The USWNT finally ended their recent losing run with a 2-1 comeback win against Germany in the second of their two-part international friendly series this month. In brief, Germany showed that they belonged — but also that there is still a ways to go.
Golden Girl awardee Jule Brand got the goal-scoring under way with a well-placed first-time shot from near the penalty spot in the 18th minute, and it seemed the questions for USA coach Vlatko Andonovski would only intensify. Full highlights below:
Intensity was the order of the day for the German side, and they kept up their barrage into the second half, in the first ten minutes of which they had two golden opportunities to double their lead. Brand fed Alexandra Popp on an incisive breakaway, but Popp’s pass for a free-running Lina Magull to her left was laid a little too softly, and USA keeper Alyssa Naeher managed to get to it first.
A minute later, Linda Dallmann found her Bayern Munich teammate Magull again in a prime goal-scoring opportunity, but Magull’s first touch proved a touch too heavy, and Naeher collected again. From there, it all fell apart for Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side, and rather quickly.
The United States are in the midst of turning the keys of their attack over to a next generation of players, while Germany — struggling with key defensive absences like Marina Hegering and Giulia Gwinn — are seeing familiar questions about defense pop up again. In any event, the Americans had the decisive upper hand in this bout, revving up just as the Germans began to fade.
First it was Sophia Smith slaloming through four defenders in the box to beat second-half goalkeeper Almuth Schult. Then it was a long ball from Andi Sullivan, first missed by center-back Kathrin Hendrich, and then collected by an enterprising Mallory Pugh right under the nose of right-back Nicole Anyomi.
The USWNT were more likely to get a third, as well; a terrific save from another Pugh shot rebounded to Rose Lavelle, who missed wide, and Pugh pounced again and again with alertness and speed to get behind the German back-line.
After strong critics following their 2-1 loss on Sunday — including from former USA players — the USWNT responded well. Now it’s Germany’s turn: will it be enough to show that they belong, or will the honors even outcome over these two friendlies drive the team on towards greater heights?
Next summer’s World Cup can’t get here soon enough!