December 21, 2014
WHEN 0-0 EQUALS A LOSS
Tie gives Brazil tournament title over USA
BRASILIA, Brazil – Playing in steady rain on a saturated pitch, the U.S. Women’s National Team tied Brazil 0-0 in the championship match of the 2014 International Tournament of Brasilia, but Brazil accumulated more points than the USA during the group stage (nine points-to-four), Brazil was awarded the tournament title.
The match marked just the second time the USA and Brazil have played to a scoreless draw in their history. The previous occasion was on June 27, 2000, in Foxborough, Mass.
In the USA’s final match of 2014, played in Mane Garrincha Stadium before an announced 11,000, its two best scoring chances came in the second half. The first came off a 59th-minute cross from Tobin Heath on the left wing. She picked out Abby Wambach, who was making a run to the far post, but the pass was just a bit too high and the 5-11 striker sent her header just outside the upper right corner of the goal.
In the 86th minute, a Becky Sauerbrunn header off of a Megan Rapinoe corner kick was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Luciana and Brazil fended off the USA’s late attack to secure the draw.
The USA did put the ball in the net in extra time when Carli Lloyd finished into the lower left corner from close range, but the goal was waved away for offside. After Heather O’Reilly played a cross in from the left side, the ball was headed in the air by Morgan Brian. Amy Rodriguez was in an offside position on the header, but did not touch the ball, which bounced off a Brazilian defender straight to Lloyd, who slotted home.
Brazil had the better overall possession in the match, but its scoring chances were few. Brazil’s best chance came in the 38th minute off of a Marta corner kick from the right side. Monica, who did not play against the USA in the teams’ previous tournament match, rose from eight yards out and headed the ball just wide left of the frame.
In the third-place game, China PR and Argentina played to a scoreless draw. With more points in group play, China was awarded third place.
The USA wrapped up its 2014 schedule with a 16-3-5 record, 16-1-5 under head coach Jill Ellis. Lloyd ended 2014 as the U.S. WNT’s leader with 15 goals and eight assists. Wambach was second with 14 goals and Rapinoe was second in assists with seven.