USWNT shows ‘grit’ in W Gold Cup win

The USWNT overcame multiple challenges to win the W Gold Cup.

SAN DIEGO — The CONCACAF W Gold Cup had its ups and downs for the USWNT. From losing to Mexico in the group stage to a water-logged pitch in the USWNT and Canada, the USWNT faced its fair share of challenges. But through all of them, they persisted, taking home the trophy on Sunday, beating Brazil 1-0.

Even in the final, the USWNT had to show their grit as Brazil started on the front foot. Still, the USWNT limited their chances, forcing them to settle for deep looks. Then, the USWNT grew into the half.

31 minutes into the match, midfielder Korbin Albert deflected a pass and then played a solidly placed through ball to forward Alex Morgan, but Brazil goalkeeper Luciana beat Morgan to it.

In first stoppage time, forward Trinity Rodman drew two defenders into the corner and passed it to Emily Fox, who crossed it into midfielder Lindsey Horan, who scored to put the USWNT ahead 1-0. 

Midfielder Sam Coffey was outstanding in starting the build-up to the goal, winning a ball, and passing to Rodman.

79 minutes into the match, forward Lynn Williams nearly put the USWNT up two goals, but her goal was called offside. Still, the USWNT won the match.

Head coach Twila Kilgore believes the USWNT’s resilience is part of their “DNA.” 

“What you’re calling resilience, we call grit,” Kilgore said. “It’s something that we feel is in our DNA and just part of who we are. It’s something that we need to lead with more often.”

Coffey said the team was motivated by the loss to Mexico, an “unacceptable” defeat. 

“Something that Twila [Kilgore] has said a lot through campus that we’re battle-tested,” Coffey said. ”I love that I think we’re resilient. I don’t think a lot of teams could lose the way we did against Mexico, which was super disappointing and unacceptable for us, but respond the way that we did. I’m not sure we get here without that loss.

“We’re a team that just takes all the good, all the bad, all the things we’re proud of, and all the things we’re not and uses it for our good and turns it into fuel…. We went through so many ups and downs, and we came out on top, and that’s all you ask.”

Such toughness is a trait the USWNT may need more often as international soccer becomes more competitive. The Mexico match was an example, as they had only beaten the USWNT once in their history. But earlier in the W Gold Cup, they won again. The USWNT persisted and used the loss as fuel, motivating them to tournament victory.