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USA vs. China 2023 Friendly: The Stars and Stripes come back to earn a 2-1 win

It took a while for the USA to find the net but they came away victorious

China v United States Photo by Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

The USA faced China in the second matchup between the two sides and the final game of 2023. After a solid 3-0 win, the USA once again dominated the match keeping most of the possession and limiting China’s ability to produce much of a threat going forward. It was a challenging match for the USA though as China kept the game scoreless until going ahead against the run of play just before halftime. The Stars and Stripes would battle back in the second half and come away with a 2-1 victory.

Twila Kilgore lined up her team in a 3-4-3 with four players still with fewer than 10 caps in the XI.

China set their team up in a 5-4-1 to keep their defensive posture in the game.

Graphic via Google

In the end, it was a vexatious rendition of the classic Red vs. Blue contest for the USA. Despite controlling the ball the USA couldn’t manage to score and it came back to haunt them. China got on the board first just seconds before first half injury time ran out totally against the run of play. The game showed yet again that possibly the most difficult thing in team sports is trying to breakdown a defensively solid team in a low block in a soccer game. The USWNT hasn’t looked impressive in 2023 and looked unconvincing against China.

GIFS OF TRYING TO BREAKDOWN A LOW BLOCK AND IT KINDA WORKING

The first half was all highlights for the team in blue. China looked less than impressive defensively and the USA was able to work the ball around the 18 yard box to search for the first goal of the game. While the USA managed nearly 70% possession in the first half, they seemed to lack exigency needed to stamp their mark on the score sheet.

Still, the team got seven shots off with three on goal.

And none of that mattered because China scored on a free kick. Yan Jinjin of China sent the ball beautifully to the far post. Aubrey Kingsbury lunged at it but could not punch it away and it was headed by Siqian Wang nearly onto the foot of teammate Shen Mengyu who tapped it into the net.

The second half looked an awful lot like the first half but the USA did seem to have a stronger desire to put forth the energy to score. The moment finally came in the 62nd minute as Sam Coffey was fed a ball inside the 18 when China filed to clear a corner. She lofted it over the head of Xu Huan to even the score.

Time and again, the USA has shown that sometimes it just takes the first goal to get the ball rolling into the net some more. That seemed to be the case tonight as Jaedyn Shaw pounced on a loose ball near the penalty spot to make it 2-1.

That Shaw scored the go-ahead goal in front of her hometown fans made it an especially great moment for the 19 year-old.

The score would remain the same for the next 10 minutes and the USWNT ended 2023 on a winning note.