Blame it on the weather. Why not?
Neither offense was sharp. (Frozen toes can do that to footballers.)
For the most part, the Americans moved the ball well, except where it counted most: in the final third. They failed repeatedly to complete the last pass or to finish when scoring opportunities presented themselves. They took 14 shots, and only two were on goal.
The back line of Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn (all three played all 90 minutes) for the most part stifled the English attack — that is, until Ellen White slipped through in the 89th minute to cherry-pick the rebound off a shot by Lucy Bronze that hit the crossbar.
In the tournament’s other game Saturday, France and Germany played to a scoreless draw. I guess we can blame that on the weather, too.
The SheBelieves Cup concludes Tuesday (March 7), when England plays Germany and the United States plays France at RFK Stadium in Washington. Team USA’s game, at 6 pm CT, is on FS1.
Unless I’m wrong — and that’s possible — everyone but Germany still has a chance to win this thing.
Here are five oddities, curiosities, or (possibly) interesting facts about the USA-England game and its participants:
At kickoff (5 p.m. ET), it was 29 degrees in Harrison, with wind gusts of up to 33 mph. With the wind chill, it felt like 15. Once the sun went down, the cold got worse; by 7 p.m., it was 24 degrees, and the wind chill made it feel like 8.
The loss was the Americans’ first on home soil since Dec. 16, 2015, when China beat them 1-0 in New Orleans. And, as Graham Hays notes on ESPNW, on that night the U.S. team “was less interested in playing China than in trying to get Abby Wambach a goal in her final appearance.”
Before that, Team USA had a 104-game unbeaten streak at home, stretching back to Nov. 6, 2004.
With an eye toward the 2019 World Cup, Jill Ellis continues to experiment with different lineups and to audition young players. Only four starters were also in the starting lineup against Germany three days earlier.
One of the new starters was Rose Lavelle, the All-American midfielder from Wisconsin. The 21-year-old earned her first cap, played all 90 minutes, and would have scored in the 19th minute if not for a gritty save by England’s goalkeeper, Siobhan Chamberlain.
Playing mostly on the left flank — she’s normally an attacking center mid, but that’s Carli Lloyd’s position — Lavelle found her way around or through England’s back line time and again. She played with calm and intelligence.
“She was fantastic,” Jill Ellis said.
Lavelle was the first player chosen (by the Boston Breakers) in this year’s National Women’s Soccer League draft.
Eight members of the English national team — and six of Saturday’s starters — play for Manchester City, the club that has signed Carli Lloyd.