Alex Morgan announced tonight that she is indeed back, leading the U.S. WNT with a brace to draw with a determined French side 2-2 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT.
It was her first goal in a littler over a year- since June 2, 2013 to be exact. And, after sitting out since November 2013 with an ankle injury, Morgan made her return to the U.S. team just last weekend, in the first of a two game series against France.
France wasn’t cautious this time around, attacking full force from the start and looking perfectly comfortable since the meet up in Tampa, FL where they fell to the U.S. 1-0. The U.S. ladies took them on with just as much vigor per usual, as both teams began to trade possession and create back-to-back chances.
Despite dangerous plays on the U.S. side, the French would be the first to open scoring. In the 27th minute, midfielder Louisa Necib got the ball on the left and played it in, but was taken out and received a penalty kick. She shot well, and the ball flew past goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and into the net to put France up 1-0.
Pressure mounted as the U.S. sought an equalizer and took shots, but with towering captain Wendie Renard leading French defense, no goals were scored and the French kept the lead going into halftime.
The U.S. looked mighty determined in the second half, overwhelming France immediately as they rained shots looking for the net. Morgan came off the bench, and that’s when the magic happened. In the 57th minute Allie Long played the ball in to Morgan in the middle, and she quickly shot from the top of the box and into the left post to equalize for the U.S. 1-1.
The aggression picked up and a confident American side began creating more chances, but French defense continued to stand ground. The ball was back and forth and both sides were equal in technical prowess, having to get creative and not rely solely on physical power.
But, it would be France to break the deadlock first, and Amandine Henry led the attack, burying the ball into the low right corner in the 70th minute 2-1.
A win looked daunting for the U.S. as the minutes ticked down. They took possession and in the 84th minute Morgan took an impossible shot on goal, but the ball flew wide. The energetic forward had some last minute dramatics for the crowd though.
She got the ball back in the middle and barely a minute after her first attempt, Morgan blasted it down the middle, stunning French defense with another goal to draw 2-2.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
FRA 1 1 2
FRA- Louisa Necib (penalty) 27th minute
USA- Alex Morgan (Allie Long) 56
FRA- Amandine Henry 68
USA- Alex Morgan (Tobin Heath) 85
USA: 24-Ashlyn Harris; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 6-Whitney Engen (3-Christie Rampone, 46), 25-Meghan Klingenberg (5-Kelley O’Hara, 79); 15-Allie Long (17-Tobin Heath, 60), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.), 12-Lauren Holiday; 9-Heather O’Reilly (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 2-Sydney Leroux (8-Amy Rodriguez, 79), 23-Christen Press
Subs Not Used: 7-Morgan Brian, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head Coach: Jill Ellis
FRA: 16-Sarah Bouhaddi; 8-Jessica Houara, 2-Wendy Renard, 4-Laura Goerges, 24-Julie Soyer; 6-Amandine Henry, 15-Elise Bussaglia, 14-Louisa Necib, 12- Elodie Thomis; 9-Eugenie Le Sommer (10-Camille Abily, 84), 17-Gaetane Thiney (18-Marie Laure Delie, 89)
Subs Not Used: 1-Celine Deville, 3-Laure Boulleau, 5-Sabrina Delannoy, 7-Viviane Asseyi, 11-Laetitia Tonazzi, 13-Pauline Crammer, 19-Marina Makanza, 20-Anaig Butel, 21-Laetitia Phiippe, 22-Amel Hamraoui, 23-Kheria Hamraoui, 25-Ines Jurena
Head Coach: Philippe Bergeroo
Stats Summary: USA / FRA
Shots: 11 / 8
Shots on Goal: 6 / 3
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 5 / 14
Offside: 1 / 5