USWNT 1-0 Spain
The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Spain 1-0 in the first international meeting between the two teams thanks to a second-half goal created by a strong individual effort from halftime substitute Christen Press.
The first 45 minutes began with both teams wrestling to impose their style on the match, but after a hard-charging opening 10 minutes from Spain, the U.S. began flexing its muscles, nearly taking the lead in the 14th minute. A corner kick from the right wing was misjudged by Spain goalkeeper Sandra Paños and reached Megan Rapinoe on the back left post. Her bicycle-kick attempt was pushed away by a recovering Paños as Julie Ertz crashed in looking to get her head on the ball, which slipped just past Rose Lavelle, who couldn’t react in time to stab home the loose ball at the right post.
The U.S. held the upper hand for the remainder of the half, carving out its best chances via crosses into the box, but the breakthrough did not come until the second half, when U.S. head coach introduced a trio of substitutes, including Press who fashioned the opening goal. Receiving the ball at midfield, Press turned one defender and headed directly for goal, sprinting past another before sending a shot from wide left of the goal toward the right post before it was knocked in by Spain defender Irene Paredes in the 54th minute.
From there, the U.S. looked the dominant team, creating numerous opportunities to extend its lead through Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh and Ertz, but needed only the single goal to secure the victory after a stout defensive performance buttressed by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher’s fine day in net when called upon.
Canada 1-0 Norway
Canada opened 2019 with a 1-0 win over Norway in its first official match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ year. Captain Christine Sinclair earned Canada the win with a second-half goal, her 178th international goal in her 275th appearance for Canada bringing her just seven goals away from the all-time FIFA goalscoring record.
Canada got off to a strong start with Ashley Lawrence getting forward to play Nichelle Prince in for the first chance of the game in the 3’. Prince, whose run of form has seen her score four goals in the past six matches, was unable to get the shot on frame. Lawrence played Prince through again in the 7’, this time getting Jessie Fleming in on goal, but, Canada did not get the shot off. After Sinclair saved a long ball in, the ball fell back to her in the box in the 14’ and forced a save from Norwegian GK Hjelmseth for the best chance of the first half.
A minute later, Canadian Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé was forced into her first action saving a shot in close on the counter. After a winding run to bring the ball out of the back from Ashley Lawrence, a pass back to Kadeisha Buchanan was then sent over the top to Deanne Rose who played the ball into Jessie Fleming for a chance that did not make it through in the 27’. Buchanan spent some time on the sideline and Norway were forced to make a change a right back before Jessie Fleming and Nichelle Prince both missed out on chances and the first half ended 0-0.
Following a handful of early second-half substitutions, Canada began to push forward with purpose. Ashley Lawrence played a ball into the box in the 64’ that was taken by Hjelmseth with Sinclair at the doorstep. Second half substitute Jenna Helstrom’s left-footed cross into the box in the 66’ was headed home by captain Christine Sinclair. Stephanie Labbé earned her 25th clean sheet late when Norway were pressing in the 89’ and a scramble in the box lead to a shot which Labbe touched onto the crossbar with the rebound landing on the netting for a goal kick.