US women win SheBelieves Cup title, beating Iceland 5-0
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Catarina Macario and Mallory Pugh each scored two goals and the U.S. women’s national team beat Iceland 5-0 on Wednesday night to win the SheBelieves Cup.
The Americans won the annual four-team tournament, now in its seventh year, for the third straight year.
The United States has 17th straight shutouts on American soil, dating to March 2020. The national team also is unbeaten in 65 straight games at home.
Kristie Mewis also scored in the victory that came as the team celebrated an agreement with U.S. Soccer to settle a dispute over equitable pay with the men’s national team.
The two sides announced the agreement early Tuesday. Under the terms, U.S. Soccer will pay the $24 million and commit to equitable pay and bonuses in the future. The women filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination in 2019.
The deal is contingent on a new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides are currently in negotiations following the Dec. 31 expiration of the last CBA.
Many of the veterans from the national team, including Alex Moran, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Tobin Heath, were not on the roster for the SheBelieves Cup as coach Vlatko Andonovski looked at younger players ahead of World Cup qualifying this summer.
“We’re performing well, there’s still a lot of room for improvement and growth in this group,” Andonovski said. “But I feel we can all see the potential. I said this before, it’s a process, it’s going to take time. I’m very happy with the result, very happy with the players, but realistically this is still not good enough. We still have to get better and better as we go forward.”
Macario scored in the 37th minute with a blast from the top corner of the box that bounced of the post and into the net.
Making her third straight start in the tournament, Macario navigated a tough angle for her second goal into the far corner in the 45th minute. She has five international goals in 15 appearances.
Pugh added a goal in the 60th off a pass from Ashley Sanchez, then took a pass from Macario for her second in the 75th. Pugh has 21 goals and 21 assists in 70 matches with the United States.
“The pass Cat gave me doesn’t get better than that,” Pugh said. “I think she sees the game so well, and knows exactly what to do, and put it right at my foot so I was able to score. I think as a whole, we came out and we needed to win, and ’m really proud of all the players that contributed to this game.”
Mewis added the final goal in the 88th minute.
Iceland went into the game atop the four-team SheBelieves table with a pair of wins over New Zealand and the Czech Republic. The United States was in second with a scoreless draw against the Czech Republic in the opener and a 5-0 victory over New Zealand on Sunday, needing the win against Iceland to claim the tournament title.
“I think that we started off the tournament a little slow, but we ended up on top, and I think it just embodied some of the grit and that USA mentality that we needed to have,” Pugh said. “And we got some good experience.”
Earlier Wednesday, New Zealand and the Czech Republic played to a scoreless draw at Toyota Stadium. Temperatures were in the 20s for both games.
Iceland has never won an international tournament. It was second in the 2007 Algarve Cup.
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