US and Japan Battle to a Draw
by Chris Brown
June 2, 2016 – The past two Women’s World Champions met at Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park in Commerce City, Colorado, for the first time since the two sides met in the 2015 World Cup final in an international friendly.
On that occasion the Stars and Stripes came away with the win and the cup after a 5-2 victory thanks to a first half Carly Lloyd hat trick and goals from Lauren Holiday and Julie Johnston.
The US and Japan met in three finals from 2011 to 2015, with Japan winning the 2011 World Cup and the USA winning the 2012 Olympic Gold and the 2015 World Cup.
For the US, they are without the 2015 Women’s Player of the Year as Carly Lloyd is still recovering from an MCL strain she suffered while playing for the Houston Dash on April 23rd.
Japan recently failed to qualify, out a very difficult qualifying group, for the 2016 Olympics in Rio and have subsequently fallen from fourth in FIFA’s world rankings to seventh. Head Coach Norio Sasaki stepped aside in the wake of the failure and Japan went on to appoint Asako Takakura, the first female coach of the Japanese Women’s first team.
The US had the better of early possession as the American wingers were able to find space