Orlando Pride stars were on full display this afternoon as the United States Women’s National Team defeated Scotland, 1-0 at The Simple Digital Arena in Paisley, Scotland. Pride striker Alex Morgan scored the lone goal and helped Ashlyn Harris keep a clean sheet as the team wrapped up its 2018 campaign undefeated (18-0-2).
#USWNT's 2018 win percentage of .950 (18-0-2) is the second-highest in team history for a calendar year (6-0-0 in 1990).— Paul Carr (@PaulCarr) November 13, 2018
Jill Ellis made several changes to the lineup that beat Portugal last week. Megan Rapinoe and Jessica McDonald were replaced up top by Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd. Crystal Dunn moved from midfield to left back, while Emily Fox moved from left back to right back. Alyssa Naeher played the most recent game in Portugal, but Harris earned her 19th cap as she played her first U.S. game since Oct. 7.
Playing in front of its home crowd, Scotland got off to a quick start putting pressure on the U.S. defense. While both teams saw chances in the early stages of the game, the first dangerous opportunity came in the 30th minute. As Erin Cuthbert sent a corner into the mixer, the ball made its way past Harris and appeared to be headed into the net. But Morgan was able to clear it off the line, keeping the game scoreless.
The lone goal of the game came in the 39th minute. Mallory Pugh made her way down the right side of the field and floated a beautiful cross into the box between two defenders. Morgan was able to fend off Scotland’s Lee Alexander to put her foot on it and volley home the eventual game-winning goal — the 98th international goal of her career. She remains seventh on the list of all-time U.S. goal scorers, two behind Tiffany Milbrett.
ALEX MORGAN!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 13, 2018
Morgan scores her 98th international goal and puts the USWNT ahead just before the half. pic.twitter.com/W7dzjWb1hJ
Despite not scoring in the second half, the U.S. nearly doubled its lead on multiple occasions. In the 53rd minute, quick passing by Lloyd and Morgan in the box provided an opportunity on goal for Julie Ertz. Scotland goalkeeper Shannon Lynn dove to her right and made the save, keeping the game at 1-0.
Eight minutes later, Pugh made a run into the box, where she was taken down by Kirsty Smith. The referee pointed to the spot, awarding a penalty for the U.S. Lloyd’s poorly taken kick was high and near the center of goal, which would have made it an easy save for Lynn. Instead, the ball hit the crossbar and went out of play for a Scotland goal kick.
The home team had opportunities to equalize late in the game but some last ditch defending in the box kept the Scots from shooting on target. Harris was called to make her biggest save of the night in the 80th minute when Lana Clelland got through on goal. Her shot was on target but Harris did well to palm the ball away, ensuring the U.S. victory.
The 2018 campaign for the U.S. saw the team go undefeated, win the Concacaf Women’s Championship, and qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Yanks head into 2019 on a nine-game winning streak and with their sights on winning the team’s second consecutive World Cup in France, the fourth overall.
The United States will next take the field in January, with a game on the road against World Cup host France scheduled for Jan. 19.