USWNT see off Brazil to begin their comeback year with Concacaf W Gold Cup title

The United States women’s national team are champions. In the team’s first major tournament since the 2023 Women’s World Cup disappointment, the USWNT proved they’re the best team in the Americas defeating Brazil 1-0 on Sunday in the Concacaf W Gold Cup final.

Lindsey Horan scored the game’s lone goal in a battle between the top teams of North and South America.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair with both sides enjoying spells of possession. While the USWNT somewhat struggled to build attacks they created several chances with the high press forcing Brazil to give up the ball in dangerous areas.

The breakthrough came on the stroke of halftime as Trinity Rodman was found in acres of space down the right side. She wisely held up the ball and dumped it off to Emily Fox who sent in a dangerous cross which Horan rose highest for.

Horan goal vs Brazil

This was Horan’s third goal of the tournament and her first non-penalty goal.

The USWNT only created a few quality chances against a Brazil defense that only allowed one goal in the tournament prior to the final. Interim USWNT head coach Twila Kilgore made the bold decision to bench Jaedyn Shaw who was the team’s top goal scorer at the tournament.

Kilgore decided to go with experience rather than form benching Shaw and rising star Jenna Nighswonger. Rose Lavelle filled in at left wing for Shaw while Crystal Dunn took Nighswonger’s position at left back.

The decision didn’t really pay off or backfire. Lavelle was hooked at halftime for Lynn Williams and Dunn had an alright performance.

Brazil pushed for an equalizer in the second half but never troubled Alyssa Naeher who had an easier day in goal than she likely anticipated.

Two areas the USWNT excelled in were the midfield and defense. Tierna Davidson and Naomi Girma anchored the back line and didn’t allow Brazil a single shot on target. Emily Fox was superb at right back, provided the game-winning assist and dazzled with several dizzying runs forward.

Meanwhile the duo of Korbin Albert and Sam Coffey again proved useful in the midfield. Albert and Coffey started every knockout game together and have bossed the midfield. Albert was still pressing the Brazil defense in the final minutes as the clock neared 90.

The midfield trio of Albert, Coffey and Horan as the No. 10 has prevailed as a positive takeaway from this Gold Cup.

The Concacaf W Gold Cup victory is a metaphorical exhale for the USWNT. After the devastating World Cup Round of 16 defeat to Sweden and a shocking 2-0 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup group stage, this title proves the national team is just fine and still one of the world’s best.

The USWNT will enjoy this trophy but will have one eye on next month’s SheBelieves Cup which will feature three top teams in Japan, Canada and Brazil. 

Only 18 players will make the cut for the 2024 Paris Olympics and incoming head coach Emma Hayes arrives in June. The Concacaf W Gold Cup is just the beginning of the USWNT’s comeback year.

USWNT vs Brazil full highlights

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