On Wednesday, the USWNT left Frisco, Texas with their sixth SheBelieves Cup trophy and a 2-1 victory over Brazil. Fireworks lit up the sky, Crystal Dunn danced on stage with the trophy and Rose Lavelle indulged in a box of Cheez-Its while her teammates took swigs of Bud Light. There was much to celebrate.
For Mallory Swanson, the 2023 dream rolled on. Her 63rd minute goal was her fourth of the tournament making her the obvious choice for tournament MVP. With three consistently dominant performances under her belt, she was certainly the player most deserving of those celebratory Bud Lights.
Alex Morgan did her daughter proud, scoring her 14th goal since becoming a mother (a new USWNT record). After an earlier goal was called back due to a questionable offside call, Morgan made it clear she would not be denied and bent home a left-footed shot that could not be contested. Unsurprisingly, she walked away with Woman of the Match honors.
To top it all off, the USWNT added another piece of hardware to their collection and boosted morale ahead of the World Cup.
The USWNT can’t rely solely on the front line
The front line delivers. That much is clear. Add a healthy Sophia Smith back to the mix and magic will inevitably be produced.
To the team’s credit as a whole, in order to take home the SheBelieves Cup trophy, they bested Canada, Japan and Brazil, none of whom are pushover opponents.
Brazil relies heavily on Kansas City Current striker Debinha and, of course, on the woman synonymous with Brazilian soccer, Marta. But Debinha underperformed and Marta was given limited minutes as she makes her return post-ACL tear, and yet the USWNT still managed to give away a goal in the waning minutes and keep the game stressfully interesting.
I have to believe Brazil at their best would have punished a sloppy US backline and midfield that gave up far too many balls to the high-pressing Brazilian attackers in positions that should have been dangerous.
At the end of the day, a win is a win and a trophy is a trophy and the USWNT continues to roll along steadily towards the World Cup, sorting out their kinks along the way.