After coming back from a two-goal deficit, the United States women’s national soccer team ended its friendly with Japan in a 3-3 draw Thursday in Denver.
With the match tied at 2-2 and Japan down to 10 players, Denver native Lindsey Horan’s header gave the U.S. a late one-goal lead. But Kumi Yokoyama tied the match in stoppage time to complete the draw.
U.S. star Alex Morgan scored two goals, including the equalizer in the 63rd minute. It was her 18th career multigoal game for the national team.
This was the first time since the 2015 World Cup final that the United States and Japan have faced off. Nearly 11 months ago, the U.S. defeated Japan, 5-2, to win its third World Cup title.
The script flipped 14 minutes into the game, when Mana Iwabuchi scored an amazing goal to begin the match’s proceedings, bending the ball through the top left corner.
t took only 22 minutes for Japan to score as many goals as it did in the World Cup final. Yuki Ogimi scored Japan’s second goal eight minutes later to give her team a two-score lead.
It’s not often that the U.S. is in such a position.
But the United States finally got on the board in the 27th minute, thanks to a goal by Morgan off a nice feed from Mallory Pugh.
The Americans went into halftime trailing by a goal and playing uncharacteristically poor. Japan controlled the pace and wasn’t careless with the ball. U.S. goalie Hope Solo looked especially out of character, giving up two goals.
But the tide turned early in the second half, when Ogimi received her second yellow card and was ejected from the match. Japan spent the rest of the night playing with 10 players, and the United States took advantage accordingly.
Morgan scored her second goal of the night off the free kick.
Morgan’s six goals against Japan tied for her most against any country, per Paul Carr of ESPN.com. Canada, Costa Rica and France have also given up six goals to Morgan.
After the United States came back and surged into the lead, Japan’s late equalizer was a buzzkill. While there’s plenty of soccer to play before the Olympics, the U.S. has a lot to clean up, especially on the defensive side of the ball.