the U.S. plays the Matildas, the match was end to end and played at a rapid pace. The USWNT immediately identified the space behind the young Australian back line and looked to exploit it. Emily Fox curled a pass behind the Australian center backs and into stride for Ashley Hatch. The forward struck it first-time but the shot was saved.

Hatch wouldn’t have to wait long to score another early goal against the Matildas as she did in the teams’ first meeting on Friday. In the fourth minute, Andi Sullivan found Lynn Williams, who swung a delightful ball behind the defense to Margaret Purce near the end line. Purce cut it back to the on-rushing Hatch and the NWSL Golden Boot winner redirected it into the bottom corner, giving the U.S. a 1-0 lead.

The U.S. nearly doubled the lead in the 11th minute. Purce dropped the ball to Sofia Huerta, who played in a dangerous cross. Multiple USWNT players crashed toward the ball. Williams got to it first and pushed her header just wide.

Four minutes later, Williams passed to Horan, who scooped the ball to Hatch at the top of the six-yard box. Hatch tried to flick her header into the back of the net but was denied.

The Matildas had their best chance of the half in the 21st minute off a corner kick. The service was cleared to Kyra Cooney-Cross on the edge of the area. She struck toward goal and Casey Murphy dove to tip the ball off the post.

Horan had her shot saved after a great U.S. move with about ten minutes left in the first half. Huerta lofted it to Williams at the top of the box. Williams flicked it to Horan, who had redirected her run and sprinted into the area. She had to stretch to poke her shot on target and couldn’t find the back of the net on this occasion.

Australia had a second half-chance toward the end of the half. After a spell of pressure, Ellie Carpenter crossed to Sam Kerr, who tried to cut in front of Alana Cook. Kerr got her head to the ball but couldn’t test Murphy.

In the last minute of the first half, Horan played it back to Sullivan, who played it down the channel to Williams. The forward drove at the Australian defense before playing a low cross toward the back post. Purce slid to meet it but hit it into the wrong side of the net.

The U.S. pressed high and dominated the ball to start the second half but Australia found space on the counter attack. Hayley Raso combined with Kerr in transition which resulted in Kerr pulling her shot wide of goal in the 48th minute.

In the 58th minute, Williams tried to curl the ball into the bottom corner of the goal from the top of the 18-yard box. Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams made a great diving save to push the shot wide. Lynn Williams had another chance to get on the scoresheet when Horan swung a cross into the area. The forward dove to meet the cross and headed it up and over the bar.

Morgan Weaver replaced Hatch in the 70th minute, making her second-ever appearance for the USWNT. She was nearly in on goal in the 79th minute but Steph Catley made an incredible sliding challenge to thwart her. Weaver had another opportunity in the 85th minute. She was outnumbered by defenders and took her shot early but she hit it right at Lydia Williams.

Becky Sauerbrunn came on in the 86th minute to make her 199th international appearance In the 88th minute, the Matildas won the ball back and Kerr played it back Kyah Simon. Her shot took a wicked deflection off Sauerbrunn and looped into the back of the net. Horan put the ball in the back of the net in stoppage time but the flag was up for offside and the U.S. ended their calendar year with a 1-1 draw.