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Matildas go down 5-3 to world number one USA

5 April 2019

FOOTBALL: The Matildas and the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) put on an eight-goal thriller for spectators in Denver Colorado on Friday, but ultimately the world number one side came out on top.

In a great test run ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in June, both defences were challenged in a tough match up between world ranked number one, the US and number six, Australia.

The USWNT looked dangerous from the outset, with Alex Morgan opening the onslaught in the 14th minute with her 100th goal for USA, but it wasn't long until Matildas veteran and stalwart Lisa De Vanna equalised 14 minutes later. It was a battle of defences for the remaining first half, with neither side able to convert.

Two minutes into the second half the Matildas nabbed the lead with Sydney FC's Caitlin Foord finding the back of the net, before a rocket from Tobin Heath sent the sides back into a stalemate.

The US then found a two-goal buffer through Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh in the 61st and 67th minutes, until Aussie superstar Sam Kerr headed the Matildas back into the game in the 81st minute.

The match went into extra time, with the score sitting 4-3 to the US, but it was another strike from Pugh that was the nail in the coffin for the gallant Aussie side. The score settled 5-3 to the USWNT.

After the match, new Australian coach Ante Milicic said he was proud of the effort of his team, who will grow from the experience.

"We always knew we were playing a very strong side, a side that have played together for a very long time with a very experienced coaching staff,” he said.

"Obviously there were a lot of moments in transition but also in the wide areas where the US hurt us. They've got a lot of quality but we tried to play our game, we went with our playing style and had patches where we did well but against an opponent like the US, you get punished for any mistakes and that's what we saw tonight.

“Overall we will have a review of the game and take away a lot of learnings, I can't fault the effort of the girls, I was very proud of them and it was a fantastic experience for us and we look forward to moving on quickly."

USA’s  unbeaten run now extends to 29 games, while the Matildas will take away some valuable lessons under new coach Milicic as they head towards the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in two month’s time.

If you want to catch some behind the scenes Matildas action, goal keeper Lydia Williams will be taking over the @AusOlympicTeam Instagram account on Monday 8 April, check out our Instagram HERE to follow along.

Liana Buratti

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