Harrison, N.J. – It took 180 minutes but England finally came up with the goal that broke a day long deadlock on a brutally cold afternoon at Red Bull Arena to upset the United States before a partisan crowd of 26,500.
After Germany and France had played to a 0-0 draw in the matinee England earned the breakthrough with a late spell of pressure that gave the visitors a pair of corner kicks in the final moments of the match. Jordan Nobbs took them both with Lucy Bronze hammering the second off of the crossbar to set off a mad scramble in front of the U.S. goal, with England substitute Ellen White getting the vital touch.
It was quite a turnaround for England after conceding an added-time goal on Wednesday to lose to France with veteran England midfielder Fara Williams saying “the atmosphere really changes,” and now she is looking forward to “hopefully get the right result and win the SheBelieves.”
For Jill Ellis, the defeat was a learning opportunity. “I think sometimes you don’t learn about the details of the game and how important they are unless you unfortunately sometimes pay a price.” The details Ellis’ had in mind surrounded her team’s defense on the England goal.
“Making sure you are there for that second ball, making sure players are doing what they need to do,” Ellis explained. “Would I rather learn those lessons now? Sure?” “I think sometimes,” the U.S boss said, “when you fail the lesson hits home harder.”
If Ellis was philosophical following the match, England coach Mark Sampson was not surprisingly feeling proud of his team, his entire team. “Not just from the goalkeeper to the front,” Sampson explained, “from the goalkeeper to the 23rd player tonight.”
“It was a real squad effort tonight and it’s got to be to win in America,” Sampson remarked, noting, “not many teams do that.” “To come here and win,” the coach underlined, “was an important result for us.”
With the games coming fast and furious in the SheBelieves tournament all four coaches engaged in a certain amount of squad rotation today with Ellis sending out seven different starters from the opening win versus Germany Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
The U.S. continued with the new three back formation, with Becky Sauerbrunn the lone returnee. Julie Johnston and Ali Krieger completed the back three, with Johnson, in particular having a strong night. Lindsey Horan joined Wednesday’s starter Sam Mewis in the center of the park with Crystal Dunn again starting on one side of the midfield while NWSL rookie Rose Lavelle got the nod on the opposite wing.
Lavelle showed a few nerves early on before settling down. “She was fantastic,” Ellis said afterward. “She was one of the best players on the park.” More accustomed to playing centrally Lavelle was a dynamic presence on the wing, combining at times with another diminutive speedster, Mallory Pugh, to cause havoc in the English defense.
Unfortunately for the U.S. Lavelle’s efforts failed to yield a goal, a fact that brought a groan from the Boston Breakers rookie after the match. “I know,” Lavelle sighed when asked about a first half chance. “I think I hit it right at the goalie,” she said, adding, “I wish I would have buried that one.”
Today’s results mean that the second annual SheBelieves Cup will go down to wire with the title up for grabs when all four of the teams gather Tuesday at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.
Once again the Americans will feature in the nightcap, facing France in a 7:00 o’clock start after England and Germany play in the opener. After two games France sits atop the SheBelieves Cup standings with four points. England and the U.S follow with three points and Germany trail the pack with a single point.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
ENG 0 1 1
ENG – Ellen White 89th minute
USA: 24-Ashlyn Harris; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 8-Julie Johnston, 11-Ali Krieger; 19-Crystal Dunn (12-Lynn Williams, 64), 3-Samantha Mewis (20-Allie Long, 77), 9-Lindsey Horan (6-Morgan Brian, 77), 16-Rose Lavelle, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (17-Tobin Heath, 76); 2-Mallory Pugh, 13-Alex Morgan (23-Christen Press, 63)
Subs not used: 1-Alyssa Naeher, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 7-Casey Short, 14-Jessica McDonald, 15-Emily Sonnett, 18-Jane Campbell, 22-Brianna Pinto
Head coach: Jill Ellis
ENG: 13-Siobhan Chamberlain; 3-Demi Stokes, 4-Lucy Bronze, 5-Steph Houghton (capt.), 7-Jordan Nobbs (8-Jade Moore, 90+3), 10-Izzy Christiansen (6-Millie Bright, 90+2), 15-Laura Bassett, 17-Fara Williams, 19-Toni Duggan (11-Ellen White, 76), 20-Karen Carney (18-Jill Scott, 63), 22-Nikita Parris (9-Jodie Taylor, 77)
Subs not used: 1-Karen Bardsley, 21-Mary Earps, 12-Rachel Daly, 14-Casey Stoney, 16-Gemma Bonner, 23-Rachel Williams
Head coach: Mark Sampson
Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 14 / 14
Shots on Goal: 2 / 3
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 2
Fouls: 11 / 7
Offside: 1 / 2
USA – Carli Lloyd (caution) 68th minute