Nashville, TN: It was a picture-perfect day to see USA defeat Japan in the SheBelieves Cup match played at the gorgeous new Geodis Park in Nashville.

The Women’s World Cup in New Zealand is still several months away, but the USWNT is rounding into form nicely. Last year featured a rough patch for Team USA as they lost three straight games for the first time in decades. This year however has gotten off to a flying start.

The USWNT opened the year with a pair of friendly wins in New Zealand. They then turned their attention to the SheBelieves Cup. They started that campaign with a 2-0 win over Canada.

SheBelieves Cup

The SheBelieves Cup began in 2016, and has been hosted in the US every year. Since then, the USWNT has won the event five times, including the last three. Their title defense is going quite well. They dismantled Canada, the reigning Olympic champions, in their opener before turning in a professional and defensive performance against Japan in their second game. Their final game is against Brazil in Frisco, TX on Wednesday.

The US was far from dominant against the Japanese. However, there were stretches in the first half of the game where Japan imposed their will on the game. Even after falling behind, they created a number of chances in the second half that either hit the crossbar or took wild deflections in the box that could have gone anywhere.

The Japanese also forced two different point-blank saves from Casey Murphy in the last 10 minutes of the game but could not find the back of the net.

Mallory Swanson is unstoppable right now

Nobody is in better form for the USWNT right now that Mallory Swanson. She has scored in five straight games dating back to last November. In those five games, she’s bagged seven goals.

Her goal against Japan was fabulous as it was totally against the run of play. It saw her just blow right past a Japanese defender on a long ball, and scored with aplomb from eight yards out to give the US a lead they would not relinquish.

USA defeat Japan SheBelieves Cup in Geodis Park’s international debut

The largest, and one of the newest, soccer-specific stadiums in the US hosted its first ever international game on Sunday. Geodis Park opened in Nashville in the spring of 2022 with a capacity of 30,000. During its inaugural season it played host only to Nashville SC games (both in MLS and the US Open Cup). But the SheBelieves Cup was the first international event, and it was a success with the US game against Japan drawing a crowd of 25,471.

Nashville has proven to be a favorite destination of US Soccer’s so it’s a good bet that Geodis Park may play host to both USMNT and USWNT events again in the future.

Photo: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo