February 28, 2019 / 3:58 AM / 2 months ago

Japan ties USWNT late in She Believes opener

Yuka Momiki scored in the first minute of second-half stoppage time as Japan rallied twice to tie the U.S. women’s national team 2-2 in the sides’ first match of the SheBelieves Cup on Wednesday in Chester, Pa.

Feb 27, 2019; Chester, PA, USA; Japan midfielder Emi Nakajima (7) celebrates her goal with midfielder Hina Sugita (9) in front of the United States team during the second half of a She Believes Cup women's soccer match at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Morgan gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead in the 76th minute with her 99th international goal, but Japan got the equalizer when Yui Hasegawa slipped a pass to Momiki at the right post.

Megan Rapinoe gave the U.S. the lead in the 23rd minute before Emi Nakajima tied it in the 67th.

Morgan broke the 1-1 tie by chesting a pass from the right side from Christen Press, who had just entered the match. Morgan’s next goal will tie her with Tiffeny Milbrett for sixth on the all-time U.S. scoring list.

The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world, opened the defense of the SheBelieves Cup title against eighth-ranked Japan in the first of their three tournament matches.

In the first match of the Wednesday doubleheader, No. 4 England beat No. 10 Brazil 2-1.

The U.S. won the inaugural Cup in 2016. France took the championship the following year.

Rapinoe scored off an assist by Tobin Heath. The play started at the other end when Julie Ertz transitioned to Mallory Pugh on the right flank. Once Pugh got the ball ahead to Heath, it was a race to the end line.

Heath got there then sent a sharp cutback pass to the top of the goal box, where an unmarked Rapinoe slotted a shot past Japanese goalkeeper Erina Yamane.

Nakajima got the equalizer with a strike from 13 yards on the right side of box. Her initial shot was blocked, but the clearance by defender Tierna Davidson came right back to Nakajima.

The tourney continues Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., when the U.S. plays England and Brazil faces Japan. The final games are March 5 in Tampa, Fla.: U.S.-Brazil and Japan-England.

—Field Level Media

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