USA Women's Soccer Plays Australia to 1-1 Draw in 2018 Tournament of Nations

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

USA's Lindsey Horan (R) celebrates after scoring the tying goal and is hugged by USA's McCall Zerboni during the 2018 Tournament of Nations at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on July 29, 2018 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

A Lindsey Horan goal in the 90th minute helped the United States women's national team steal a 1-1 draw against Australia in the 2018 Tournament of Nations on Sunday.

Chloe Logarzo gave the Matildas the early advantage, but USA pulled out the equalizer at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut. After both teams won their opening match, the squads remain tied atop the table with four points each.

The tournament title will now come down to the final round of matches, with Australia trying to win this event for the second time in two years of existence.


USWNT Should Want No Part of Australia Going Forward

The United States hosted this tournament last year but only finished in second place because of a 1-0 loss to Australia. Since this moment, the Americans have been nearly flawless.

The squad had gone 17 matches without a loss, including 15 wins and two draws, since the loss to Australia with an 8-0-1 record in 2018.

After proving itself against some of the best in the world, the only test remaining was to avenge the previous defeat.

This proved to be tougher than many had expected.

While the United States held more possession throughout the match, Australia was able to take the 1-0 lead behind an outstanding counterattack led by Lisa De Vanna:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Australia take the lead! Logarzo finishes off the counterattack for the Matildas after a great run by De Vanna. #ToN2018 https://t.co/riyv4KzeKq

Instead of forcing the action for the home team, the squad seemed to struggle even more while facing a deficit.

Caitlin Murray discussed the team's apparent mindset for the rest of the half:

Caitlin Murray @caitlinmurr

I think once Australia got the early lead is when the #USWNT *really* started to struggle. There was a palpable anxiousness. They need to use the half to regroup. Wonder if we'll see Ellis make any changes, too.

It needed the full 90 minutes to even things up, which was enough to get a well-earned point for the tournament. However, the struggles remain very real, and Australia proved once again to be a tough opponent.

The team mostly contained the United States' best players and showed its recent success wasn't a fluke. With a win and a draw in two matches against USWNT, the underdogs will have a lot of confidence in a third match.

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe gave compliments to the opponent after the match:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

"They're one of the few teams that can match up with us physically." @mpinoe talks about the USWNT's tough battle against Australia. #ToN2018 https://t.co/OOmiRcLzNB

Australia not only can win this tournament once again, but a potential matchup in the 2019 World Cup could be a scary one for USA.


Production Outside of Alex Morgan Will Be Key to USWNT Success

A great striker can hide a lot of other deficiencies, which is a good and a bad thing for the United States. When Alex Morgan is at her best—like with her hat trick last game against Japan—everyone looks good. But it's important for this team to get offensive production outside of its star.

The team got some Sunday in the form of Horan, who headed home a Megan Rapinoe corner kick for the equalizing goal:

U.S. Soccer WNT @ussoccer_wnt

Never count us out! 🇺🇸 @mPinoe and @Lindseyhoran11 connect at the death. https://t.co/hCUalpC76a

As Stars and Stripes FC noted, this came after several poor cross attempts by Rapinoe prior to the goal:

Stars and Stripes FC @StarsStripesFC

There's the equalizer!!! Megan Rapinoe has been off on her set piece delivery in this 2nd half but she got it just right with the corner kick to Lindsey Horan. 1-1, now into stoppage. #USAvAUS #ToN2018

Rapinoe had plenty of opportunities on the ball, but she couldn't get the ball into the middle for other players. As a result of this and some sloppy play in the midfield, Morgan hardly touched the ball and only took three shots all match—all on header attempts.

USA held 65 percent possession and totaled 18 shots, per ESPN FC, but real scoring attempts were limited against Australia because the team's best players were too quiet.

The good news is Horan stepped up when it mattered to at least come away with a point, showing there is some scoring depth on the roster. This will be necessary if the squad wants to consistently beat quality opponents and potentially bring home another World Cup title.

Carli Lloyd is no longer a star, which means younger players like Tobin Heath, Christen Press and Julie Ertz will have to be among those stepping up on the offensive end.

This draw showed USA won't be able to rely on Morgan every single match.


What's Next?

The United States will take on Brazil in its final match of the Tournament of Nations, while Australia will face Japan. Both matches will take place Thursday at Toyota Park in Illinois.