The USWNT stormed to their fourth straight SheBelieves title on Wednesday night, with goals from Mallory Swanson and Alex Morgan getting the job done against Brazil.
USA 2 – 1 Brazil
Needing only a draw against the ninth-ranked Brazilians to secure their sixth title in the competition, Vlatko Andonovski made six changes to his starting lineup compared to the team that beat Japan three days before.
Washington Spirit’s Trinity Rodman replaced Lynn Williams in the attack, however it was her front-line companions Mallory Swanson and Alex Morgan that ended up pushing the team to victory.
Already in the fourth minute, a Swanson corner was cleared poorly from the Brazil area, with the ball landing at Crystal Dunn‘s foot in plenty of space, however her 20-yard shot deflected off a defender and ricocheted off the upright.
Just past the 44-minute mark, Morgan looked to have found her breakthrough after the Brazilian’s coughed up the ball in their own territory, but her goal was called back for an offside infraction.
The San Diego Wave forward still put the team ahead before the halftime break, again benefitting from the Brazilians’ inability to maintain possession. Lindsey Horan found Swanson with a through-ball from the midfield, sending the 24 year-old into the area amidst a crowd of defenders. While her initial shot was blocked, it fell to Morgan for a looping, 20-yard shot that beat the diving grasp of Brazilian keeper Lorena.
The visitors still stayed within reach, with Orlando Pride midfielder Adriana hitting the crossbar in the 49th minute with a long-distance blast.
However, Swanson effectively ended their hopes of what would have been a miraculous upset with her fourth goal of the tournament three minutes past the hour.
Williams pressured her opponent into a turnover near the midfield, with Rose Lavelle recovering possession and slipping it to Swanson near the upper right corner of the area, for a picture-perfect shot to the lower near corner.
While Ludmila da Silva did score a 90th-minute consolation goal for Brazil, heading in a deep cross from Bruninha at the left post, it did nothing to change the eventual outcome of the game and tournament.
The victory extended the Americans’ historical dominance in the tournament, being their sixth win in eight editions, and fourth consecutive title. Swanson also made history in the game, becoming the first player to score in all three games.
She ended the tournament as the top scorer, with four goals, bringing her total to eight over seven overall SheBelieves tournaments where she participated since 2016.
Next up for the team are a pair of friendly games against the 23rd-ranked Republic of Ireland squad in April, with the summer’s World Cup in New Zealand quickly approaching.