In Tuesday’s rematch in Newcastle, it took Ashley Hatch just over three minutes to again break the deadlock, getting on the end of a simple cut-back from Midge Purce to pass the ball into the back of the net.
After the nightmare start on Saturday, coach Tony Gustavsson rang the changes – but the defence was again caught napping in a torrid opening stanza.
But in the 88th minute Kyah Simon made amends for missing a simple chance on Saturday by levelling the scores with a hugely deflected late effort that left the keeper with no hope.
It was her 27th international goal, but her first since February 2020.
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MATCH CENTRE: Line-ups, live stats and more
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The Matildas are out for revenge against the World No. 1 USA when they take to the field on Tuesday night in the final match of a two-game series.
Both nations are in the midst of a squad rebuild, highlighted by a raft of inexperienced youngsters taking the field on both sides in the visitors’ 3-0 win on Saturday night in front of a record-smashing home crowd of 36,109 in Sydney.
For Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson, the match looms as a crucial final hitout of the year ahead of the 2022 Asian Cup – and developing for the 2023 World Cup on home soil.
And he has rung the changes for the squad for the second game.
The match also comes on the back of Matildas superstar Sam Kerr claiming third in the Ballon d’Or votes for the world’s best player, announced on Tuesday morning. Kerr has 49 goals from 103 Matildas appearances, just one goal behind Tim Cahill’s all-time Australian record.
Gustavsson declared Australia must ‘be brave’ in blooding young players in high-pressure situations in order to prepare for the future.
That included a brand-new defensive central partnership of teens Courtney Nevin and debutant Jessica Nash on Saturday.
“We need depth in the backline and we need to look at players and be brave enough to actually get them into these types of games,” Gustavsson said.
“Normally, if this was 15 years ago and I was coaching, I’d probably give them 10 minutes at the end when we’d either won or lost the game.
“But those minutes are not at the same value as having a record crowd, the US in front of you, in the stadium that’s going to hold the World Cup final. To be able to deal with that, in that environment, is what we need,” he explained.
SATURDAY REPORT: Matildas’ defence crumbles against superstar USA as record crowd watches
Lydia Williams returns in goal in place of Teagan Micah.
Hayley Raso starts for the first time since overcoming an injury, while veteran Caitlin Foord has been dropped entirely – likely due to an FA Cup final with Arsenal on the weekend.
Teen Courtney Nevin has maintained her place at centre-back, though Saturday’s debutant Jessika Nash has been dropped to the bench after being pulled at half-time following a brutal 45 minutes in the green and gold. That could see a back three rather than Saturday’s back four.
Kyra Cooney-Cross starts in a likely midfield trio with Emily Van Egmond and Mary Fowler.
The USA, made one change to the Saturday’s team: former Sydney FC livewire Sofia Huerta replaces Emily Sonnett.
Commonwealth Bank Matildas v U.S. Women’s National Team
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 8.05pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live on Network 10.
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