Story by Teresa M. Walker // AP Sports Writer | Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Alex Morgan scored a minute into second-half stoppage time, Hope Solo posted her 97th career shutout, and the United States beat France 1-0 on Sunday in the SheBelieves Cup at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium.
With the victory over the No. 3 team in the world, the top-ranked Americans improved to 8-0-0 in 2016, outscoring opponents 30-0. The U.S. has won its first two games of the SheBelieves Cup after beating No. 5 England on Thursday.
On the lone goal, 17-year-old Mallory Pugh controlled the ball just past midfield and passed ahead to Morgan, who sprinted through the defense for a left-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi. It was Morgan’s 63rd international goal and made up for not connecting on a pass in the first half from Meghan Klingenberg.
“Mall played me in perfectly, and all I needed to do was put it past the keeper,” Morgan said.
The U.S. outshot France 10-8 after managing only three shots in the first half, with Solo making some key saves for her 146th international victory.
“When you can have the win and a great performance, I think it’s a good feeling,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. “I think the players left there with a good feeling. … Obviously ecstatic with the world-class goal at the end there. But as I said to the players, it’s also three points in this tournament. This is our first time at this tournament, and we’d obviously love to win it. And one more game to go.”
Solo deflected a shot from Louisa Necib in the 14th minute, then France missed on a flurry shortly after. The ball clanged off the left post when Carli Lloyd tried to clear it, forcing Solo to dive to her right before going back to her left to save a shot from Marie-Laure Delie.
“It was nice to be able to have her back and be able to make the save,” Solo said.
In the second half, Delie’s header went wide before Tobin Heath’s shot missed wide left in the 56th minute for the U.S.
The SheBelieves Cup wraps up March 9 in Boca Raton, Florida, with France playing England and the U.S. facing second-ranked Germany in this tuneup for the Rio Olympics.
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