USA played out an action-packed 1-1 draw against Sweden in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday as two heavyweight 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ combatants met.
The Stars and Stripes narrowly failed to make amends for their 2-1 defeat against the Europeans in the group stage at Germany 2011.
USA hit the fame of the goal three times but had to wait until nine minutes from full time before equalising through Tobin Heath and maintaining their lengthy unbeaten run at home.
Both teams were missing key players with Hope Solo absent, as was Megan Rapinoe with the flanker nursing a strained ankle. Sweden too were without key personnel with Thomas Dennerby’s side deprived of the services of Caroline Seger and Sara Larsson.
Sweden capitalised on one of their few opportunities in the first half when Sofia Jakobsson opened the scoring in the 28th minute. The forward picked up the ball on the right side of penalty area and curled a beautiful strike around outstretched goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.
Shannon Boxx saw her effort came back off the woodwork before half-time with Abby Wambach and substitute Alex Morgan similarly denied in the second period.
However Morgan soon set up the equaliser with her shot, following a smart turn, only parried by Kristin Hammarstrom, with Heath putting home the rebound.
“I am very happy that we were patient with the system,” said USA’s Swedish coach Pia Sundhage, whose team lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. “The most important thing is that we are comfortable with the system and that we did we create chances. It was a great warm-up game for qualification. It was very important that we scored that goal, it was a fantastic goal and we deserved it.”
Sweden will now meet Canada on Tuesday, while the match was the last for USA this year ahead of January’s CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying in Vancouver.