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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Man City’s Lavelle leads U.S. to SheBelieves win

The United States women struggled to score in a 1-0 win over Canada in the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday night in Orlando, Florida, with substitute Rose Lavelle netting the winner late in the second half.

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Megan Rapinoe was back in the U.S. lineup and despite her team having the better of the opening 45 minutes, a resilient Canada kept the reigning World Cup champions at bay in a scoreless first half.

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Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan left with an injury in the 11th minute and was replaced by Stephanie Labbe, who made six saves.

Carli Lloyd, who had a first-half header on goal tipped over the crossbar, had a great chance to open the scoring after the break but scuffed her shot from 12 yards out with only Labbe to beat.

Canada then wasted two glorious chances to take a surprise lead over the U.S., with Nichelle Prince having a shot blocked from very close range before Alyssa Naeher stopped another wide-open shot from Janine Beckie.

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U.S. manager Vlatko Andonovski made three changes shortly after the hour mark, bringing on Christen Press, Alex Morgan and Lavelle.

The hosts ramped up the pressure noticeably after the three changes and saw another great chance come up short on 76 minutes when Lindsay Horan clattered a volley off the crossbar from Julie Ertz’s cross.

Lavelle finally found the back of the net for the U.S. in the 79th minute, slashing home a shot from outside the six-yard box after a poor Canada clearance fell right to her feet.

The U.S. women are back in action on Sunday at noon ET with a match against Brazil, who beat Argentina handily in its first match of the Cup. Brazil leads the group standings on goal difference thanks to its 4-1 win earlier on Thursday.

The result means the Americans haven’t lost in 35 games, including 14 straight wins since Andonovski took over in 2019.

It was Bev Priestman’s first match as coach of the eighth-ranked Canadians as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The United States will be seeking its fifth gold medal in seven Olympic tournaments.

Canada’s last victory over the Americans was back in 2001. The United States improved its record in the series to 51-3-7.

This is the sixth edition of the SheBelieves Cup.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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