The U.S. WNT beat Brazil 3-1 Sunday afternoon in Orlando in another spirited and highly entertaining contest between two well matched sides.
Almost 33,000 fans came out to the Citrus Bowl as Orlando continues to celebrate the game of soccer just days the after the NWSL named the Orlando Pride as the 10th team in the women’s professional league.
Just four days ago the U.S. fell behind Brazil early and needed an 85th minute goal from Carli Lloyd to keep its epic 101 game streak without a home loss alive.
With that scare fresh in her mind coach Jill Ellis instructed her team to come out fast, but Ellis is also attempting to unearth some new talent to challenge her World Cup winners. One of those newcomers Emily Sonnett had her coach, teammates and fans holding their collective breath when she came in contact with Andressa Alves in the box, sending the Brazilian attacker tumbling dramatically in the seventh minute.
There was no call and two minutes later the U.S had the lead. More important than taking the lead was who scored the goal and how. Tobin Heath slipped a fine pass into Alex Morgan who flashed through the defense, collected the ball and held off her marker to calmly take her chance.
It was vintage Morgan, the type of goal we have haven’t seen from the Orlando Pride’s new striker as she recovered from injuries the past couple of years.
Brazil equalized in first half stoppage time on a gem from Cristiane, but the visitors had little time to enjoy its lead. About a minute in fact. That’s when another of Ellis’ young challengers Lindsey Horan headed powerfully on target from a U.S.corner kick. Luciana saved Horan’s shot, but Crystal Dunn pounced to bury the rebound, sending the U.S. to their locker room with a 2-1 lead.
The third U.S. goal came late from debutant Stephanie McCaffrey, who finished in style from a perfect cross from a Megan Rapinoe cross.
McCaffrey impressed off of the bench in earning her first cap, University of Virginia senior Sonnett went 90 minutes in her international introduction and settled after that early near penalty incident. Horan showed flashes of her ability in an 80 minute stint, picking up her fourth cap. 30 year old Gina Lewandowski who plays her club ball with Bayern Munich replaced Ali Kreiger, subbing in for her old Frankfurt teammate in her national team bow.
But while fans were getting to know some newcomers, it was also time to say a couple farewells. Defender Lori Chalupny beat the odds to battle back and earn her place on the World Cup winning team after being out of the international picture for five years while she dealt with concussion syndrome.
Chalupny hasn’t decided on her club career yet, but the 31 year old has hung up her U.S. WNT boots with 106 caps to her name.
While Chalupny seems to have coaxed all she could from her international career, Lauren Holiday is stepping away in her prime and for that reason she will be badly missed. Unlike Chalupny, Holiday is making a clean break from the game at both club and international level.
The win improved the USA’s all-time record against Brazil improved to 26-3-5 and the the streak lives on, with the Yanks having now played a mind-boggling 102 games without a loss in the United States.
The Victory Tour concludes with four more games before the end of the year, with two each against Trinidad and Tobago and China.
December 6, 2015 8 PM ET
WNT vs Trinidad & Tobago: Aloha Stadium; Honolulu, Hawaii. FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports GO
December 10, 2015 8 PM CT
WNT vs Trinidad & Tobago: Alamodome; San Antonio, Texas. ESPN2, WatchESPN
December 13, 2015 4:30 PM PT
WNT vs China: University of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, Ariz. ESPN2, WatchESPN
December 16, 2015 7 PM CT
WNT vs China: Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans, La. FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
BRA 1 0 1
USA – Alex Morgan (Tobin Heath) 9th minute
BRA – Cristiane (Marta) 45
USA – Crystal Dunn (Lindsey Horan) 45+3
USA – Stephanie McCaffrey (Megan Rapinoe) 94
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger (30-Gina Lewandowski, 74), 27-Emily Sonnett, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 16-Lori Chalupny (22-Meghan Klingenberg, 21); 25-Crystal Dunn (15-Megan Rapinoe, 60), 12-Lauren Holiday (capt.) (10-Carli Lloyd, 56), 14-Morgan Brian, 17-Tobin Heath (28-Stephanie McCaffrey, 46); 31-Lindsey Horan (8-Amy Rodriguez, 80), 13-Alex Morgan
Subs Not Used: 2-Sydney Leroux, 3-Christie Rampone, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Whitney Engen, 7-Shannon Boxx, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Julie Johnston, 20-Abby Wambach, 21-Alyssa Naeher, 23-Christen Press, 29-Samantha Mewis
Head coach: Jill Ellis
BRA: 1-Luciana; 2-Fabiana, 4-Rafaelle, 5-Andressinha, 6-Tamires (7-Beatriz, 71), 8-Thaisa, 9-Andressa Alves, 10-Marta (capt.), 11-Cristiane, 14-Erika, 20-Formiga (17-Gabi Zanotti, 63)
Subs Not Used: 3-Monica, 12-Andreia, 13-Poliana, 15-Rilany, 16-Rafaela, 18-Bia Vaz, 19-Raquel
Head coach: Oswaldo Alvarez
Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 8 / 13
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 11 / 5
Offside: 4 / 1
USA – Crystal Dunn (caution) 14th minute
BRA – Cristiane (caution) 37
USA – Lindsey Horan (caution) 66