US women's soccer team wins first W Gold Cup after beating Brazil in final

 The United States women's soccer team won the first-ever Concacaf W Gold Cup on Sunday following a 1-0 victory over Brazil at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California.

image source

USA captain Lindsey Horan scored the only goal of the game with a brilliant header at the back post just moments before halftime.

It was far from a classic performance by the USA, which is undergoing something of a rebuild after last year's World Cup disappointment, but it did enough to keep Brazil out during a tight final.

"This is a group that is moving forward together, that still wants more time together. It's time to get back into the club [seasons] for them and do those things, but we really enjoy being together and feel like we're just getting started," the coach said. interim Twila Kilgore after the win, according to ESPN.

"This is a group that is just getting started."

All of the U.S. players celebrated on the field at the end of the game, as the 31,528 spectators in attendance cheered.

It wasn't an easy road to the title for the USA.

On Wednesday, the team beat Canada in a penalty shootout in the semifinal with the game being played on a very soggy field in San Diego after heavy rain in the buildup. As a result, huge sections of standing water affected the path of the ball and the players' ability to run with it at their side, with both spectators and Canada's head coach calling the game "unplayable."

The US women's team learned many lessons in this tournament. They learned that they can be outplayed on the field by a team like Mexico if they are not careful. They also learned that they can rely on their defense, but that was never really in doubt as defense was not the problem in last year's World Cup.

They learned they can trust some of their younger players. Korbin Albert has shown the ability to shake things up in midfield. Sophia Smith and Trinity Rodman appear to have overcome any disappointment from last year.

Yes, they could create a little more. This team needs Rose Lavelle for 90 minutes per game, or at least 75 or so. This team could use a more experienced player in a defensive midfield role to free up Lindsey Horan to lurk further up the pitch. Alex Morgan still has bursts of speed, but perhaps that could be better in a backup role.

But the big takeaway tonight shouldn't be how this game prepares the U.S. for the Olympics. This tournament brought together the best teams from Concacaf (except Jamaica, whose qualifying effort was halted in a player protest) and South America, and delivered outstanding games. The result won't add another star to the US shield, but this trophy is well worth celebrating on its own.

So if you're wondering if the US women's team can bounce back from last year, the answer is that they already have. Let's go back to where we started three hours ago. This game had the hallmarks of the 2008 Olympic final, when the USA earned what I consider the most surprising victory in their history, beating a dazzling Brazilian team 1-0.

The odds probably weren't that stacked against the US here tonight. For starters, this game was in San Diego, not Beijing, and you have to give credit to Honduran referee Melissa Borjas for not being intimidated by the partisan home crowd. But if you watched the semifinals, you couldn't be blamed for thinking this game was one Brazil had at least a 50-50 chance of winning.

But the US has been clinical here. Give it a half chance, and they stop it. Get a half chance, and finish it.

This was not domination, far from it. But at no point were U.S. women hanging on for dear life. The defense conceded nothing. The attack created the right thing.

It's a shame this victory doesn't get the attention it deserves simply because it's not the World Cup or the Olympics. Aside from those major trophies, this could be ranked, should be ranked, as the greatest in the history of U.S. women's soccer.

The U.S. women's national team lifted Concacaf's first W Gold Cup on Sunday, beating Brazil 1-0 in a hard-fought performance that served as a positive sign of progress as the team rebuilds in time for the Olympics.

Captain Lindsey Horan scored the only goal of the game in the first minute of first-half timeout. Sam Coffey was persistent in midfield and won the ball and then sent it towards Trinity Rodman who was sprinting down the right flank. Rodman and