July 12th, 2024

U.S. beats Brazil 1-0 in Women’s Gold Cup title game

By The Associated Press on March 10, 2024.

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Lindsey Horan scored on a header in first-half stoppage time and the United States went on to beat Brazil 1-0 on Sunday to win the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup.

The United States lifted the trophy despite being stunned by a loss to Mexico in the group stage of the tournament. It was the first women’s Gold Cup, created to bring teams in the region more meaningful competition.

“It was a difficult game. Brazil challenged us in a different way,” Horan said. “I’m really, really proud of us finding a way to get a goal and finishing out the game and getting a trophy.”

It was the fourth time that the U.S. faced Brazil in a tournament final. The Americans also won the previous three, including the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

The game drew a sellout crowd of 31,528 to San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium, a record crowd for a CONCACAF women’s match.

Horan scored just moments into stoppage time with a header off a well-placed lofted pass from Emily Fox. It was Horan’s third goal of the tournament, her earlier goals were from the penalty spot.

Lynn Williams nearly scored a second for the U.S. in the 79th minute but the play was offside. Casey Krueger headed out a dangerous Brazilian cross in the final moments.

Brazil outshot the U.S. 12-7 and at times appeared the more dominant team.

“It’s not always pretty, and this was a game that we just grinded through,” defender Crystal Dunn said. “We got the job done and that’s the most important.”

The United States was upset in the group stage of the tournament by a 2-0 loss to Mexico – just the second loss in the 43-game series.

The Americans rebounded with a 3-0 win over Colombia in the quarterfinals, before advancing to the final on penalties after a rain-soaked 2-2 draw with Canada in the semifinals.

“That was a crazy tournament, but finished strong,” forward Alex Morgan said. “That’s what mattered. So many players coming up big time.”

Brazil, which was one of four CONMEBOL teams in the tournament, had won each of its five matches in the tournament, including a 3-0 victory over Mexico in the semifinals, scoring 15 goals.

The Brazilians allowed just two total goals in the team’s first competitive tournament under coach Arthur Elias, who took over for Pia Sundhage after Brazil failed to get out of the group stage at summer’s Women’s World Cup.

“The American players are very strong physically speaking and I believe that we had a great performance during the game,” Elias said through a translator after the match. “We had chances to score goals today. The U.S. had some strengths that we were able to stop, but they were very well prepared as well to play our team today.”

Likewise, the U.S. was playing its first tournament under interim coach Twila Kilgore, who assumed her role after the U.S. parted ways with coach Vlatko Andonovski following the team’s early exit from the World Cup.

The U.S. hired Emma Hayes as the team’s coach, but she is concluding the season with Chelsea in the Women’s Super League.

“I’m just so happy for the team,” Kilgore said. “This is a team and a program that will always have attention and expectations on it. We always say that pressure is a privilege and it is, but it’s another thing to walk the walk.”

Both Brazil and the U.S. have qualified for this summer’s Olympics in France.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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