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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


The United States Women’s National Team Wins Gold Cup

Despite an upset loss to Mexico in the group stage, the United States won the Gold Cup. Photo: Getty Images.

On Feb. 20, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) opened its 2024 Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup campaign with a convincing 5-0 win against the Dominican Republic. 

Olivia Moultrie, an 18-year-old midfielder who plays for the Portland Thorns FC, scored the first and third goal. Lynn Williams, a forward from Gotham FC, scored the second. Veteran striker Alex Morgan, who plays for the San Diego Wave, came off the bench to score from the penalty spot. Defender Jenna Nighswonger added a late penalty, marking her first career goal in international play. 

The USWNT continued its strong start with a 4-0 win against Argentina. This vital win allowed USA to seize control of Group A and seal their place in the tournament’s knockout stages. Forward Jaedyn Shaw stole the show with two goals in the first 17 minutes, followed by an additional tally from Morgan. Lindsey Horan rounded out the scoresheet with a penalty kick. 

However, the USWNT’s win streak was cut short, as they lost to Mexico 2-0 in the group stage finale. This was only Mexico’s second victory ever against the U.S., aided by goals scored by Jacqueline Ovalle in minute 38 and substitute Mayra Pelayo in stoppage time. 

Mexico’s press throughout the game allowed them to utilize the squad’s technical proficiency to capitalize on opportunities despite being out-possessed. They were also successful in shutting out the USWNT. The game was a statement victory for Mexico, who have given other teams the blueprint to beat the USWNT.

The USWNT’s poor performance in this game raised concerns about the teams’ recent tactics. The pressure has been focused towards the coaching staff, which is currently led by Twila Kilgore while Emma Hayes is on leave. 

In the quarterfinals, the USWNT defeated Colombia 3-0 to open the knockout round. An early penalty kick by captain Horan and a shot straight in the right corner from Nighswonger opened the first half. Shaw then scored her third goal of the tournament in the first half stoppage time. Goalie Alyssa Naeher achieved her 100th cap, becoming the third American goalie to do so. She also recorded her 61st career shutout with a series of outstanding saves.

On Mar. 6, in a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes, the USWNT overcame the challenging conditions of a waterlogged pitch to defeat Canada 3-1 in a penalty shootout. In minute 20, Shaw added to her total of 4 goals throughout the tournament. The 19-year-old made history by becoming the first USWNT player to score in each of her first four starts. In minute 99, Sophia Smith, a substitute, scored the 16th goal of her career on an assist from midfielder Rose Lavelle. In order to help advance the U.S. to the finals, Naeher made three crucial saves during the shootout and successfully converted her own penalty kick.

In the Gold Cup Final, the team took on Brazil on Mar. 10 at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium in front of 31,528 spectators. After 90 minutes, the USWNT was able to secure a 1-0 victory due to a header by Horan scored just before halftime. Despite a difficult journey to the final, interim coach Kilgore told ESPN that “this is a group that’s just getting started.”

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About the Contributor
Jake Snow '27
Jake Snow '27, Sports Editor
Jake Snow is currently a Sports Editor for Horizon. Prior to this, he served as a Staff Writer for the newspaper.
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