March 11, 2013
USA women tie Sweden, reach Algarve final
LAGOS, Portugal -- Alex Morgan's goal in the 56th minute lifted the United States to a 1-1 draw with Sweden and into the Algarve Cup final on Monday.
|Alex Morgan's goal helped lift the U.S. Women's National Team into the Algarve Cup final.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The Americans (2-0-1, seven points) needed only a tie with Sweden to clinch a berth in the final. They will take on defending Algarve Cup champion Wednesday at 1:00 pm ET.
The encounter was the first game directed by former U.S. national coach Pia Sundhage against her old team since leaving for the top spot in Sweden last year.
The Swedes had grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute on a goal by Lisa Dahlkvist.
Ashlyn Harris, the USA's starting goalkeeper at the 2002 and 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup tournaments, earned her first-career cap at the senior level and played well despite giving up an early goal.
Sweden got off to that fast start with a strike from Lisa Dahlkvist in the fourth minute. The goal came after Sweden's star striker Lotta Schelin chased down a ball over the top and Harris was quick off her line to clear for what the U.S. team thought was out of danger.
But with Harris scrambling back to her net, Dahlkvist ran onto the ball and hit a superb first-time strike, blasting the ball into the top corner from a full 40 yards out.
In the 18th minute, Megan Rapinoe took a nice touch to round her defender, before firing a shot from distance - well within her considerable range - that skimmed just wide from 20 yards.
Sweden meanwhile was a constant threat to launch counterattacks. The dangerous Schelin was the focal point of the attack and she nearly latched on to another ball over the top in the 29th minute before firing right at Harris with a shot from 16 yards in the 38th minute.
Kelley O'Hara had a nice chance at the end of the half when she went on a run from her left back position, cutting inside and beating two defenders before striking a right-footed shot just past the left post.
U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni's team started the second half as it finished the first, putting Sweden on its heels and finding the breakthrough goal in the 56th minute.
It came off a corner kick from the left side as Rapinoe whipped in a dangerous in-swinger. Morgan lost her mark in front of the Swedish goalkeeper and the U.S. forward got her head to the ball for her first goal of the year to bring the U.S. level.
The Algarve Cup is being distributed in the United States by Integrated Sports Media
for live viewing on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, Avail-TVN, DIRECTV and DISH for a suggested retail price of only $14.95 per match. Additional same day replays will be available.
Fans can also watch the matches online via Pay-Per-View. For web streaming information go to www.ustream.tv/integratedsportsppv. Fans can also follow the match via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.