Scotland slip to narrow defeat against world champions USA

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Kirsty Smith fouled Mallory Pugh to concede a penalty, but the USA missed the spot kick

Scotland delivered a spirited display against world champions the United States in Paisley, but were unable to avoid a first defeat in six games.

Shelley Kerr’s side performed stoutly against the world’s best, who had won the previous four meetings.

However, slack marking allowed Alex Morgan to volley in a Mallory Pugh cross from the right after 39 minutes.

Pugh won a penalty just after the hour, but Carli Lloyd scudded the spot kick against the bar in front of 3,790 fans.

Scotland’s best effort – as they chased an unlikely equaliser – was a Lana Clelland drive that was pushed past a post.

The Scots will now turn their attentions to the World Cup draw on 8 December as they wait to find out who they will face in their debut in the competition.

Composed Scots acquit themselves well

Scotland started boldly. Winger Claire Emslie surprising the visitors as she charged through the American defence to show the Scots were not just here for appearances.

But Morgan’s showed how dangerous the US can be with a weaving run, only for Pugh to hesitate slightly to spurn an effort at goal.

While the Scots were outplayed at times, they kept their composure and created chances of their own, with a Cuthbert corner nearly finding its way into the net when the US failed to clear.

Captain Rachel Corsie’s experience of playing in the American top flight showed alongside Jennifer Beattie at centre-back but they could not reach the break unscathed.

Pugh angled in a teasing cross from the right and Orlando Pride’s Morgan had far too much room to calmly side-foot in her 98th international goal.

Kerr’s side started the second half in a similarly energetic fashion, but Vittsjo’s Shannon Lynn – and interval replacement for Lee Alexander in goal – had to leap into action to fend off a Julie Ertz low shot.

A slight clip of Pugh’s heels by substitute Kirsty Smith almost gifted the US a second, but Lloyd struck the cross bar and let the Scots off the hook.

The world champions did not relent but found themselves fruitlessly battering off a stubborn and organised Scotland side, who looked increasingly optimistic in their attack.

Fiorentina’s Clelland came close to an equaliser, with the ball falling to her wrong foot as the Scots searched for an equaliser.

Scotland made chances in the final 20 minutes

‘Scotland deserved a draw’ – analysis

Former Scotland captain Willie Miller on BBC Radio Scotland

I thought the last 15-20 minutes was fantastic. I wondered if Shelley Kerr would change the shape a little bit and get more bodies forward – and she certainly did – but could she have done it earlier?

On the evidence of what she’s seen, if she comes up against the USA in the future she might just do it a bit earlier because they looked a bit rattled at the back and weren’t comfortable handling the questions Scotland were posing in the last 20 minutes.

Scotland were really unlucky not to get something out of the game. On the second-half performance, they deserved a draw.

Former Scotland striker Julie Fleeting on BBC Radio Scotland

The biggest difference over the last few years is that we have a full squad of real athletes. The fact we were pushing the USA until the 90th minute proves that.

Every one of those players believes in Shelley. She has them all where she wants them and they listen to her and respect her. There’s an awful lot of hard work for that to happen.

After tonight’s performance the player can go into each game confident they can compete at that level and whoever Scotland get drawn against, they will be prepped and ready to go.



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