USA down Japan 3-1 to capture SheBelieves Cup
March 14 ------ Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press scored early goals and the World Champion United States beat Japan 3-1 on Wednesday to win the SheBelieves Cup friendly women’s football tournament. Lindsey Horan added a goal in the 83rd minute to seal the victory in Frisco, Texas, which saw Vlatko Andonovski improve to 10-0 as coach of the US women. Japan’s Mana Iwabuchi scored in the 58th minute — the first goal allowed by the United States since they conceded two to Sweden in Andonovski’s debut as coach on November 7. Rapinoe, who swept the individual prizes at the 2019 World Cup in leading the US to a second straight triumph, opened the scoring in the seventh minute, firing home a free kick after a foul on Lindsey Horan.
Press doubled the score in the 26th, spinning on the top edge of the area and chipping over the Japanese keeper. Iwabuchi’s goal galvanized Japan, but they were unable to find an equalizer. The match was played amid rising tension over the US women’s gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation. US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro apologized Wednesday for the “offense and pain caused” by language used by the federation in court documents in defense of pay differences between the men’s and women’s national teams. Before the match the women warmed up with their jerseys turned inside out in apparent protest of the federation’s claims that the men’s national team play carries more responsibility and “requires a higher level of skill based on speed and strength” than what is demanded of the women.
In the opening match of the double-header at Toyota Stadium, Alexia Putellas’s 84th-minute strike gave Spain a 1-0 victory over England. Spain had a series of chances in the second half, with England keeper Carly Telford denying Ainhoa Moraza and Marta Cardona from close range. But FC Barcelona’s attacking midfielder Putellas had plenty of room in the box to head home the winner off a corner kick. England, unable to convert chances for Ellen White and Nikita Parris in the first half, slumped to their seventh defeat in 11 games.