France handed the United States its second straight loss, shocking the Americans on their home soil with a 3-0 victory Tuesday.
The battle at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. was the final match of the SheBelieves Cup, which resulted in a first-place finish for the French. The squad earned seven points in three matches, while Germany will end in second place in a loaded field.
Team USA finished in last after winning its first match against Germany.
|SheBelieves Cup Final Results|
Camille Abily scored two goals in the win for France, which earned a 2-0 victory in the first 10 minutes and then held on for the easy road win.
While the United States had solid moments offensively, the defense was a major issue to allow easy opportunities in the box.
Caitlin Murray of Fox Sports questioned the system produced by coach Jill Ellis:
Caitlin Murray @caitlinmurr
I didn't think France would be the ones to expose this 3-back system so thoroughly, but here we are. #USWNT needs this learning experience.2017-3-8 00:18:18
It's also possible the team missed veteran goalkeeper Hope Solo in the blowout loss.
France wasted no time getting comfortable in this game.
Eugenie Le Sommer used her speed to get past the American defense in the seventh minute, forcing goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to foul just to avoid an opening goal. This didn't help, as Abily finished off the play with a successful penalty kick in the eighth minute.
Fox Soccer captured the entire sequence:
FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer
Early penalty, early goal for France! #SheBelievesCup https://t.co/gV6YfGnDMI2017-3-8 00:20:27
Le Sommer was back in action just a few moments later, as a long pass from Wendie Renard led to France's second goal in as many minutes, via Fox Soccer:
FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer
Eugénie Le Sommer = really fast. #USWNT in trouble early in the final match of the #SheBelievesCup https://t.co/hxISesDHH72017-3-8 00:22:17
John Halloran of American Soccer Now singled out one player responsible for the struggles:
John D. Halloran @JohnDHalloran
France really exposing Allie Long right now. #USWNT2017-3-8 00:14:54
The United States finally showed some energy after that, but the squad couldn't convert the quality chances in the final third. At the very least, it was able to stop the bleeding and keep the score 2-0 at halftime.
Although the home team held possession for 54 percent of the first half with more shots (7-4), it was clear France was the better team in the early going.
Crystal Dunn and Mallory Pugh provided a boost as second-half substitutes, but that didn't result in any goals. On the other hand, France had little problem adding to its own lead with one of the few chances it had in the second half.
Eve Perisset got the ball with plenty of room in the corner and found Abily over the middle for her second goal, giving her team a 3-0 lead in the 63rd minute, via Fox Soccer:
FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer
Abily makes it 3! France in control with a 3-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining. #SheBelievesCup https://t.co/ZeQZICvYIa2017-3-8 01:32:59
The U.S. stayed aggressive as the match continued but couldn't break through the French defense. The clean sheet remained and the home team finished the three-match tournament with just one goal scored.
Meanwhile, France allowed just a single goal en route to its first-place performance.
The next scheduled matches for the United States are April 6 and 9, both against Russia. The international friendlies will take place in different Texas cities as the squads try to gain some positive experience heading into the summer.
If the Americans don't perform better in these matches, there could be a lot of question marks about the future of the program.
Alex Morgan wasn't on the squad in this tournament but provided a classy message after the match:
Alex Morgan @alexmorgan13
Congratulations to France for their deserving #SheBelievesCup 2017 title. Needs to be better from us. Thank you DC for the love.2017-3-8 03:15:33
However, a more noteworthy reflection came from captain Carli Lloyd.
"It's disappointing," Lloyd said of the tournament, per Steven Goff of the Washington Post. "We came in 4th. We scored 1 goal. Long gone are the days of always winning. It's not going to be easy."
This certainly won't be what fans want to hear, but hopefully the team takes it as a lesson to prepare better in the future.