Alyssa Naeher penalty shoot-out heroics wins SheBelieves Cup for USWNT

The U.S. women’s national team were crowned the 2024 SheBelieves Cup champions after defeating Canada in Columbus on Tuesday.

After facing off against Canada in the W Gold Cup semifinals last March and  defeating The Maples through penalties, both national teams were to meet once again in hopes of winning a trophy.

The first occasion of the game came minutes before the end of the first half, with a surprising error from veteran American goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher leading the way for Canada’s opener.

The USWNT keeper came out of her box, causing a rebound that left Adriana Leon a clear shot on goal without a set of hands to stop it.

It wasn’t until the start of the second half when a beautiful body feint from Sophia Smith, followed by a long-range shot from outside the box, hit Canada’s net to set the equalizer.

18 minutes later, an amazing sequence from the Americans from their own half ended in yet another great Smith goal to double her night’s tally and seal the USWNT’s comeback.

It was all sunshine and rainbows for the Stars and Stripes.

However, and similarly to their semifinal clash last March, Canada were awarded a penalty in the closing minutes of the game and did not pass up on the opportunity to put everything level once again. Adriana Leon also sealed her brace.

This result (again, like in March) sent the game to a penalty shoot-out.

The penalty shoot-out saw multiple misses from the spot but with the USWNT’s Gold Cup superhero coming up big once again.

Alyssa Naeher made a total of three saves in the shoot-out, haunting Canada once again in the search for a title and leading the U.S. to victory. Emily Fox scored the winning penalty.

This is the USWNT's seventh SheBelieves Cup title and fifth tournament conquest in-a-row.

This win marks the end of Twila Kilgore’s era as USWNT interim manager, with soon-to-be head coach Emma Hayes taking over at the seat in June.

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