March 11, 2015
JOHNSTON, PRESS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Red Stars score in 2-0 Algarve win over France
FARO, Portugal - The final score should read Chicago Red Stars 2, France 0.
Red Stars Julie Johnston and Christen Press scored first-half goals and the United States avenged an earlier defeat by France with a 2-0 victory at Algarve Stadium to win the Algarve Cup for the 10th time in 14 appearances in the annual international women's tournament.
The scoreline matched France's victory margin when the teams met in France a month earlier.
"It was a very competitive game," said U.S. coach Jill Elllis, who played down the revenge factor. "At this point we're still in preparation for the World Cup and we're taking something from every game."
Hope Solo again stood out in the American goal, stopping seven French shots, including a penalty kick in the game's 81st minute. (French keeper Sarah Biouhaddi was not credited with any saves, which means the USA was badly outshot for one of the few times ever.)
"We had an organized defense which led to our attack," said Solo, who also said that she did not think a penalty should have been awarded on the play in question, "but I was prepared," she added.
Johnston, the NWSL Rookie of the Year in 2014, scored her first international goal off a flicked-on header off a free kick from Lauren Holiday in the seventh minute. Press' 41st-minute goal was much more artistic.
Taking a long pass at midfield, she cleverly dribbled around two French players, a la Maradona vs. England in 1986, then outran three defenders and blasted a low shot past Bouhaddi from 20 yards. it was her 20th international goal.
France had several chances in the second half, but Solo met all challenges.
The penalty came when France's Marie-Laure Delie was spun down by Meghan Klingenberg in the 18-yard box, and was called by Romanian referee Cristina Dorcioman. Sabrina Delannoy stepped to the spot for France, but her weak kick was easily pushed away as Solo dived to her right.
The U.S. now has four games on home soil before heading to Canada for the World Cup, opening with Australia on June 8 in Winnipeg.