After shutting out the Australian women just a few days ago, Newcastle wasn’t as kind to the Americans as Sydney had been, as this time they were forced to settle for a draw.
When the four time World Cup winning USWNT steps onto the field, fans usually expect to see a few balls go into the back of the opposition’s net. In their last half dozen games, Vlatko Andonovski’s American women have scored 30 times while only giving up six.
This was not to be the case in Newcastle, however, although Ashley Hatch did what she did just three days ago; scoring before the clock struck double digits. Her first international goal several days ago came after a record 24 seconds, but this one required a few more minutes. Australia’s Kyah Simon hit the equalizer with just minutes left until the final whistle to save the hosts face on home soil.
The American goal came after the Matildas lost possession in their own half and Lynne Williams recovered the ball before quickly picking out Margaret Purse’s forward run. The Harvard alumni dribbled into the box as central defender Stephanie Catley tracked her run, but gave her enough space to wait for Hatch’s run into the box. Williams slid the ball to her attacking teammate where, eight yards out, she was unmarked and fired past the Australian keeper for 1-0.
Twenty-one minutes the hosts almost leveled things up when Kyra Cooney-Cross, at the top of the D, shot just inside the near post and thought she scored but Casey Murphy got fingertips to it and redirected it against the post.
In the 45th minute the Americans should have doubled their lead when Williams slid the ball across the face of goal, and although Hatch couldn’t get a foot to it, the cross made its way to Purse at the back post, where she hit it into the side netting; unfortunately for the Americans it was the outside netting.
After the intermission, Williams was denied by the fingertips of an airborne Lydia Williams (not relations) between the Aussie sticks. The curling shot came from just outside the 18 yard box.
With two minutes left on the clock, the Matildas struck back. From 20 yard out Simon hit a shot that shouldn’t have troubled Murphy, but the ball deflected off of Becky Sauerbrunn, who had just come onto the field two minutes earlier.
After a year where the Americans played 24 games and closed out the year with this one-all draw, they also won the SheBelieves tournament as well as an Olympic Bronze Medal. Their 2021 record is an impressive 17 wins, 5 draws and 2 defeats.