(Top to bottom) Mallory Pugh congratulates teammate Alex Morgan after she scores the opening goal at the women's international friendly match between Scotland and United States on Nov.13, 2018 in Paisley, Scotland.
If 2019 is anything like 2018 was for the U.S. women’s soccer team, the rest of the world might not even bother showing up in France for next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Americans capped off an unbeaten year Tuesday night in Glasgow, Scotland, with Alex Morgan’s 98th international goal representing enough offense to see off Scotland 1-0. The U.S. finished 18-0-2 in 2018, extending its overall unbeaten streak to 28 games going back to a 1-0 loss to Australia in the 2017 Tournament of Nations. Team USA also kept alive a shutout streak that goes back to Aug. 2.
Chances were at a premium in Glasgow, with Morgan’s 39th-minute strike being the only shot on frame for the U.S. in the first half. Mallory Pugh played a beautiful cross from the right flank that seemed laser-guided for Morgan’s right foot. Somehow unmarked, Morgan met the ball at the center of the box and hammered it home on the volley.
Pugh then had a hand in nearly doubling the U.S. lead, winning a foul in the box in the 61st minute that resulted in a penalty. Needing two goals to tie Michelle Akers for fourth on the U.S. all-time list, Carli Lloyd stepped up to the spot. But her attempt rang the bar and kept it a 1-0 game.
The U.S. contained Scotland for the remaining half hour to preserve the result. U.S. keeper Ashlyn Harris made two saves in the shutout.
After winning the 2018 Tournament of Nations and 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship to qualify for France, the World Cup is the next big tournament on the U.S. radar. The Americans will be seeking to defend their 2015 title and win their fourth world title overall.