Though the match was abandoned due to inclement weather, the USWNT still shined brightly on the international stage against strong opposition in a 2-0 win over Japan. In what was a less fiery meeting than the game a few days ago, the U.S. showed its ability to dominate the game through intelligent passing and possession.
Japan had a few sniffs at goal but never actually looked to worry Hope Solo and the back line as the storied keeper kept her 99th U.S. clean sheet. All of Jill Ellis' players looked to disrupt a solid Japan side, dominating possession and chances.
Today's lineup gave Jill Ellis some different looks, as Allie Long, a pro with only eight caps for the U.S., gave the team some much needed defensive stability.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) June 5, 2016
As opposed to the first half of Thursday's game, the Stars & Stripes improved upon the defensive lapses and looked to pass out of the Japanese press. Long had a strong game by giving the U.S. the ability to pass out of the back. She was an excellent outlet for the defenders and also did a great job of breaking up Japanese play when not on the ball.
Though the USWNT didn't create a plethora of chances in the first half, the Yanks improved massively from a defensive standpoint and eventually made the most of their chances at the other end. Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, and Crystal Dunn all shined under the Ohio sun -- until rain and lightning moved into the area halting the game in the 76th minute -- as they tore the Japanese back line apart.
Julie Johnston, the leader of the Americans' impregnable defense, also had her day at the other end of the pitch as she benefited from a missed offside call in the 27th minute, opening the scoring with the first half's only goal.
The USWNT came out fast and fierce after the break, jumping on a Japan side that was struggling to cope with their pace, width, and physicality. Morgan had an opportunity to double the lead early in the second period.
Yamane with the save. Second half underway. pic.twitter.com/XVK7FYYbzn— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) June 5, 2016
The U.S. then continued to build on its dominating performance over Japan as Dunn linked up well with Orlando Pride captain Morgan for her 67th international goal. Morgan slotted away a clean finish in the 62nd minute from an excellent cross from Dunn for her 11th goal in 2016 -- the most by anyone on the USWNT.
About halfway into the second 45, the game was called due to inclement weather, but the result had been decided long before that. The U.S. was dominating and only looked to be getting started in terms of scoring. It was an excellent performance that will help the team down the road in the Rio Olympics.
The U.S. will return to action in Chicago on July 9 at Chicago's Soldier Field against South Africa.