The USWNT opened their SheBelieves Cup campaign against a Canadian side that hadn’t played since March 2020 and has a new coach. Portland Thorns FC players Becky Sauerbrunn, Lindsey Horan, and Crystal Dunn started. Sophia Smith was available on the bench.
Dunn and Horan played 82 minutes while Sauerbrunn played the full 90.
The match started at a frantic pace. Both teams pressed high and forced the other into turnovers. The USWNT did not look like their dominant selves. Canada defended well and looked dangerous on the counter attack. The Canadians began creating more danger when Janine Beckie came in from the wing to operate as a number 10.
In the 35th minute the USWNT created one of their best opportunities of the first half. Lynn Williams swung in a great cross, but Carli Lloyd could not flick the header past Stephanie Labbé.
Canada responded with a chance of their own. Beckie looked to have a tap-in after a Nichelle Prince shot landed at her feet. Alyssa Naeher made a good save to keep it scoreless.
The USWNT looked rejuvenated after almost going behind. They put together their best spell of the half with Williams and Crystal Dunn coming close to opening the scoring.
The second half started with the USWNT possessing the ball heavily, but Beckie and Prince continued to give the U.S. backline trouble. Dunn and Sauerbrunn were not on the same page in the 53rd minute when Prince ran onto a Dunn back pass. Prince was in on goal and squared to Beckie, but Naeher came up with another good save.
The match shifted in the U.S.’s favor when Rose Lavelle, Christen Press, and Alex Morgan subbed on. But Canada quickly adjusted.
Horan had produced a moment of magic which almost opened the scoring. She rattled the post in the 77th minute with a thunderous half volley.
@roselavelle breaks the deadlock for the @USWNT! pic.twitter.com/XPwRYFkL9c— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 19, 2021
Lavelle put the U.S. ahead after pouncing on a second ball in the box and sliding it past Labbé to give the U.S. all three points.