The United States Women’s national team beat neighboring Canada on Thursday night in their first match of the SheBelieves Cup. Mallory Swanson’s first half brace was enough to grab the victory on the night. The Yanks now begin the tournament atop the table with the 2-0 win.

Prior to the match, the Americans joined the Canadians in a circle to show solidarity over gender equality. Team Canada previously announced a strike in order to help bridge the wage gap between the men’s and women’s national teams. Both teams would also wear purple tape on their wrists in a symbol of protest.

USWNT on top of Canada from start in SheBelieves Cup

Once the whistle blew, the USWNT were quickly on the front foot. In fact, Alex Morgan nearly put her team ahead with just 12 seconds on the clock. The striker, making her 200th cap with the national team, latched onto a long ball deep into Canadian territory, who then neatly found Lindsey Horan. Horan advanced the ball up to Swanson, but the forward saw her shot well saved by Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheriden.

However, it wouldn’t take much longer for Swanson to get on the scoresheet. The Chicago Red Stars striker scored her first goal of the night in the seventh minute of the match. Morgan recorded an assist on the goal, finding Swanson at the top of the box. Despite being a fairly difficult shot to take, the 24-year-old forward struck the volley perfectly to grab the opening goal of the night.

Striker gets 30th international goal with brace

Swanson collected her first half brace thanks to shaky play out from the back by Canada. Defender Vanessa Gilles attempted a back pass to her keeper while under pressure from Morgan. The pass, however, was not played directly towards the goalie and the Americans took advantage. Swanson collected the loose ball in front of Sheriden and put the ball into the open net.

Brazil also collected three points on the night, as they beat Japan in the match prior to the USWNT-Canada game. Nevertheless, the Americans top the table because Brazil could only win their game by one goal. The USWNT will next face Japan on February 19th. Canada play Brazil on the same night as soon as the American match is over.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire