New England Soccer Today

All’s Well That Ends Well

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Megan Rapinoe opened and closed the scoring as the United States overcame a nervy first half to secure a 3-1 win over Australia in their group stage opener on Monday at Winnipeg Stadium in Winnipeg, Canada.

After absorbing heavy pressure from a plucky and determined Australian side, Rapinoe blasted a shot that deflected off a defender and fell into the back of the net in the 12th minute. The Matildas’ high-energy approach didn’t go for naught, as former Boston Breakers striker Lisa De Vanna put it past Hope Solo, who made two critical saves early, to level it in the 27th minute.

But the U.S. showed its strength and skill in the second half. With Australia losing its form, the Americans grabbed the go-ahead in the 61st minute when another former Breakers player – Sydney Leroux – raced toward the box, and cut it inside for Christen Press, who slotted it through.

Rapinoe, an attacking catalyst during her 87 minutes on the pitch, capped her evening by scoring on a low drive in the 78th minute.

With the win, the U.S. are at the top of Group D with a 1-0-0 record.

The game could’ve changed when…Emily van Egmond’s blast forced a remarkable save from Solo in the fifth minute to keep Australia from seizing an early lead. Had her shot found the back of the net, it could have allowed the Matildas to hold the lead at halftime, and perhaps, hang on for the result.

Critical moment: No question the game’s dynamic changed when Press scored the go ahead in the 61st minute. With the Australians hoping to stay afloat after expending much of their energy in the first half, the U.S. striker’s goal proved to be the dagger, and the U.S. never looked back.

Next up for U.S.: Fifth-ranked Sweden on Friday at Winnipeg Stadium; Winnipeg, Canada.  Kickoff is set for 8pm ET, and will be broadcast on FOX.

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