The United States Women’s National team faced a fierce match against Germany to open the SheBelieves Cup. Mother Nature did no favors for either team, throwing high winds, snow, sleet and rain at the players on the pitch.
The inclement weather added some thrills and spills to the action. Germany set the tone early as forward Sara Däbritz terrorized the U.S. backline. The German striker peppered the American goal and challenged goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher early, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
U.S. head coach Jill Ellis made a tactical shift to counter Däbritz, dropping midfielder Julie Ertz deeper to shield the Yanks’ backline. The move worked and Germany’s offensive production began to slow in the first half.
Megan Rapinoe gave the United States the lead in the 17th minute, beating German goalkeeper Almuth Schult between the legs to give the U.S. a 1-0 advantage. The American defense held steady, taking the advantage into the locker room at halftime.
U.S. forward Alex Morgan began the second half quickly, driving the ball down the throat of the German defense for a quick shot on goal. The striker drew the German keeper Schult off her line, which left an empty net for the Americans to strike. Nothing came of the U.S.’s opportunity, but that exchange set the tone for the half.
As the physicality amped up on the pitch, so did the weather with rain whipping and transitioning into snow.
Frustration grew for Germany and head coach Steffi Jones as they couldn’t solve the American defense. Defenders Abby Dahlkemper and Tierna Davidson were able to contain the German attack and limit any significant opportunities.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had a quiet night at the back, making just three saves in route to a clean sheet for the United States.
The American begin the SheBelieves Cup with a 1-0 victory and will face France in New Jersey on Sunday afternoon.