USWNT Top England 1-0 In Friendly

The US Women’s National Team beat a tactically astute England side by a score of 1-0 in a friendly Friday in Milton Keynes thanks to a first-half header from Alex Morgan, her 50th goal for the USWNT.

The win comes on the back of two games in which the US failed to score; a goalless game against Brazil and a 2-0 loss to France, and without several key players in the starting eleven.

Alex Morgan, the speedy US forward, managed to score her first goal since September 2014 through a lofted header which was crossed in from the right flank by Lauren Holiday, who impressed throughout the game.

The English looked sturdy in the opening plays of the game, and that would be the case for the entirety of the game.  Despite not providing much in terms of attacking, England looked like a solid defensive outfit, and managed to mark Alex Morgan out of the game for the first 20 minutes, in which time she failed to register a single touch.

England had some injury worries 15 minutes into the game when captain Steph Houghton and goalkeeper Karen Bardsley both went down in the same play, but both seemed to walk off their injuries with ease.

Despite the US lacking creativity early on, and failing to get any clear-cut chances until Lauren Holiday and Ali Krieger started firing on all cylinders, the American ladies managed to take the lead through the talisman that is Alex Morgan, who has been struggling with injuries over the last year.

The same England side who lost 3-0 to Germany in November seemed to have learned from their mistakes, as they managed to see out the rest of the first half without any capitulation, and still had faith heading into halftime.

Early in the second half the USWNT got a considerable helping of luck dished out to them as England forward Jodie Taylor scored on a rebound from a Fran Kirby long-distance missile, but the goal was incorrectly called offside and the US maintained their 1-0 lead.

The Lionesses built in confidence after that play, and were far more attacking after the 60th minute than they had been for the rest of the game, although the Americans were still a dominant pressing force which forced England into resorting to counter attacks.

Alex Morgan had a chance to extend the US’ lead and bag her second goal of the game in the 76th minute as she beat an English defender with a tricky nutmeg and attempted to curl the ball into the far side from a  tight angle, but Bardsley was equal to it.

England began to dominate in the last ten minutes of the game, but a tight USWNT defense prevented them from getting any clear-cut opportunities, and they saw the game out for their first win of 2015.

The USWNT’s next game is against Norway on March 4th in Portugal to kick off the Algarve Cup