SENDAI, JAPAN - APRIL 01: Alex Morgan #13 of United States celebrates the first goal during the international friendly match between Japan and United States at Yurtex Stadium Sendai on April 1, 2012 in Sendai, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)
On a cold night in Japan, the USWNT managed to pull out a 1-1 draw against the squad that crushed their World Cup dreams just nine months ago. This was a game that the US Women could have easily lost as the Japanese played stronger football throughout the 90 minute match. The United States back line was constantly under pressure, and when there were offensive chances, balls were almost never on target. Although Japan had multiple chances to put the USWNT away, star forward Alex Morgan came through with an equalizer with 17 minutes left to play.
It seems that all anyone can talk about these days when it comes to the USWNT is Alex Morgan. Head coach Pia Sundhage played a 4-4-2 today to accommodate the young phenom and who can blame her? Morgan has nine goals in her past six starts. Today's game was just another example of her brilliance. With Abby Wambach taking a more midfield approach, Morgan had many a chance on net and came through with the tying goal late in the game after a failed back pass on the Japanese side. This was almost not to be as the goal was originally called offside. However head referee Li Juan quickly ran over to the line judge who had made the offside call and corrected the situation. Alex Morgan now leads her team in goals with 12 in the 2012 season.
Alex Morgan wasn't the only star of this game. Goalkeeper Hope Solo seemed to be back in form as she truly prevented this match from becoming a goal fest for Japan. With just the one goal allowed in the 31st minute from Kinga, Solo was otherwise sensational. Even the goal she allowed was off of a blocked shot that she could do nothing about. Her quad injury from the Olympic Qualifying Tournament seemed to hold up just fine, as she had no issues diving around the field when she needed to.
Although the USWNT did not end up getting the slice of revenge they hoped for, they have an upcoming opportunity to upset a team that they previously defeated in the World Cup. Brazil will be looking for their own bit of revenge when they face the US Women in two days time in Chiba, Japan as part of Japan's Women's Kirin Cup. Look for changes in the lineup as Pia Sundhage tries to find the perfect lineup for her Olympic squad where she will be allowed only 18 players. The USWNT versus Brazil will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN3 at 7:00AM EST on Tuesday, April 3, 2012.