The United States women’s national team started its friendly against Nigeria with purpose, immediately putting the Super Falcons under a wave of pressure in Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
Deploying a high press, the USWNT pinned Nigeria in their own half for most of the opening frame as the United States’ attack went to work.
Sophia Smith, Mallory Pugh and Alex Morgan worked together seamlessly, finding space through varied runs as Rose Lavelle and Lindsay Horan picked out the forwards from the midfield.
While the offensive sequences were on point, the squad failed to capitalize on chances created in the final third, putting three of 10 shots on target.
The USWNT’s breakthrough finally came in the 24th minute when Pugh whipped a dangerous ball into the box, forcing an own goal from Oluwatosin Blessing Demehin.
The 1-0 scoreline held until the half despite the USWNT’s relentless attack.
you still gotta celebrate. 🎉 pic.twitter.com/8jJrx9EUHw— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) September 6, 2022
you still gotta celebrate. 🎉 pic.twitter.com/8jJrx9EUHw
Energized by a manageable 1-0 deficit at the break, the Super Falcons came out of the locker room swinging.
Nigeria equalized in the 50th minute, with Uchenna Kanu finding space around defender Sofia Huerta and firing a shot past U.S. goalkeeper Casey Murphy. The goal was the first the USWNT has conceded during the run of play this year, snapping the team’s shutout streak at 880 minutes.
50' - GOAL: Nigeria. Our shutout streak ends at 880 minutes. 🇺🇸USA 1 - 1 NGA 🇳🇬— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) September 6, 2022
50' - GOAL: Nigeria. Our shutout streak ends at 880 minutes. 🇺🇸USA 1 - 1 NGA 🇳🇬
The USWNT, quick to respond, registered the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute to reclaim their lead.
Megan Rapinoe proved to be the difference-maker, serving up a quality ball one minute after entering the match. The 37-year-old picked out Lavelle, who was waiting at the back post to nod in the header and put the USWNT up 2-1.
73 SECONDS.That's all it took for @mPinoe to find @roselavelle to give us the lead! #USAvNGA x @Allstate pic.twitter.com/yDFzCOJ5Pg— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) September 6, 2022
73 SECONDS.That's all it took for @mPinoe to find @roselavelle to give us the lead! #USAvNGA x @Allstate pic.twitter.com/yDFzCOJ5Pg
The USWNT held off Nigeria until the final whistle, securing the narrow victory.
The win came three days after the U.S. defeated Nigeria 4-0 in the first friendly in Kansas City. The game marks the USWNT’s final contest before their highly anticipated matchup with 2022 Euro champion England at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 7.