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USWNT avoids catastrophe with comeback win over Germany

(Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

The U.S. women’s national team avoided catastrophe Sunday with a 2-1 comeback win against Germany in the second of two friendlies between the squads.

A defeat Sunday would have secured the USWNT its first-ever four-game losing streak. The team avoided that fate by responding to Thursday’s loss in resounding fashion to close out 2022.

The USWNT was outplayed in the first half at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., with Germany’s Jule Brand notching the game’s first goal to put her team ahead 1-0 in the 18th minute.

But the second half brought new life for the home team. Sophia Smith scored first for the United States, capping off what has been a career year for the forward.

The goal was her team-leading 11th of the year for the USWNT and the 12th of her international career. The 22-year-old forward also had 14 goals for the Portland Thorns during the NWSL season.

Less than a minute after Smith put the USWNT on the scoreboard, Mallory Pugh found the back of the net to put the team in the lead.

Each goal marked a major milestone for the scorer.

With her goal, Smith became just the second player to record 11 or more goals both internationally and in the NWSL in the same calendar year.

Pugh, meanwhile, became just the sixth player in USWNT history to record more than 25 goals and 25 assists (she has 27) before the age of 25. The 24-year-old forward joins current teammate Alex Morgan on the list, as well as Cindy Parlow Cone, Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett and Kristine Lilly.

The victory closes out the 2022 schedule for the USWNT and marks the team’s first since a Sept. 6 win against Nigeria.