The USA women’s national team collected their fifth consecutive SheBelieves Cup title on Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio, with a win over Canada. It was the side’s seventh overall triumph at the tournament. Twila Kilgore’s side dramatically won the trophy, as the Americans eventually topped their northern rivals in a penalty shootout.

The Stars and Stripes were led by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and forward Sophia Smith. Naeher made three saves in the shootout, while also converting a spot kick herself. Smith, on the other hand, netted both of her team’s goals in regulation to send the match to the shootout. The striker was named as the SheBelieves Cup MVP for her performance in the massive match.

Canada grabs halftime lead despite early dominance by hosts

The Americans essentially dominated the opening stages of the contest on the night. The ball stayed in Canada’s half for most of the first 10 or 15 minutes of the match. The hosts nearly found a breakthrough in the 29th minute as Alex Morgan and Jaedyn Shaw combined inside the opposition’s box.

Morgan initially headed a pass toward her teammate, who then neatly lobbed a defender and sent a difficult shot on goal. Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, however, made the save to keep the matchup scoreless for the time being.

Despite the early dominance, Canada was able to grab the opening goal of the game. A long ball over the top made Naeher leave her area in an attempt to snuff out the danger. Nevertheless, the ball deflected off of the keeper and fell to the feet of Deanne Rose. The Leicester City forward calmly picked out Adriana Leon, who then sent the ball into the back of the open net.

SheBelieves Cup Final between USA and Canada needs penalties

Although Canada went into the halftime break with a slender lead, the USWNT came out firing in the second period. Sam Coffey gained possession in a dangerous area near the Canadian goal in the 50th minute. The midfielder sent a pass out towards Jaedyn Shaw, where she then picked out match MVP Smith. The stellar striker dribbled past a defender and struck a shot just inside of the left post to level the scoreline.

Smith then gave the Americans the lead 18 minutes later with her second goal of the night. Shaw once again helped create the score, but this time by supplying Trinity Rodman with a pass in opposition territory. Two Canadian defenders moved towards the forward in an attempt to cancel out the play. However, Rodman found Smith racing toward goal and the star converted the opportunity with a shot from eight yards away.

While the Americans looked set to win the game in regulation, Canada earned a penalty kick in the 86th minute. Match referee Crystal Sobers pointed to the spot after Leon was taken down inside the box. The previous Canadian goal scorer stepped up to take the penalty and equalized the score once again.

Canada went ahead in the eventual shootout after Rodman’s effort was saved. Nevertheless, the Americans completed the comeback in the nerve-racking affair thanks to multiple saves by Naeher. Emily Fox netted the tournament-winning goal, as the USWNT triumphed in the shootout by a score of 5-4.

The victory was likely Kilgore’s final match as the team’s interim manager. Emma Hayes is joining the Americans after completing the current campaign with Chelsea. The Blues finish out their 2023/24 season in May and USWNT’s next friendly is against South Korea on June 1.