Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan and Becky Sauerbrunn started in the United States Women’s National Team’s 1-0 win over Portugal in Houston.
Dunn and Sauerbrunn made up the left side of the U.S. defense like they usually do, but Horan was deployed in Julie Ertz’s usual role due to Ertz’s injury. Horan continued her good form in the No. 6 spot. Her positioning was good and she read passing lanes well. Horan decision making was also on display as usually made the correct decision when choosing to jump passing lanes or make tackles.
The USWNT immediately put Portugal under pressure. They kept the ball and counter pressed well to win back possession when it was lost. The U.S. created a flurry of chances from the ninth to the 13th minute. Christen Press cut in and shot, Horan’s header was caught by the keeper, and Samantha Mewis and Rose Lavelle had shots saved from distance.
As the half progressed, Portugal were able to get forward, but were unable to create any clear opportunities. Portugal defended in a low block and were very compact and did well to limit the U.S.’s opportunities in the 18-yard box.
The U.S. had their best opportunity to open the scoring in the 34th minute. The U.S. ran a short corner routine and a Portuguese defender headed the ball toward the right side of the 18-yard box. Press reacted quickly and hit a running volley that Ines Pereira saved well.
Mewis headed a Kelley O’Hara cross wide in first-half added time and the U.S. entered the locker room locked 0-0 against their Portuguese counterparts.
Horan had an opportunity to put the U.S. ahead in the 48th minute. Megan Rapinoe swung in a free kick. Horan lost her marker and just needed to redirect the service, but she couldn’t flick her right leg out to make contact with the ball.
Rapinoe created another good goalscoring chance with a cross to the foot of Alex Morgan. Morgan got separation off the back shoulder of her defender but couldn’t steer her shot on target.
Portugal’s Jessica Silva created Portugal’s best chance of the match by cutting past O’Hara in the box and forcing the U.S. to deflect the shot out for a corner kick.
In the 67th minute, Rapinoe served an in-swinging corner into the box. Morgan got on the end of it and put her header just wide of the post. Three minutes later, Rose Lavelle turned quickly and fired from the top of the box but Pereira tipped it over the bar.
Sophia Smith subbed in for Rapinoe in the 73rd minute and looked good with her few touches on the ball. In the 76th minute Press swung in a corner and Mewis ducked down and rocketed a header into the net.
Dunn was replaced by Tierna Davidson in the 79th minute. Lavelle almost immiedatley doubled the score with a slalmoning run but Pereira made a kick save to keep it at 1-0.
Substitute Carli Lloyd also thought she had made it 2-0 after Horan’s free kick was saved into the path of Lloyd but she was in an offside position. Lloyd had another opportunity to score on a corner in added time but Pereira denied her.
The USWNT will play Jamaica on Sunday, June 13 in Houston. Kick off is slated for 6 p.m. PT.