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Casey Murphy’s breakaway save maintains clean sheet for USWNT

(Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images)

Casey Murphy had her hands full late in the U.S. women’s national team’s opening half against Haiti in Monday’s Concacaf W Championship opener.

The North Carolina Courage goalkeeper got the start over veteran Alyssa Naeher for her Concacaf World Cup qualifying debut and her sixth career cap with the USWNT.

The attack, led by Alex Morgan, put the team up 2-0 early. Murphy got in on the action in the 37th minute, denying a Haiti breakaway to preserve the clean sheet ahead of the halftime break. The shutout would stand in the USWNT’s 3-0 win, giving Murphy the fifth clean sheet of her national team career.

Haiti caused problems for the USWNT’s backline all game, pulling the center backs out of position while stretching the entire defensive unit.

Murphy was tested once again when Haiti was awarded a penalty kick in the final minutes of the opening frame. While Murphy guessed wrong on the shot, diving to her left, Roselord Borgella’s shot hit the opposite crossbar and denied Haiti from the spot.

The 26-year-old keeper’s first-half heroics — plus a little help from the post — allowed the USWNT to play comfortably into the second half despite a number of defensive miscues.