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Smith plays 60’; Sauerbrunn earns 200th cap in USWNT’s scoreless draw with the Czech Republic

Smith has a solid showing and Becky Sauerbrunn makes history.

2022 SheBelieves Cup - Czech Republic v United States Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Sophia Smith started and played 60 minutes in the U.S. Women’s National Team’s goalless draw with the Czech Republic. The Thorns forward made her 11th appearance in her third career start for the USWNT. Becky Sauerbrunn started the match on the bench but came on to make her 200th cap in the 72nd minute of the match. She became just the twelfth player in USWNT history to do so.

The U.S. nearly opened the scoring with a freak goal in the 4th minute. Mallory Pugh lofted a cross into the area that Czech keeper Barbora Votikova pushed off her own crossbar. Catarina Macario got on the end of the ensuing corner but her volleyed shot was blocked by a defender.

Four minutes later, left back Emily Fox bombed up the flank and past two Czech defenders. She hit a hard and low cross through the box that landed at the feet of Kelley O’Hara. O’Hara fired from distance but pulled her shot just wide of the post.

Smith carved through the defense in the ninth minute. She received a lay-off on the run and dribbled through the center of the pitch toward goal. She hit a low shot back across goal from the top of the box and Votikova did well to push it wide.

The U.S. really started to dominate proceedings in the 13th minute. They pinned the Czech Republic back and continued to create chances. Smith finessed her way past one defender and drove in between two more before shooting from a tight angle in the 24th minute. Votikova was up to the task again.

Macario also tested Votikova from distance. It was parried out of play and Macario delivered the resulting corner kick to the head of Andi Sullivan. The midfielder’s header looped over the bar and settled in the top of the goal’s net.

Smith connected with her former Stanford teammate Macario in the 37th minute. The Thorns forward played a well-weighted through ball to Macario, who had it touched away from her at the top of the box.

The U.S. were unable to convert their chances in the first half and went into the break deadlocked at 0-0 with the Czech Republic. Halftime substitutes Emily Sonnett and Kristie Mewis combined with Macario to wreak havoc on the Czech defense within the first minute of the second half. The Czech’s were eventually able to clear the danger.

On the other end, the ball was played off Sonnett’s arm in the penalty area from close range. The Czech’s vehemently appealed for a penalty but the referee waved play on.

In the 52nd minute, Macario, with her back to goal, played a brilliant lay-off to Rose Lavelle, who ran in behind the defense. Lavelle tried to curl her shot to the far post but placed it right at Votikova.

Trinity Rodman and Margaret Purce came on to replace Smith and Pugh in the 61st minute. Two subs combined for the best chance of the game. Mewis turned in the middle of the pitch and sprayed a line-breaking pass through the Czech defense and into stride for Rodman. Votikova narrowed the angle and made a great save.

In the 72nd minute, legend Becky Sauerbrunn came on to earn her 200th cap for the USWNT, becoming the 12th player to do so.

The USWNT pushed for a late winner but were unable to crack the resolute Czech defense. The U.S. will play New Zealand in their second SheBelieves Cup match on Sunday, Feb. 20. Kickoff is slated for 12 noon PT and will be broadcast on ABC and PrendeTV