Tameka Butt scored in the 67th minute and Australia beat the United States for the first time in the 28-game series, 1-0 in the Tournament of Nations on Thursday night. The Matildas also snapped the Americans’ four-game winning streak.
Just moments after Butt’s goal got past goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, Carli Lloyd blasted a cross from Megan Rapinoe at Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who made a fantastic save. Lloyd had another chance that sailed just over the net.
“I think at the end of the day we gave up a goal that was against the run of play and was unfortunate but we should have climbed our way back in and we were a little unlucky on those chances,” U.S. forward Alex Morgan said.
Japan and Brazil played to a 1-1 draw in the tournament’s opening game in the afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
Each of the four teams in the tournament is in the top 10 of the FIFA rankings. The top-ranked United States went into the game with a 25-0-2 record over the seventh-ranked Matildas.
Rapinoe, who plays for the NWSL’s Seattle Reign, had a good chance early in the game but the Americans were unable to break through. Rapinoe has 12 goals to lead the NWSL in scoring this season.
The Matildas have been on the rise of the past several years, with quarterfinal appearances in both the 2015 World Cup and the Olympics last year.
“We found a way to hang in there which is a good sign of maturity of this group and a massive hurdle that is the first time we’ve ever climbed that hurdle, especially against such a big opponent on home soil,” Australia coach Alen Stajcic said.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis said her players needed to be sharper, and they know that.
“I think we generated some chances and it didn’t go our way. Again I think we’re trying to put different pieces together, look at different things,” Ellis said.
In the earlier game Camila came off the bench to score for Brazil in the 87th minute. The blast from some 25 yards out was her first international goal.
Yuka Momiki, also a second-half sub, scored for Japan in the 63rd minute off a cross from Emi Nakajima.
Following the stop in Seattle, the tournament shifts to San Diego on Sunday before wrapping up in Carson, California, on Aug. 3.
U.S. football is looking to host a Tournament of Nations each summer that there isn’t World Cup or Olympic competition.