MICHAEL ADUBATO - Friday, February 19, 2021
The sixth edition of the SheBelieves Cup got underway on Thursday with the U.S. Women's National Team coming away with the victory over Canada thanks to Rose Lavelle's late second-half strike
Although the Canadians were without many key players due to injuries and players not released from their club teams, they still put up a good fight against the World Cup winners although they were unable to find the back of the net.
As expected, the American women dominated the game as they got 13 of their 20 shots on target, compared to the Canadians who only managed to get off seven shots total. The visitors only managed to hold onto the ball for 39% of the time as well.
The USA created some chances in the first half and even rattled the Canuck crossbar but making the breakthrough proved to be difficult until the second half when North Macedonian-born American coach Vlatko Andonovski made a triple substitution about 20 minutes into the second half. As well as Lavelle, Christen Press, and Alex Morgan entered the field of play, replacing Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Macario.
A USA free-kick out on the right flank was sent into the box that the defense was unable to clear. The ball fell to Lavelle and from eight yards out the Manchester City midfielder struck it past Kailen Sheridan and into the back of the net for the game's only goal.
The USA, who haven't lost a game in over two years, will next go up against Brazil on Sunday afternoon, also at Exploria Stadium. Brazil played their first game of the tournament against fellow South Americans, Argentina. They came away with a 4-1 victory, so it looks to be a big challenge for the Americans to overcome.