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

Adam WellsJune 11, 2021

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. 

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:

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. 

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. 

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. 

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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.

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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