With the U.S. trailing Brazil 3-1 and staring at losing on home soil for the fourth time in a single year for the first time the Americans reached back and found another level that has been in short supply since winning the 2015 World Cup, coming back to stun Brazil and win 4-3.
An enthusiastic San Diego crowd had barely settled into their seats when U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher bobbled a long range shot from Brazil’s Andressa into the net, an awful mistake, to put the U.S. in a hole after barely a minute had elapsed.
It was a shocker for a U.S. team coming in off of a 1-0 loss to Australia in the first game of the Tournament of Nations. It was the first time the Matilda’s had beaten the U.S. and a loss in this game would mean another first for the Americans, a U.S. WNT has never lost four games in the U.S. in one year and that loss to Australia was the third.
Sam Mewis equalized in the 18th minute on a nice set up from Megan Rapinoe. A deflection played a part but so did Rapinoe, who is finally healthy and dangerous after a long rehab from knee surgery.
Coach Jill Ellis has been experimenting since the poor performance at the 2016 Olympics and that process continued Sunday night with a new center back pairing playing behind normal central defense stalwart Becky Sauerbrunn who Ellis deployed as a defensive midfielder.
Sunday’s tinkering didn’t fare as poorly as the three back that Ellis ran out at the SheBelieves Cup in March but the comeback was made possible when forgotten woman Julie Ertz entered for fullback Taylor Smith, Casey Short vacated the center back spot for Sauerbrunn and Ertz filled the d-mid role.
The U.S. would fall behind 3-1 but Ertz and another sub, Christen Press, on for a misfiring Alex Morgan, would play a big part in enlivening a U.S. side that appeared to be headed for a second consecutive loss.
Goals in the 63 minute by Bruna Benites and a second from Andressa from a gem of a free kick in the 78 minute had the Americans looking defeated but Press went top shelf off of a Rapinoe feed to breathe life back into the U.S. cause with 10 minutes remaining.
The home team still trailed 3-2 but with the crowd roaring them on Press sent a long crossfield pass that Rapinoe controlled perfectly before blasting past Brazil keeper Barbara to bring the crowd to their feet.
That should have been that but the Americans kept coming and would get their reward in the 89 minute off the boot of Ertz who pounced on a loose ball after good set up work from Rapinoe and O’Hara.
The comeback capped a thrilling day of women’s soccer that began when Germany was shocked by Denmark 2-1 and England surprised France 1-0 in the Euro semifinals and continued with Sam Kerr’s hat trick heroics in Australia’s 4-2 victory over Japan in Sunday’s Tournament of Champions opener.
August 3, 2017 7 PM PT
WNT vs Japan – 2017 Tournament of Nations StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
BRA 1 2 3
BRA – Andressinha (Debinha) 2nd minute
USA – Samantha Mewis (Megan Rapinoe) 18
BRA – Bruna Benites (Marta) 63
BRA – Andressinha 78
USA – Christen Press (Megan Rapinoe) 80
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Christen Press) 85
USA – Julie Ertz (Carli Lloyd) 89
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 16-Taylor Smith (8-Julie Ertz, 57), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 14-Casey Short (2-Sydney Leroux, 76), 5-Kelley O’Hara; 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Samantha Mewis (20-Allie Long, 86), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 19-Crystal Dunn (22-Mallory Pugh, 53), 13-Alex Morgan (23-Christen Press, 57), 15-Megan Rapinoe (12-Lynn Williams, 90+1)
Subs not used: 6-Morgan Brian, 9-Lindsey Horan,11-Ali Krieger, 17-Margaret Purce, 18-Jane Campbell, 21-Abby Smith
Head coach: Jill Ellis
BRA: 1-Barbara; 15-Leticia (8-Maria, 71), 21-Monica, 3-Bruna Benites 22-Jucinara (6-Tamires, 46); 5-Djenifer, 7-Gabi Nunes (20-Camila, 22), 17-Andressinha; 9-Debinha (13-Andreia Rosa, 82), 10-Marta, 16-Bia Zaneratto (19-Ludmila, 86)
Subs not used: 2-Maurine, 14-Chu, 18-Fran
Head coach: Emily Lima
Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 24 / 13
Shots on Goal: 11 / 5
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 12 / 20
Offside: 4 / 1
BRA – Jucinara (caution) 36th minute
USA – Becky Sauerbrunn (caution) 54
BRA – Bia Zaneratto (caution) 59
BRA – Marta (caution) 84
BRA – Barbara (caution) 89