The SheBelieves Cup began play on Thursday night at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, FL. The Cup is a tournament of four team, this year is US Women’s National Soccer Team, against the national teams from Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.
The USNT, winners of the World Cup and ranked #1 in the world, had a good challenge against Canada. The Canadiens did not fall over easily and fought hard, even though the were missing four players due to health and safety protocls.
USA manager Vlatko Andonovski was not pleased with their performance.
“When we create 10 opportunities and score only once, I’m not happy, we need to score more goals.” Andonovski said. “From the defensive stand point. They didn’t break us down to create opportunities, Only when we made a mistake or we gave them the ball.”
“We could have done a better job in the final third,” he said. “It was definitely not for lack of creativity, but I would say it was more about lack of execution. We created some good opportunities after a good build up, or we were able to break them down with good creativity, but we were not able to execute on it.”
He was clearly looking for more precise play for the US Women.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Canada either. They entered the tournament missing seven regulars with some clubs refusing to release players due to COVID-related quarantine protocols and others missing due to injuries. To make matters worse, Canada then lost their starting goalkeeper only 10 minutes into the game against the U.S. due to injury.
After several chances for the U.S., Rose Lovelle finally came in and blast in a goal in the 79th minute to give the US the win.
The match did mark the return of Alex Morgan and Kristine Press to play, and Carli Lloyd started the match after being hampered with injuries in previous matches so far this season.
Brazil vs Argentina
In the earlier match, Brazil handled Argentina 4-1 with goals by Marta (PK), BRA -Marta in the 30th minute, Debinha 47th min (16 assist), Adriana 54th minute, (11 assist), and Geyse in the 84th minute (11 assist).
The goal by Marta was her 109th goal.
Like Canada, Argentina’s lost four of their players as they were ruled out due to a positive Covid-19 case in their squad.
Mariana Larroquette scored for Argentina in the 84th minute get them on the board.
Brazil will face reigning world champions the United States in what looks to be the championship match on Sunday. Argentina will face Canada.
The next games will be played back at Exploria Stadium on Sunday February 21st.