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USWNT, Canada to renew rivalry in SheBelieves Cup final

Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF / Getty Images Sport / Getty

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Lindsey Horan converted a second-half penalty to give the United States a 2-1 win over Japan on Saturday in the SheBelieves Cup.

Japan had taken the lead after just 30 seconds but Jaedyn Shaw levelled in the 21st minute before Horan's spot kick in the 77th minute.

The match, at Atlanta's Mercedes Benz Stadium drew a crowd of 50,644, the largest crowd ever for a USA women's team friendly and the biggest crowd for any of the team's games on home soil since the 1999 World Cup final.

The Americans will now face regional rivals Canada in Tuesday's final. The Canadians defeated Brazil 4-2 on penalties to win Saturday's second semi-final after the score finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

USA interim head coach Twila Kilgore left Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Korbin Albert out of the starting line-up after a row over social media posts from the player.

The 20-year-old Albert apologised after sharing content, including a religious video about transgender and LGBTQ issues, which was heavily criticised by former player Megan Rapinoe.

The retired former captain of the team, known for her activism, suggested that the content was contributing to 'hate' against the LGBTQ community.

Albert came on as part of a triple change in the 78th minute with the Americans already in the lead.

The huge crowd were quickly silenced when Japan scored on their first attack. Momoko Tanikawa fed Kiko Seike down the right and her low shot flew in off the inside of the post.

Striker Mallory Swanson, returning to the side after a year out with injury which cost her a place in the World Cup, went close with a left-foot shot which was cleared off the line by Japan defender Miyabi Moriya.

But the Americans, who had been on top, got on level terms when Sam Coffey won the ball in midfield, burst forward and then slipped a pass inside to Shaw who fired home with a low drive into the corner.

The goal was Shaw's fifth in her last five games for the national team.

Swanson went close again when Horan surged from midfield and threaded a pass through to the striker but Japan keeper Ayaka Yamashita was off her line quickly to smother the ball.

After the break, Trinity Rodman forced Yamashita into action again with a fierce drive that the keeper did well to parry out.

The Americans pushed hard for a winner with Swanson wasting a good opportunity, screwing a shot wide after good work from Sophia Smith to set her up.

It was Smith who won the penalty, dribbling into the box before she was brought down by Hina Sugita and Horan buried the spot kick into the bottom corner.

Kilgore, who will hand over the reins of the team to English coach Emma Hayes in June, praised the response to the early Japan goal.

"I just can't speak any more highly of this group. They continue to deal with anything which is in front of them," she said.

"Japan is a world class team and to do what they did today, especially after almost starting the game a goal down essentially, it is a mark of who they are and what they are willing to do to get the job done," added Kilgore.

The USA now face Olympic champions Canada in Tuesday's final in Columbus, Ohio.

Canada, beaten by the USA in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup last month, came from behind to book their place in the final.

Brazil's Tarciane fired the South Americans into a 1-0 lead from the penalty spot after 22 minutes but Vanessa Gilles leveled for Canada 13 minutes from time.

The game went straight to penalties after 90 minutes, and it was Canada who held their nerve in the shoot-out.

Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan saved Marta's spot-kick and then Brazil defender Antonia pulled her penalty wide before Julia Grosso stepped up to fire Canada into the final.

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