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Sam Mewis' Late Goal Powers USWNT Past Portugal in International Friendly

Adam WellsJune 11, 2021

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 10: JΓ©ssica Silva #10 of Portugal and Megan Rapinoe #15 of United States fight the ball uring the Summer Series game between United States  and Portugal at BBVA Stadium on June 10, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)
Omar Vega/Getty Images

As part of their final preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, the United States women's soccer team kicked off a three-game Summer Series on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Portugal in a friendly match.

Samantha Mewis, who was left unmarked, broke the scoreless tie in the 76th minute with a header that was set up by a fantastic corner kick from Christen Press. 

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Breakthrough! πŸ‘Š@sammymewy puts the @USWNT in front off the set piece πŸ’₯ pic.twitter.com/JbIsUV3rx9

Press also made history with her assist, becoming the 14th player in U.S. women's national team history to reach 100 combined goals and assists in her career:

U.S. Soccer WNT @USWNT

With that *chef's kiss* assist, @ChristenPress now has 40 career assists to go with 60 career goals 🎯⚽️ <br><br>She becomes just the 14th player in #USWNT history with πŸ’― combined goals and assists. pic.twitter.com/zZNKz7hArd

Playing in their first game since April 13, Team USA showed some rust in the first half. They dominated the stats, holding possession for nearly 34 of the first 48 minutes and a 14-2 advantage in shots. 

Meg Linehan @itsmeglinehan

HT here in Houston, #USWNT and Portugal still deadlocked at 0-0. U.S. with 69% posession (nice), 5 SOG, 8 corners.

But none of the shots on goal were able to get past Portugal goalie Ines Pereira. Press had the best attempt at breaking the scoreless tie in the first half, but Pereira made a fantastic stop with her right leg. 

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

All square between the @USWNT and @selecaoportugal after 45 minutes!@ChristenPress with the best chance of the half 😲 pic.twitter.com/SpXszN2N07

The U.S. didn't come into this game at full strength, with Tobin Heath and Julie Ertz still recovering from injuries. Manager Vlatko Andonovski told reporters both players are expected back for the Olympics, but neither will play in the Summer Series. 

Portugal entered Thursday with a 1-2-1 record in four matches this year, though that record doesn't do justice to how well it has been at preventing goals. Opponents scored a total of two goals in those four games. 

Head coach Francisco Neto's defense continued to shine against a U.S. squad had outscored its opponents by a 22-1 score in eight matches coming into today. 

Pereira, in particular, played like a superstar against the American's relentless offensive attack.

Danielle Lerner @danielle_lerner

22' Still scoreless here at BBVA Stadium. <br><br>U.S. are knocking on the door, but finishing at close range has been an issue. Possession has overwhelmingly favored the Americans. Portugal, to their credit, have blocked a few key shots courtesy the back line and keeper InΓͺs Pereira

Danielle Lerner @danielle_lerner

43’ Rose Lavelle gets free on the right wing and sends a spinning cross to the far post that looked to be right on target for Alex Morgan’s head, but Portugal GK Pereira comes off her line to punch the ball out. Spectacular play by the keeper.

The one goal that Pereira allowed was mostly due to the fact that Portugal's defense, for whatever reason, decided to let Mewis stand in front of the net without putting a body on her. 

Even though Team USA was clearly the more dominant squad on the field, it wasn't able to pull away from an overmatched Portugal team. The Americans only converted one of their 10 shot-on-goal attempts into a goal. 

The U.S. defense does deserve a lot of credit for making things very easy on Alyssa Naeher. She only had to stop one shot-on-goal attempt the entire game. 

It's certainly reasonable to expect that things will get better for Team USA as they continue to work their way back into form after an extended layoff. 

They will return to the pitch on Sunday for an exhibition against Jamaica at BBVA Stadium in Houston. The game will be broadcast on FS1 at 10 p.m. ET. 

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