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Thorns in Tokyo: Matchday 1

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Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan and Becky Sauerbrunn played in the USWNT’s 3-0 loss to Sweden; Christine Sinclair becomes the fourth player in soccer history to make her 300th international appearance.

Brazil v Canada - Women’s International Friendly Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dunn, Horan and Sauerbrunn start in the USWNT’s 3-0 loss to Sweden

Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan and Becky Sauerbrunn started the U.S. Women’s National Team’s opening Olympic match against Sweden. Sweden dominated from the kickoff. They pressed the U.S. high and turned them over throughout the first half.

In the fourth minute, Kosovare Asllani took a free kick and there were warning signs for the U.S. as they cleared nervously. One minute later, Asllani crossed to Stina Blackstenius, but the striker’s touch let her down.

Dunn made a crucial tackle on Sofia Jakobsson, who was played through on goal by Asllani. Dunn got involved on the offensive end moments later. She passed the ball to Christen Press down the flank. Press crossed to Alex Morgan, who couldn’t steer her header on target.

Tobin Heath fired from distance in the 11th minute after an uncharacteristic giveaway by Sweden. Sweden quickly regained control. Fridolina Rolfo fired from distance before Blackstenius was one on one with Alyssa Naeher and fired straight at the keeper.

Rolfo had another shot saved after Kelley O’Hara cut down her angle. Shortly after, Sweden found the go-ahead goal. Jakobsson got down the right flank and crossed to the near post. Blackstenious arrived and flicked her header past Naeher.

Asllani played Jakobsson through and it looked like Sweden would double their lead but Dunn made another integral sliding challenge. Sweden continued to cause the U.S. issues throughout the half but the U.S. almost found an equalizer.

Toward the end of the first half, O’Hara picked up a cleared corner and lofted it into the back. Rose Lavelle slid and headed the ball into the post.

Sweden doubled their lead in the 54th minute. A corner was swung into the box and the header bounced off the far post and to the feet of Blackstenious. She made no mistake, putting it past Naeher again.

The U.S. tried to get back into the match. Lavelle played a long ball to substitute Carli Lloyd, who cut inside and her deflected shot curled wide of the post. Substitute Megan Rapinoe also had an opportunity to cut the lead in half but she was denied.

In the 71st minute, Horan lofted a ball to Rapinoe. She crossed to Press and her shot hit off the post. Sweden made it 3-0 almost immediately. Lina Hurtig was unmarked in the box and thumped a header past Naeher.

Horan and Dunn were replaced in the 80th minute. Adrianna Franch did not feature. The U.S.’s final chance came in stoppage time Tierna Davidson crossed to Press. Her header was saved.

The U.S. is back in action on Saturday, July 24th against New Zealand. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 a.m. PST.

Christine Sinclair makes 300th appearance and scores for Canada in their 1-1 draw with Japan

Christine Sinclair captained Canada in their 1-1 draw vs. Olympic hosts Japan. Sinclair became just the fourth player in history to make 300 international appearances.

Canada took control of the game quickly and made Japan pay. Nichelle Prince got down the right flank and crossed into the 18-yard box. Sinclair made a late run out of the midfield and hit her shot off the post. She got her own rebound and scored her 187th international goal to put Canada ahead in the sixth minute.

Japan tried to get back into the match quickly but Canada contained Japan and dominated possession. But Nadeshiko Japan grew into the match. They began jumping passing lanes and started to get on the ball more.

The hosts forced Canada to defend in their own half and Canada looked to win the ball and counter attack quickly. As the half progressed, both teams traded spells of possession but were unable to create quality opportunities throughout the rest of the first half.

Japan had a chance to equalize early in the second half. Stephanie Labbe came off her line to challenge Mina Tanaka. The referee went to VAR and ruled that Labbe fouled Tanaka and awarded Japan a penalty kick. Tanaka stepped to the spot and Labbe dove to her right to parry the penalty kick wide.

Nadeshiko Japan put Canada under pressure after the penalty miss and created multiple half-chances but were unable to find the back of the net.

In the 58th minute, Kailen Sheridan replaced Labbe, who was injured in the clash that led to the penalty kick. Janine Beckie bundled the ball into the back of the net but the goal was waved off for offside.

Japan equalized in the 84th minute. Mana Iwabuchi ran in behind the Canadian backline. She ran onto a lofted pass and spotted Sheridan off her line. Iwabuchi took it first time and curled it in past Sheridan.

Sinclair was replaced by Evelyne Viens in the 84th minute. Both teams looked for the winner and the match became stretched. Neither team could find a second goal and Canada and Japan shared the points.

Canada will take on Chile on Saturday, July 24th. The teams will kickoff at 12:30 a.m. PST.