Sophia Smith dribbles towards the goal in the women's international friendly match against Germany on Nov. 13, 2022 in Harrison, New Jersey.
The U.S. women’s soccer team headed into Sunday’s friendly against Germany riding its first three-game losing streak since 1993.
After losing to European champions England and Spain last month, then falling to world No. 3 Germany last week, the U.S. found itself trailing again less than 20 minutes into Sunday’s game.
Germany’s Jule Brand buried a rebound in the 18th minute to put her team in front.
The top-ranked Americans needed a response in the second half. Enter Sophia Smith. In the 54th minute, the 22-year-old received the ball near the edge of the penalty box and dribbled through three German defenders before slotting it into the top right corner of the net.
That was the team-leading 11th goal for Smith in 2022. She is the youngest player to lead the national team in goals since a 21-year-old Mia Hamm did so in 1993.
The Americans thrived off the momentum of that goal, as Mallory Pugh scored in a one-on-one with the German goalkeeper just 2 minutes, 28 seconds later to put the U.S. ahead 2-1.
The goal was Pugh’s 25th for the U.S. With 27 career assists as well, that goal made her the sixth player in U.S. history to tally 25 goals and 25 assists before turning 25.
Another player on that list is Alex Morgan, who celebrated a milestone of her own on Sunday. The win over Germany marked the 200th appearance of the 33-year-old’s career. Morgan was substituted off in the 83rd minute to an ovation from the more than 26,000 fans in attendance at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
Morgan gave the U.S. life in their loss on Thursday to the Germans at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After Germany’s Klara Bühl put her team up 1-0 in the 52nd minute, Morgan won the ball back after pressing high up the field and delivered a low cross to Megan Rapinoe, who scored her 63rd career goal for the U.S. However, Paulina Krumbiegel scored in the 89th minute to secure a 2-1 win for the Germans.
These were the final two games of 2022 for the Americans. Their next games will be two friendlies in New Zealand – one of the two host nations for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – on Jan. 18 and Jan. 21.