In the second stage of the She Believes Cup, England took on the hosts, United States of America. I was hoping that this match would offer more goals than their previous meetings, the last four have been settled by one goal to nil with the most recent victory going England’s way. Wednesday’s goalscorer Ellen White was the Lionesses’ hero that day in the 2017 She Believes Cup.
The hosts nearly went ahead in the first minute after Megan Rapinoe‘s corner which was nodded towards goal and had it not been for Abbie McManus‘ sensing the danger and clearing off the line then England would have succumbed to an early lead.
There was an early worry for the US after Rose Lavelle went down awkwardly after losing her balance. The fall looked looked painful and I wondered if she’d be able to carry on although she was able to run it off on the and rejoin the action shortly afterwards.
The US took the lead in the 32nd minute. Rapinoe picked up the ball after it was headed away by the England defence, she chested the ball down on the edge of the box and hit an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the goal. Karen Bardsley didn’t even move, that tells you how good a hit it was.
To honour Women’s History Month, the US players wore the names of women who have inspired them on the back of their jerseys. Rapinoe was wearing ‘Lorde’ on the back of her shirt after the writer and activist Audre Lorde.
The first half finished with one goal to both sides and on the balance of play I would suggest that this was a fair scoreline.
The second half started very slowly with little to get excited about until the 52nd minute when Nikita Parris beautifully controls a pass from Fran Kirby and slots the ball across goal into the net to put England ahead.
Both teams keep the ball well and the game quietens down. The US patiently hold onto the ball and try to find their way through the England defence. The American’s were rewarded for their pressure after the ball pinballed around the England box from a corner. After a couple of scrambled blocks by the England defence, Tobin Heath followed up her own blocked shot to squeeze the ball over the line.
After the goal, Alex Morgan is looking dangerous and the one most likely to be involved in a third goal for the US but her side are unable to test Bardsley. The game is evenly poised going into the last ten minutes of the match but neither side was able to find a winning goal despite their best effort.
Both sides can be pleased with their performance, it was an entertaining game and I was glad that we finally saw some goals between these two sides. Attention now switches to Florida on March 5th when England take on Japan. A win will see England crowned 2019 She Believes Champions.
England Women: Bardsley, Daly, Houghton, McManus, Stokes, Parris, Bronze, Walsh, Duggan, Kirby, White
USA Women: Franch, O’Hara, Dahlkemper, Davidson, Dunn, Lavelle, Pugh, Ertz, Heath, Morgan, Rapinoe