October 4, 2023

By ANNE M. PETERSON | AP Sports activities Author

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — A purpose publish saved america from elimination on the Girls’s World Cup.

Ana Capeta practically scored for Portugal in stoppage time however her shot hit the left publish and america escaped with an uninspiring scoreless draw Tuesday night time that obtained them by – simply barely – to the knockout spherical.

The U.S. gained just one sport in group play for the primary time in match historical past, scoring simply 4 objectives over three video games. With the scoreless draw, the top-ranked United States fell to second within the group behind the Netherlands and can head to Melbourne, Australia, for a Spherical of 16 match on Sunday towards the Group G winner, probably third-ranked Sweden.

“We should always have put some at the back of the web and we didn’t. We personal that,” Alex Morgan mentioned. “We’re not proud of the efficiency we put on the market. However on the identical time, we’re transferring on.”

The People, probably the most profitable staff ever on the World Cup with 4 titles, have by no means been eradicated within the match’s group stage. However they seemed shaky towards the Portuguese, who have been taking part in of their first World Cup.

“Clearly we need to play nice and rating numerous objectives, and we didn’t do this. We all know that it may be higher, and must be higher, transferring ahead,” mentioned Megan Rapinoe, who got here into the match within the second half instead. “However finally, we’re on to the subsequent spherical.”

The Portuguese gamers sobbed on the sphere after the ultimate whistle after having come oh-so-so near upsetting the mighty United States. Capeta’s shot about two minutes into stoppage time seemed so good that her coaches began celebrating and the gamers on the bench jumped to their ft.

“I really believed that the purpose can be in that second and I used to be beginning to suppose, ‘What can I do to assist my gamers if we’re successful 1-0?’” Portugal coach Francisco Neto mentioned. “What I mentioned to the women, I used to be very proud. In fact, they’re very unhappy as a result of we have now large expectations of ourselves.”

Lynn Williams, who began for the U.S. for the primary time within the match, had an opportunity on a header within the 14th minute however Portugal goalkeeper Ines Pereira smothered it. Whereas the U.S. managed possession and had the higher possibilities, the staff couldn’t end and the sport was scoreless on the break.

Rose Lavelle picked up a yellow card within the thirty eighth minute, her second of the group stage, and she or he gained’t be out there for the staff’s Spherical of 16 match.

The frustration of the U.S. followers at Eden Park was evident at halftime, when there have been scattered boos among the many crowd because the groups headed for the tunnel. Early within the second half, a fireplace alarm went off within the stadium nevertheless it turned out to be a malfunctioning sprinkler.

The US had a free kick from a harmful spot within the 57th minute, however Morgan’s header popped up nicely over the purpose. She put her palms to her face in exasperation.

“We simply want a little bit little bit of ruthlessness in entrance of the web,” Lavelle mentioned. “We’re getting the possibilities, nevertheless it’s that closing little bit of ruthlessness of simply placing it away.”

Rapinoe got here in as a sub within the 61st minute, however the Golden Boot winner on the 2019 World Cup couldn’t discover that elusive purpose.

U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski tweaked his beginning lineup for the match and began each Williams and Lavelle for the primary time at this World Cup. He had began Trinity Rodman at ahead and Savannah DeMelo within the midfield for the staff’s first two video games.

Lavelle boosted the staff when she got here in at halftime towards the Netherlands on Thursday (Wednesday night time PT) in Wellington when a lackluster opening half despatched the People into the break trailing the Dutch, 1-0. Lavelle’s nook kick to Lindsey Horan gave the People a 1-1 draw within the match.

However the vitality simply wasn’t there towards Portugal and the People appeared misplaced and unorganized for many of the match. In a post-game huddle, defender Kelley O’Hara, one of many veterans, shouted at her teammates.

“I simply informed the staff ‘Hear, we did what we needed to do, we’re transferring on, the group stage is completed, that is over, it’s within the rearview, we have now our subsequent sport in entrance of us and that’s the one one which issues,’” O’Hara mentioned. “Perhaps we didn’t do it the best way we wished to or deliberate on doing it, however we’re advancing and that is the World Cup and that’s all that issues.”