Tobin Heath spared the USWNT blushes as Adrianna Franch had a debut to forget when her mistake in the first half and a relatively inexperienced backline led to a draw against England in SheBelieves Cup.

By Kellen Becoats
March 02, 2019

News of Adrianna Franch earning her first cap Saturday for the USWNT—due to Alyssa Naeher being injured—gave U.S. fans a chance to see what a new goalkeeper could do behind a youthful backline that would start, yet again, without veteran Becky Sauerbrunn.

The results were less than encouraging, as Franch's mistake in the first half led to England's first goal and poor communication in the backline led to the second before Tobin Heath was able to rescue a point for the USWNT in a 2-2 draw in the SheBelieves Cup.

The USWNT started well, always looking the cleaner, more composed side and looking to get in behind England's backline. So when Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring in the 33rd minute after chest-controlling Kelley O'Hara's cross and unleashing a sweet half-volley to beat Karen Bardsley and put the Americans in front, it felt like it could be the first of many USWNT goals. 

It didn't take long for the Lionesses to get back into the game, however, when Mallory Pugh tried to play a backpass to Franch, presumably for her to clear, but the goalkeeper picked the ball up in the box. 

The result? An England indirect free-kick just inside the box. Toni Duggan rolled the ball to the right and Steph Houghton curled it around an onrushing Rapinoe, the USWNT wall and an outstretched Franch to even things up in the 36th minute.

The Americans' defensive issues were on display once again as some poor communication across the backline saw Abby Dahlkemper hold Nikita Parris onside as the forward received a slick pass from Fran Kirby and placed it in the corner of the net to give England its first lead of the night.

It was looking like a night to forget for the USWNT but a goalmouth scramble in the 67th minute saw Tobin Heath get on the end of a deflected cross from Alex Morgan and score the final goal of the match, assuring both teams a share of the points.

The result sees the Americans still searching for a win in the SheBelieves Cup and Morgan still looking for her 100th international goal. The USWNT play Brazil next on Tuesday.  


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