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women's soccer | United States 2, Brazil 0

Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe score to lift United States women’s soccer team over Brazil in SheBelieves Cup

Christen Press (right) is congratulated by her teammates after scoring in the United States' win over Brazil in the SheBelieves Cup.
Christen Press (right) is congratulated by her teammates after scoring in the United States' win over Brazil in the SheBelieves Cup.GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images

ORLANDO, Fla. — Christen Press scored in the 11th minute, Megan Rapinoe added a late goal, and the United States women’s soccer team beat Brazil, 2-0, in the SheBelieves Cup on Sunday.

The Americans sit atop the SheBelieves Cup standings with two wins. Canada beat Argentina, 1-0, later Sunday in the round-robin tournament.

The United States, winner of the last two World Cups, is now unbeaten in 36 straight games overall and 52 straight at home.

“One thing that I’ve learned playing on the US women’s national team is that you have to prepare for every single game as if it’s the most important game of your life,” Press said. “So that’s kind of the approach I take.”

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The Americans have won five straight over Brazil and are unbeaten in the last seven matches. The team is 20-0-2 against Brazil on American soil.

“I am disappointed in the start of the game, of course. We conceded a goal. But not only a goal, the way we played our attack in the first 20 minutes,” Brazil coach Pia Sundhage said. “That’s room for improvement, for sure. But then the second half, and the fact that we created fairly many chances, I’m happy with that.”

Press took a pass from Lindsey Horan and rushed forward, fooling a defender before a powerful strike to the far corner of the net. It was Press’s 10th goal in her last 13 national team games and 59th international goal.

Christen Press controls a ball in front of Brazil defender Bruna during the second half of Sunday's match.
Christen Press controls a ball in front of Brazil defender Bruna during the second half of Sunday's match.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

“Lindsey played me a great ball in on a diagonal, so that I wasn’t in a crossing situation, I was actually able to cut in and open up the angle of the goal,” Press said. “And that’s what I want to do, it’s my signature shot and my signature style so it was great to see it go in the back of the net.”

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Moments later, Crystal Dunn’s sliding tackle prevented Debinha on the breakaway. Brazil had a good chance in the 82nd minute when Marta found Debinha in the box, but the shot went just wide.

It was the 10th straight shutout for US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

Alex Morgan made her first start for the national team since giving birth to daughter Charlie last year. Morgan and Press were subbed out in the 71st minute and replaced with Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd.

Horan served the ball into the box for Rapinoe, who scored in the 88th minute. After she scored, Rapinoe made a baby-rocking gesture in honor of teammates Ali Krieger and Ashlynn Harris, who recently adopted daughter Sloane.

“I’m very happy that we’re creating chances and the fact that we’re doing it in a manner that is very creative with some good plays makes me very happy and tells me that we’re moving in the right direction,” US coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Now the fact that we’re not finishing, it’s not disappointing, but it’s something we need to address.”

Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half of Sunday's match.
Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half of Sunday's match.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Sundhage, who coached the US from 2008-12, took Brazil over last summer and has an 8-2-3 record.

The US beat Canada, 1-0, in its SheBelieves Cup opener on Thursday, while Brazil defeated rival Argentina, 4-1. Brazil is making its second appearance in the tournament, now in its sixth year.

For the first time this year, all of the US players stood for the national anthem before the game.

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“I think those that were collectively kneeling felt like we were kneeling to bring about attention to police brutality and systemic racism,” Dunn said. “Moving forward, we decided we no longer feel the need to kneel because we are doing the work behind the scenes. We are combating systemic racism. We never felt we were going to kneel forever.”