Christen Press and Carli Lloyd scored second-half goals three minutes apart as the United States Women’s National Team opened play in the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Florida, with a 2-0 victory over England on Thursday night.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher needed just three saves to earn the shutout behind a solid U.S. defense that limited England’s scoring chances. The U.S. had a 23-8 advantage in shots and 6-3 in shots on target.
The U.S., which already has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, is now 12-4-2 all-time against England. The U.S. defeated England 2-1 in last year’s World Cup semifinal, while the teams played to a 2-2 tie in last year’s SheBelieves Cup.
The victory came in Julie Ertz’s 100th appearance with the U.S. Ertz appeared to score in the 79th minute but she was ruled offsides on the play. Megan Rapinoe did not start because of a nagging leg injury, but came on in the 62nd minute as a substitute.
The U.S. had a number of scoring chances in the first half but did not convert as the teams took a scoreless tie into the break. The host team led 11-5 on shots in the first half and 4-2 in shots on target.
The U.S. finally broke through in the 53rd minute when Press delivered from outside of the penalty area. Lloyd fed a pass to Press, who turned and sent a spectacular bending right-footed shot into the upper corner past England goalkeeper Carly Telford.
Lloyd got her chance to score in the 56th minute off a pass from Lindsey Horan. The short chip from Horan found Lloyd near the penalty spot and two quick touches led to a left-footed score.
While Press delivered her 56th career goal for the United States in her 136th game, Lloyd scored her 123rd career goal in her 292nd appearance for the national team. Lloyd is closing in on becoming just the third player to reach 300 games with the U.S. women.
The four-team tournament, being held in Orlando, Newark, New Jersey, and Frisco, Texas, also includes Spain and Japan. The round-robin tournament will continue Saturday and conclude Tuesday. England is the defending champion of the annual tournament, which is now in its fourth year.
The game was the second half of a doubleheader at Orlando. Spain defeated Japan 3-1 in the opening game earlier Friday.