Canadian women drop 2nd straight shootout against U.S. to fall in SheBelieves Cup final

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and the United States defeated Canada 5-4 in a penalty shootout for the second game in a row Tuesday to win the SheBelieves Cup final.

Canada's Adriana Leon pots pair as Sophia Smith responds with brace for Americans

Two soccer players fight for the ball.
Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan, left, and United States' Lindsey Horan vie for the ball during the first half of the Americans' 3-2 shootout win in the SheBelieves Cup final on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. (Jay LaPrete/The Associated Press)

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and the United States defeated Canada 5-4 in a penalty shootout for the second game in a row Tuesday to win the SheBelieves Cup final.

The U.S. had seemed headed for a 2-1 comeback win over Canada after two second-half goals by Sophia Smith.

But referee Crystal Sobers pointed to the spot after veteran Crystal Dunn took down Adriana Leon in the U.S. penalty box. Leon, who had scored in the first half, stepped up and beat Naeher in the 86th minute for her 39th goal in 118 appearances.

It was an all-action ending to the game.

WATCH | U.S. tops Canada in shootout:

Canada falls in shootout to U.S. in SheBelieves Cup final

3 months ago
Duration 1:04
United States defeats Canada 5-4 in a penalty shootout to claim the SheBelieves Cup.

Leon almost scored again in the 89th minute but Naeher parried her hard shot from distance. Defender Kadeisha Buchanan's header off the ensuing corner hit the crossbar.

U.S. captain Lindsey Horan's free kick flashed just wide in the 93rd minute.

Jessie Fleming, Leon, Julia Grosso and Ashley Lawrence scored for Canada in the shootout. Naeher stopped Jade Rose, Cloe Lacasse and Evelyne Viens.

Smith, Naeher, Horan, Abby Dahlkemper and Emily Fox scored for the U.S. Kailen Sheridan stopped Trinity Rodman and Emily Sonnett, with a chance to win it for the U.S., sent the ball over the crossbar.

After Naeher stopped Viens, Fox beat Sheridan for the 5-4 win.

Back-and-forth affair

After Leon put ninth-ranked Canada ahead in the 40th minute, goals by Smith in the 50th and 68th minutes gave the fourth-ranked Americans the lead — and what looked to be their fifth straight title at the four-team invitational tournament.

Canada was looking to avenge a penalty shootout semifinal loss to the U.S. in the CONCACAF W Gold Cup on a waterlogged field in San Diego on March 6.

The U.S. prevailed that night in a penalty shootout with Naeher stopping three spot kicks and scoring one herself to end a Canadian comeback after Bev Priestman's team rallied twice to tie it 2-2 after extra time.

Conditions were far better Tuesday with a temperature of 17 C at kickoff. So were the Canadians, who went ahead late in the first half when Naeher could not clear a Jade Rose long ball destined for Lawrence.

The U.S. 'keeper was forced to come out with the Canadian wingback outpacing defender Tierna Davidson as she steamed toward the American penalty box. Naeher and Lawrence collided with the ball bouncing off Naeher's leg back to Deanne Rose who sent it into the box for Leon, whose shot went through defender Dahlkemper's legs with Naeher out of position.

The U.S. almost tied it three minutes later but Alex Morgan's shot from inside the penalty box hit a Canadian defender.

Smith pulled the Americans even in the 50th minute, beating Sheridan with a well-placed low shot from just outside the penalty box after the Canadians, despite serval attempts, were unable to clear the ball. Sheridan had trouble finding the ball through traffic.

Smith made it 2-1 in the 68th minute, converting a feed from Rodman as the Canadian defence was carved open by some deft U.S. passing. It marked the Portland Thorns forward's sixth multi-goal game in 46 appearances for the U.S.

Americans continue dominance

The American women have now won seven of the nine editions of the SheBelieves Cup. The U.S. was runner-up to England in 2019 and finished fourth in 2017 when France won.

Canada had previously taken part in the tournament twice, finishing third in 2021 and fourth in 2023.

In the earlier game Tuesday at Field, No. 10 Brazil defeated No. 7 Japan 3-1 in a penalty shootout after the game finished tied at 1-1. Brazilian goalkeeper Lorena saved all three penalties she faced.

Lorena was also in goal when Canada dispatched the Brazilians 4-2 in a penalty shootout Saturday at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The U.S. downed Japan 2-1 in the other semifinal.

WATCH | Canada squeaks by Brazil:

Julia Grosso sends Canada through to SheBelieves Cup final via penalty shootout

3 months ago
Duration 1:07
Julio Grosso, who scored the golden goal in a penalty shootout at the Tokyo Olympics, scored the game-winner in Canada's 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Brazil, in the semifinals of the SheBelieves Cup in Atlanta.

Priestman made one change to her starting lineup Tuesday with Simi Awujo coming in for Cloe Lacasse. The Canadians reverted to a 3-4-3 formation, shelving the midfield diamond used initially against Brazil.

The U.S. made four changes with Dahlkemper, Smith, Dunn and Emily Sonnett slotting in.

The U.S. had 64 per cent possession in the first half but only put one shot on target compared to two for Canada.

The American women lead the all-time series with Canada 54-4-8 and have won seven of the last nine meetings between the teams, including both previous meetings between the teams at the SheBelieves Cup.

The Canadians, however, dispatched the Americans 1-0 in semifinal play at the Tokyo Olympics, with Jessie Fleming converting a 75th-minute penalty.

Canada was without the injured Sydney Collins, Nichelle Prince, Lysianne Proulx, Quinn, Jayde Riviere and Olivia Smith.

Canadian forward Jordyn Huitema was replaced by Lacasse in first-half injury time after taking a knock.

Tuesday's game marked the last for interim coach Twila Kilgore at the U.S helm. Former Chelsea coach Emma Hayes will take charge in early June for a pair of matches against South Korea with Kilgore reverting to her role as assistant coach.

WATCH | Priestman breaks down Olympic opponents:

Priestman breaks down Canada's group stage opponents for Paris 2024

4 months ago
Duration 1:20
Canadian national team head coach Bev Priestman analyzes the three teams her defending champion squad will be facing in the group stage of the Olympic women's soccer tournament in Paris this summer. Those three teams are third-ranked France, No. 23 Colombia and No. 28 New Zealand.

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