Heath scores as US women tie England 2-2 at SheBelieves Cup
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Americans have scored twice in each of their first two games of the SheBelieves Cup.
They’ve also allowed two goals apiece, and now a pair of ties has the United States looking at what must improve before the Women’s World Cup in June.
Tobin Heath scored off her own rebound in the 67th minute, and the United States tied England 2-2 on Saturday in the SheBelieves Cup.
“It’s just frustrating,” Megan Rapinoe said. “I feel like there was a lot more in the game for us. But whether it’s in the game or not, you have to go take it, make it happen, and finish and stay focused every minute of it. And we didn’t. There was too many technical errors, there was too many tactical lapses, there’s just not tough enough really ... It’s not good enough.”
Rapinoe, who also scored the 43rd goal of her career in the 33rd minute, started the tying goal with a corner kick. Alex Morgan passed the ball to Heath whose first kick was stopped by defender Rachel Daly, and Heath scored off the rebound for her 26th career goal.
“We’re definitely frustrated,” Heath said. “It’s uncharacteristic of us to kind of have the same result as we did last time,” Heath said.
The Americans, who allowed a late goal in Wednesday night’s 2-2 tie with Japan, nearly pulled out a victory. Julie Ertz’s header went off the bar at the end of the 77th minute, and they had a flurry of passes deep in the 90th minute without a shot on net.
Steph Houghton tied it on a free kick in the 36th minute, and Nikita Parris gave England a 2-1 lead.
The U.S. now is 10-4-2 against England, though the teams avoided the 1-0 score of their last four meetings. The Americans had won three of those, and Saturday they wore the names of women who have inspired them on the back of their shirts.
Japan beat Brazil 3-1 in the opening match of Saturday’s doubleheader in the second part of this round-robin tournament featuring four of the world’s top 10 teams. This tuneup for the Women’s World Cup, which starts June 7 in France, concludes Tuesday night in Tampa, Florida, where the United States will play Brazil, while England plays Japan.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis said they have definite areas to improve, and being more precise is key against the world’s best.
“This is the game we needed,” Ellis said. “It was a must-win game. It’s a pressure game, and I think some of these players recognize the importance of some of those details. You hope that now again you reiterate things on the training ground and that’s the lesson.”
The Americans are 3-0-1 at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, this time before a crowd of 22,125 on a cloudy, chilly day.
Kelley O’Hara passed the ball into the box where Daly tried to clear with a header. Rapinoe corralled the ball, then boomed a volley over the head of keeper Karen Bardsley for a 1-0 lead.
Houghton tied it up on a free kick , curling the ball past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Adrianna Franch in her first cap for the Americans. Ellis said Alyssa Naeher was hurt in the game against Japan.
Alex Morgan came up just shy of her 100th goal late in the first half.
Fran Kirby found Parris with a pass, then she dribbled once before beating Franch in the 52nd minute to give England the lead, putting the pressure on the Americans who won their first three visits to this stadium.
Ellis started substituting soon after, sending in Christen Press for Mallory Pugh, and defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who sat out against Japan with an injury, replaced Rose Lavelle in the 61st minute.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker