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United States tries to find rhythm in 1-0 win against England

Crystal Dunn's stunner was the difference for the United States

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The great Olympic roster test continues with the She Believes tournament. Jill Ellis lined up a mostly-familiar starting XI against England whose only change from recent CONCACAF qualifying was the introduction of Emily Sonnett at center back. She also decided to continue testing Kelley O'Hara and Mallory Pugh in the defense and midfield respectively.

Starting XI: Hope Solo; Kelley O'Hara, Emily Sonnett, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg; Morgan Brian, Lindsey Horan, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd (c), Mallory Pugh; Alex Morgan

O'Hara's consecutive starts may not necessarily point at a starting XI spot for Rio. Before Olympic qualifying, she was a bit underutilized, and may now be going through another round of evaluation as opposed to Ali Krieger, who is a better known quantity to Ellis.

Other players who are definitely going through evaluation are Pugh and Lindsey Horan, who fell just about on opposite ends of the spectrum in their first half performances. Horan was unsteady under pressure, while Pugh kept things moving around the midfield and was able to push forward on goal several times. Pugh was actually the lone bright spot for the US attack, as Alex Morgan was denied service and Carli Lloyd disappeared into the game.

Neither were Meghan Klingenberg nor Kelley O'Hara able to do much with their runs forward. England closed down rapidly on any forays into their defensive third, swarming in twos and threes to force either a turnover or a restart from deep. The teams went into halftime at 0-0.

The second half was better in some ways and worse in others. Connectivity decreased pretty badly - at times it seemed as though players weren't really aware they had teammates on the field. Even with Christen Press subbed in for Lindsey Horan in the 63', things were disjointed in the attacking third. But Pugh continued to keep her head up until she was subbed for Crystal Dunn in 67'.

Dunn almost immediately had an impact, scoring in the 72'. Meghan Klingenberg dropped the ball off with Dunn, who was able to find some space and send a laser-guided missile to the far upper 90.

Ellis made an interesting move in the late stages of the game, subbing Alex Morgan and Kelley O'Hara for Ali Krieger and Julie Johnston, both of whom went into the back line to make it a five-back. That had Morgan Brian and Carli Lloyd as the midfield spine and Press as the lone forward. The formation was decent at absorbing England's constant high pressure, but once again left them struggling to get much attack going.

Whitney Engen subbed in during stoppage for Meghan Klingenberg, leaving the United States to finish the game with four center backs on the field.

Overall it wasn't the USWNT's finest outing. Not only did England press hard for 90, the United States couldn't seem to find their attacking rhythm. Defense kept the game tight, and even though England had a few sniffs around the United States 18, their chances were fairly limited.

The US next plays France on March 6 in Nashville. France lost narrowly to Germany earlier in the day, a 1-0 scoreline that was a bit unfair to the French, who had the better of the attack in the game but fell victim to an unfortunate back pass and the ensuing German corner kick. Expect them to present just as stern a test as England, if not more so, against the United States.