USWNT began its home stretch of pre-Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 against Portugal in Houston. The Americans were obvious favorites in the match, and despite having trouble finishing, they managed to get a victory. In the end, the Americans wanted to create plenty of chances, but all but one were dealt with by Portugal as the match ended 1-0 thanks to a goal from Sam Mewis.
Stars and Stripes put up a 4-3-3 with a big change in midfield as Julie Ertz is still recovering from a knee injury. In her place, Lindsey Horan stepped in to audition for the spot if Ertz should not recover fully in time for Tokyo, or if Vlatko Andonovski needs to turn no. 6 position.
Meanwhile, Portugal lined up in a 4-4-2 and tried to be compact and well organized.
Portugal XI is facing @USWNT
Catarina Amado, Carole Costa, Sílvia Rebelo, Joana Marchão,
Francisca Nazareth, Andreia Norton, Tatiana Pinto, Dolores Silva (captain)
Jessica Silva, Diana Silva https://t.co/ePIDYVpZGj
– Theo Lloyd-Hughes (@theodore_LH) June 10, 2021
Gif of targets
Portugal would be a good test for the United States as the Iberians managed to stay compact and dampen the attack as the USWNT dominated possession early on. As the visitors dared to move forward, they played quickly to pass Diana Silva in hopes of finding a goal at the break. The United States wanted some chances but could only force Ines to a save, and in the end Portugal did an effective job of killing half and the teams went into the half at zero-zero.
When the second half started, Stars and Stripes came out with much higher energy and seemed to put more focus on back pressure. Perhaps the best chance of the game came on a post from Megan Rapinoe who found Alex Morgan sept to meet the ball with his foot but did not hit it clean and the ball kept going into the net.
The second hydration break rolled around in the 70th minute and Emily Sonnett, Carli Lloyd and Sofia Smith came in for Kelley O’Hara, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe.
The death was finally broken when Sam Mewis headed into a near post corner from Christen Press.
Another change came when Crystal Dunn came off the field for Tierna Davidson.
Not long after, Carli Lloyd scored a goal as xyz sent a free kick of a free kick that Inez could not hold on to. The striker jumped on the rebound but she was called offside and it was not allowed.
After 89 minutes, Lynn Williams came on for Press for the Stars and Stripes. USA wanted a few more chances on goal, but in the end they could not find another goal and the game ended 1-0.
The chances were there, but the finishing touches were not. This is obviously good, it means the players get in threatening positions, but could have had a few more goals in this one.
Give Portugal credit, the reasons for teams playing in the low block is that it is effective.
Horan looked solid as No. 6 and she gets plenty of time to settle into the role in the next few games.