USWNT beats Japan in SheBelieves Cup before record friendly crowd


How USWNT recovered from 'horrendous start' to make SheBelieves Cup final

Jeff Kassouf reacts to USWNT's 2-1 victory over Japan in the SheBelieves Cup semifinal despite conceding a goal after just 30 seconds.

Lindsey Horan converted a penalty kick in the 77th minute and the United States came from behind to defeat Japan 2-1 to open the SheBelieves Cup before a record crowd on Saturday.

Jaedyn Shaw also scored for the United States in the match played before 50,644 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, a record for a friendly match for the United States women on home soil. It was also the largest crowd for a women's game in the United States since the 1999 World Cup final.

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The game also marked the return of both Mallory Swanson and Catarina Macario after lengthy absences because of injury.

Japan scored 30 seconds into the game. Kiko Seike dashed down the wing and evaded a defender with a shot that was out of the reach of U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. It was the first time the U.S. conceded a goal within the opening minute since 2003.

Swanson started in her first game back in nearly a year since injuring her patellar tendon during an exhibition match against Ireland last year. The injury kept her out of last summer's Women's World Cup.

Swanson nearly scored in the 15th minute but a goal-line clearance by Japan's goalkeeper denied her. She had another good chance in the 72nd minute.

Macario came into the game as a second-half substitute, making her first appearance with the national team in two years after tearing an ACL in a match with Lyon.

The USWNT celebrates Jaedyn Shaw's equalizer against Japan.
Andrea Vilchez/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

Shaw, playing as a No. 10, scored through traffic with a blast from outside the penalty box to tie it. Shaw, 19, is the first U.S. player with five goals in five straight career starts.

Just before Shaw's goal, the United States was hurt when defender Naomi Girma was subbed off with an apparent right thigh injury. Girma was the U.S. Soccer Player of the Year last year.

Horan's game-winning penalty came after Sophia Smith was brought down in the box.

Korbin Albert came into the match as a second-half substitute following a controversy over past social media posts. The 20-year-old Albert, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, had reposted anti-LGBTQIA+ content on her TikTok account.

Albert apologized, saying "liking and sharing posts that are offensive, insensitive and hurtful was immature and disrespectful which was never my intent."

Horan and Alex Morgan addressed the issue in a statement this week and noted the team was handling it internally.

"We stand by maintaining a safe and respectful space, especially as allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community. This platform has given us an opportunity to highlight causes that matter to us, something that we never take for granted. We'll keep using this platform to give attention to causes," Morgan said.

Brazil was set to play Canada in the later game Saturday in Atlanta. The results will determine the matchups for Tuesday's SheBelieves Cup matches in Columbus, Ohio.

All of the teams playing in the SheBelieves Cup have qualified for the Olympics in France this summer.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.