clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 SheBelieves Cup Round 1 Photo Gallery

An album of images from two exciting international matches at Exploria Stadium.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

After Japan and Brazil provided the appetizer, the United States Women’s National Team took to the Exploria Stadium pitch Thursday night for a showdown with rival Canada in the first round of the 2023 SheBelieves Cup. The event has stopped regularly at Exploria Stadium over the years since its inception and Thursday’s play opened the 2023 rendition of the competition.

Japan and Brazil played to a stalemate until Orlando Pride forward Marta entered the match just past the halfway mark in the second half. It was her first match appearance since undergoing knee surgery in spring of 2022 and it took her only a few minutes to make an impact. She threaded a perfect pass through the Japanese defense from the left that allowed teammate Debinha to make an easy finish. It turned out to be the only score of the game as the Brazilians took the opener, 1-0. Pride forward Adriana played the first half on the wing and the second half as a deep-lying midfielder in her first game at Exploria Stadium since being signed by the home team.

Prior to the second game, former Pride forward Alex Morgan was honored for earning 200 career international caps. The USWNT then joined Canada in a show of solidarity at midfield. The Canadian women had a difficult week as they face a battle for fair treatment from their federation. A potential strike loomed over the event earlier in the week, but Ontario labor laws prohibited that from happening due to a lack of adequate notice before the match.

After the nightcap kicked off, the United States jumped on Canada early with intense pressure and a couple of strikes from Mallory Swanson. The Yanks nearly gave one back late in the half but saw out the opening period with a two-goal lead. There were opportunities to extend the lead in the second half but the U.S. attackers were wasteful — particularly substitute Ashley Hatch, who had two excellent opportunities to make it three. Hatch has rarely missed an opportunity to score at Exploria Stadium before, so it was a little strange to see her waste two high-percentage chances.

In the end, the USWNT held on for a 2-0 win to maintain its perfect record at Exploria Stadium. By virtue of a better goal differential, the U.S. headed to Round 2 in Nashville atop the competition’s standings.

We hope you enjoy these images from an exciting night of international soccer in the City Beautiful.

Images: Dan MacDonald
Words: Michael Citro