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SheBelieves Cup

Braces by Macario, Pugh lift USA to She Believes Cup title

Washington (AFP) – Catarina Macario and Mallory Pugh each scored two goals, giving the reigning Women’s World Cup champion United States a 5-0 rout over Iceland on Wednesday and the She Believes Cup title.

Macario scored her fourth and fifth goals for the Americans to break open a tight struggle and launch the hosts’ triumph in the trophy-deciding match at Frisco, Texas.

Iceland defeated the Czech Republic and New Zealand in prior matches while the Americans beat the Football Ferns and drew the Czechs, meaning the US women needed a victory to defend their title in the round-robin event.

Macario opened the scoring in the 37th minute when her left-footed blast from the corner of the penalty area banked in off the far post to the left of Iceland goalkeeper Sandra Siguroardottir.

In the 45th minute, a running Macario took a loose ball unguarded to the right of the goal at the edge of the area and lofted a right-footed shot into the far side of the goal to give the Americans a 2-0 half-time lead.

Pugh added goals in the 60th and 75th minutes and Kristie Mewis netted another in the 88 to boost the US victory margin.

The US women stretched their home soil unbeaten streak to 65 matches, including 58 triumphs and seven draws.

They have kept 17 straight home clean sheets since last surrendering a goal in a 3-1 win over Japan in 2020’s She Believes Cup.

The Czechs and New Zealand played to a goal-less draw in Wednesday’s other match.

The She Believes Cup serves as a warm-up for the Americans, who will compete in a July qualifying tournament in Mexico for next year’s Women’s World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

– Rebuilding trust –

US Soccer Federation president Cindy Parlow Cone said Wednesday the $24 million settlement reached with the US women’s national team Tuesday that ensured equal pay moving forward was “a huge win for everyone.”

“I’m just proud we finally got to this moment,” Cone said. “A lot of this is moving past the contentious relationship we’ve had with the players. Now we can begin to work to rebuild their trust.”

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