Last year’s SheBelieves Cup saw England snatch the trophy from the U.S. women’s soccer team. The Americans took the first step in ensuring that doesn’t happen this year.
The teams opened this year’s tournament on Thursday, and Christen Press and Carli Lloyd scored second-half goals to lift the U.S. to a 2-0 victory as their pre-Olympic preparation began in earnest in Orlando, Florida.
The U.S. now has an unbeaten streak of 29 games.
Thursday’s match marked the first meeting between the two teams since their memorable battle in the semifinals of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Five of the last six matches between the U.S. and England had been decided by one goal, with the exception being a 2-2 tie in last year’s SheBelieves Cup, and Thursday’s game started off with the two locked in a defensive battle.
After coming out of the break with the game still scoreless, however, it didn’t take very long for Press to get her team on the board. Press started in the World Cup semifinal game that the U.S. won 2-1 and scored on a header in the 10th minute of that contest. On Thursday, she curled a shot to the top right of the net for a highlight-reel goal in the 53rd minute.
Lloyd had an assist on the goal, and it took her barely any time at all to make it 2-0 by chipping in a shot two minutes later.
Julie Ertz, who earned her 100th cap, also put the ball in the back of the net before the second half was over but was offside. She is the 40th U.S. women’s player to reach 100 caps.
The U.S. is now 12-4-2 all-time against England.
This is the fifth year of the SheBelieves Cup, with the U.S. winning in 2016 and 2018. In 2019, the U.S. finished second and in 2018 it was fourth. The competition continues on Sunday with the U.S. playing Spain and wraps up next Wednesday with a match against Japan.
U.S. soccer officials announced prior to the tournament that they were putting measures in place to protect players and fans amidst coronavirus fears. Officials were assured that all players and team staff were medically cleared to travel and have encouraged players to exchange fist bumps instead of high fives.