USWNT Win SheBelieves Cup For Second Straight Year

On Wednesday night the United States Women’s National Team defeated Argentina 6-0 on the third and final match-day of the 2021 SheBelieves Cup. With the win, USWNT are winners of the 2021 SheBelieves Cup after going a perfect 3-0 and outscoring their opponents 9-0 over the course of the tournament. This is the United States’ fourth time winning the tournament and they are the first nation to win the tournament in back-to-back years. Brazil came in second following a 2-0 win over Canada, Canada in third, and Argentina in fourth. USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle was voted the tournaments MVP.

“Honestly, I don’t know how I won that,” said a very honest Lavelle when asked about winning the MVP award. “I don’t know who picks that but I think there are a lot better options.”

This final match was between the number one ranked team in the world and the number 31st ranked team in Argentina. That being said this wasn’t a match in which the Americans went easy on their opponents. Many of the U.S. players are competing for Olympic roster spots and with only 18 up for grabs, it is going to be a nail-bitter for most of the player pool.

How It Went Down

The first 15 minutes of this match was rather tight but a chip of a defender on a through ball from Rose Lavelle found Megan Rapinoe who put a perfect strike on the ball for a goal in the 16th minute. After that, it was a runaway game for the United States. In the 26th minute, Christian Press sprung Carli Llyod free and Llyod unselfishly passed the ball to Rapinoe who bagged her second of the match.

In the 35th minute of play, Rapinoe had a heel pass to Kristie Mewis who then hit Lloyd for a goal. Mewis picked up a goal of her own in the 41st minute with an assist coming from Casey Kruger. Following half-time things did slow down a tad with the next goal not coming until the 84th minute. Sophie Smith set up Alex Morgan who scored her first international goal since the 2019 FIFA World Cup. To finish things off Lindsey Horan set up Press for an 88th-minute goal.

“To say it’s been a long time is like an understatement,” said Alex Morgan when asked about what the goal meant to her. “You guys don’t have to sugercoat it. But I’m very excited to get my first goal back with the national team.”

USWNT outshot Argentina 27-1 and had 11 shots on goal while their opponent couldn’t even muster one.

Road Ahead For USWNT

Next on the official calendar for the USWNT is the Summer Olympics which kicks off on July 23rd. Players will return to their clubs and for the majority of them, they will be heading into NWSL preseason. The 2021 NWSL slate kicks off with the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup on April 9th. For others, they will head overseas to join their clubs whose seasons are in-progress. The roster for the Olympics isn’t 100% set and performance and fitness with their respective clubs will weigh into the decisions and the overall fit within the roster. There are two FIFA windows left before the Olympics with one in April and another in June.

“I think it is always extremely difficult to go from a World Cup roster of 23 to an Olympic roster of 18.” said USWNT Forward Alex Morgan. “We now have had an extra year so there has been even more players that have been aded to the mix. So he (Andonovski) has an incredibly difficult job to do coming up.”

As a whole, this edition of the SheBelieves Cup was a success. The United States was challenged by its opponents and learned a lot about itself and its players. Players’ performances in this tournament will weigh into the coach’s roster decisions for the Olympics. Off the pitch, the tournament has had commercial success with television ratings at an all-time high for the tournament.

The next couple of months will be very interesting not only on how the Olympic roster will pan-out but the growth of the women’s game in the United States. Last year we saw positive momentum in the NWSL with a new deal with CBS (solid television ratings), expansion clubs, and expanding interests with new money coming into the league. 2021 could be an even bigger year for the women’s game building off that growth and the potential for a Gold Medal-winning run by the national team.

Leave a Reply
Related Posts