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Alyssa Naeher makes 3 saves in shootout as USA beats Canada to win SheBelieves Cup title

Alyssa Naeher makes 3 saves in shootout as USA beats Canada to win SheBelieves Cup title

Columbus, Ohio – Alyssa Naeher made three penalty kick saves and converted her effort to lead the United States past Canada on Tuesday night in the SheBelieves Cup final, the Americans' fifth straight title in the event.

The United States won the penalty shootout 5-4 after the two teams tied 2-2 in regulation. Emily Fox scored the decisive goal in the seventh round of penalties after Naher stopped Evelyn Viens.

Sophia Smith scored both goals for the United States. She tied the game for the first time at 1-all in the 50th minute. Her second goal put the Americans ahead 2-1 in the 68th minute after a cross from Trinity Rodman, who had been substituted just minutes earlier.

Adriana Leon scored two goals for Canada. They went 1-0 up in the 40th minute, then tied it at 2-all when they scored a penalty kick in the 86th minute.

The USA leads the all-time series with Canada 54-4-8. The previous meeting was held last month in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the Americans qualified for the final on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Naher also made three saves and scored a penalty kick in that match.

“It's incredible to watch her and be here live, knowing how prepared she is. I mean, she's prepared for every fire she might face,” said interim American coach Twyla Kilgore.

The SheBelieves Cup games were the team's last under Kilgore. Emma Hayes is set to take over For the next two matches on the opposition schedule against South Korea in June. Kilgore will remain on Hayes' staff.

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Kilgore led the team to a 10-1-3 record after taking over for Vlatko Andonovski, who departed after the United States was eliminated in the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup last summer.

“I think this team needed to regroup a little bit and focus on the things that we felt would get us ready (for the Olympics) and get back to who we really are, get back to our DNA and also make sure we're evolving,” Kilgore said. “This team really wanted to develop. Everything you see on the field is due to the players.”

Canada's opening SheBelieves Cup match against Brazil also ended in a penalty shootout.

“In shootouts, we have a comprehensive process,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said. “At the end of the day, when the stadium is full cheering for the goalkeeper you're up against, nerves can be affected no matter what the staff says or does in training.”

Mallory Swanson, who started the USA's 2-1 win over Japan in the SheBelieves opener on Saturday, came on as a substitute to start the second half. Swanson was sidelined for a year after that Her patellar tendon injury During a display against Ireland last year. The injury kept her out of the World Cup.

Naomi Girma did not play after being substituted in the first half of the opener due to an apparent thigh injury.

Corbyn Albert made her second consecutive appearance as a substitute After the controversy On previous social media posts. The 20-year-old, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, reposted anti-LGBTQ+ content on her TikTok account. She apologized when the posts appeared.

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Brazil finished third, beating Japan 3-0 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the previous match at Lower.com Field. Goalkeeper Lorena saved all three of Japan's penalty kick attempts.

All four teams that played in the SheBelieves Cup have qualified for the Paris Olympics this summer.

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AP Football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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