(March 12, 2013)-The U.S. Women’s national team needed a win or a tie against Sweden to move on to the championship match of the 2013 Algarve Cup. A 1-1 draw against a team led by their former coach Pia Sundhage proved just enough as the Americans are able to move on to face Germany.
Sweden jumped out to an early lead when U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was forced to come off her line to challenge a shot only to have Lisa Dahlkvist blast a goal 40 yards away past Harris in the 4th minute of play.
Alex Morgan who has a knack for scoring when the U.S. needs it most scored the equalizer in the 56th minute with a beautiful header off of a corner kick from midfielder Megan Rapinoe.
It was the first goal for Morgan this year who racked up a team leading 28 goals in 2012. Morgan spoke with U.S. Soccer after the match about her goal.
“Luck was a little bit on my side today. Pinoe hit a great ball in and actually that’s a goal I’ve been wanting to get. I’m always on the ‘keeper and not in the prime position to be the goal scorer for corner kicks…It was a good time for me to get my first goal at the Algarve Cup this year.”
Tom Sermanni stuck with mostly veteran players throughout the match making only a few substitutions in the latter part of the second half. Carli Lloyd missed her second straight game due to a shoulder injury and Harris earned her first cap with the start at goal. Sermanni also spoke with U.S. Soccer after the match and shared his thoughts on the game.
“It was a real battle and not unexpected. Sweden knew they had to win and they went out to try and win it. Particularly in the first 45 minutes they really rattled us and put us in several difficult situations. I thought the second half was much better. I thought we started to play the game as we can play it. We started to up the tempo and have a bit more confidence in our passing and we started to penetrate. It was a tough battle, but a good draw. Perhaps in the second half we had enough chances to win the game, but we’re in the final and that’s what matters.”
For the Americans it was the first real challenge of the tournament after easily dispensing Iceland and China in their first two matches. Germany the number two-ranked team in the world shutout Norway 2-0 to set up what should be a thrilling final between the top two teams in the world. That match will kickoff at 1pm ET on Wednesday March 13, live viewing information can be found at www.integratedsportsnet.com.