The US women’s national team on Wednesday became back-to-back SheBelieves Cup champions for the first time in the tournament’s six-year history, easily beating Argentina 6–0 to clinch the trophy.
The win ended a perfect tournament for the USWNT, which had previously defeated Canada and Brazil.
The USWNT had to fight a tough fight against Canadians and Brazilians, but had a win on Wednesday night, with players playing their roles on the main stars as well as on the bubble of the Olympic roster.
Rapino is far from ending
Megan Rapinoe had not seen the field in nearly a year since arriving at the USWNT camp last month. After an NWSL season and a US camp exit, many questioned whether she could reclaim the game-changing look she often displayed in the past.
Five games and five goals later, it is clear that the veteran has not lost his ability to decide the match.
Rapinoe was everywhere against Argentina, scoring the first two goals of the game and playing a major role for Carly Lloyd with a pinch blow on the third. The 35-year-old is no longer going up and down the field, but in the final third, he still has the composing and cutting edge to make a difference.
Olympic roster selection will be a major challenge
It is no secret that head coach Vlatko Andonovski is about to make some surprising decisions when forming his 18-player Olympic roster. That conflict could not be fully demonstrated on Wednesday.
A number of players on the roster bubble for Tokyo were given the chance to shine against Argentina and with a clear indication of the quality of the opposition, most of them took their chance.
Christy Mevis scored Lloyd’s goal with a great left-toe strike with a cross-pin for the first time. Casey Krueger played a strong two-sided innings in his half-run on the field, while Tierna Davidson was composed and showed her passing range in central defense. Sophia Smith came off the bench and assisted on Alex Morgan’s goal.
Andovsky had great admiration for Mavis, saying: “It took her a while but once she found out, I felt she was very good. She scored a great goal, she assisted on a very good goal and she went in a variety of ways. Was able to influence the game. “
The head coach was also happy to see Kruger (“on the defensive side, he was present in every performance he did”) as well as Davidson (“dictating at a very quiet pace with Becky”). [Sauerbrunn], Punching the balls left and right, I thought he did well. “)
One bubble player who did not have a chance to show what he could do was goalkeeper Jane Campbell. Argentina did not have a shot all night.
Morgan’s Meaningful Goal
Morgan has scored plenty of goals for the USWNT and almost all of them were more important than Wednesday, making it 5–0 in the 84th minute. But very few would have done much for Morgan personally.
The striker’s late goal was the first since the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup and her first since becoming a mother last May. Morgan is now hoping that she can serve as an example for other pro athletes who are already moms or are considering becoming moms.
Alex Morgan became a mother on May 7, 2020. 293 days later she is scoring goals for the United States. Inspirational to witnesspic.twitter.com/PA85cb0R5E
– Roger Bennett (@rogbennett) 25 February, 2021
“To say it’s a long time is an understatement. It’s been over 500 days – you don’t have to sugarcane it,” Morgan said with a laugh.
“I am very excited to get my first goal with the national team and join the list of moms on the team who have scored goals and played as national team players. I just want to be an example for other female athletes who are mothers or want to be mothers – knowing that they are still in sports after having children.
“You can be a mother and still be at the top of your game, so I want to continue to show that and that was the first step tonight.”