Havertown’s Sinead Farrelly and Sellersville’s Marissa Sheva started for Ireland against the U.S. Women’s National Team at Q2 Stadium Saturday afternoon. Farrelly, making her first appearance, played as a wide right midfielder and Sheva, earning her second cap, played wide left in a 5-4-1 formation.
The U.S. scored once in both halves. Emily Fox scored in the first half and Lindsey Horan scored a penalty in the second, but the win may be overshadowed by the loss of Mallory Swanson, who was carted off at the end of the first half with a knee injury.
Ireland were content with dropping back and conceding possession in the game’s opening minutes, and Farrelly, who matched up against Crystal Dunn, had a chance going forward early that was stalled by the U.S. defense. Sheva faced Fox and Spirit teammate Andi Sullivan down the left side and spent much of the game defending waves of U.S. possession. Ireland, posting seven clean sheets in a row, including a 0-0 draw against China in February, had the better chances in the first twenty minutes. Defender
Louise Quinn’s header in the 19th minute was cleared off the line by Alex Morgan. Five minutes later, Kyra Carusa deflected a low cross that Naeher swiped away. Denise O’Sullivan, making her 100th appearance for Ireland, followed up with a shot from the penalty spot that was blocked in front. Two more blocked shots led to a long clearance and a near counter from the U.S. that just missed Swanson in front of goal. Rose Lavelle came alive in the 36th minute, beating multiple Irish defenders down the left side before she found Sophia Smith inside the box. But the American forward’s shot was saved by Brosnan.
Fox opened the scoring a minute later when she found the ball thirty yards out. The U.S. defender dribbled forward, releasing a powerful low shot from the top of the box that beat Brosnan to the bottom corner. Sullivan assisted on Fox’s goal.
The U.S. team was dealt a major blow five minutes from the half when Swanson grabbed her knee following a challenge near midfield. The young forward was carted off the field after several minutes on the ground being treated by the U.S. training staff. Minutes later, Carusa appeared to have the equalizer but was a yard offside before heading home a cross by Heather Payne.
Ireland opened the second half on the offensive, and it was Farrelly again as the provider, but her cross to Carusa was blocked near the penalty spot. Over ten minutes later, Trinity Rodman, on for the injured Swanson, had two chances to add to the U.S. lead. She had a good look in the 57th minute when she found herself free to goal, but her shot sailed over the bar. A minute later, she got on the end of Dunn’s cross, but Brosnan saved her low header.
Farrelly was one of two Ireland sub in the 60 th minute, giving way to Áine O’Gorman. The 33-year-old Gotham midfielder looked sharp in her debut but is still working her way back into competitive soccer.
After a number of subs from both sides, Lavelle nearly scored a second for the U.S. Ashley Hatch, in for Morgan, laid a ball off to Lavelle at the top of the box, but Lavelle’s shot glanced off Brosnan’s fingertips and the post. A minute later, Lavelle had another shot following a scramble in the box, but her shot was blocked in front.
The U.S. ramped up the pressure throughout the remaining twenty minutes, carrying much of the play inside Ireland’s half. Ireland found themselves on the defensive again in the 79th minute when Diane Caldwell pulled down Lindsay Horan inside the box after an entry pass from Ertz.
Horan converted the penalty, but Brosnan got her hand on it before it found the corner. The U.S. continued to pounce on the fatigued visitors. Four minutes later, Smith’s strike from distance forced Brosnan into a long rebound that Hatch couldn’t reach. Sheva came off five minutes from the end for eighteen year-old Tara O’Hanlon. Sheva, the former PSU track star, was busy covering acres of ground all game as the U.S. built strong attacks down the sides.
The U.S. resumed with Smith coming close in the final minute, but once against Brosnan was up to the challenge corralling her close-range shot. The two teams will meet again on Tuesday April 11 th in St. Louis at City Park. Kickoff is scheduled
for 7:30 and will be broadcast on HBO Max and Peacock.
USA: Fox 37’
USA: Horan 80’
IRL: Mannion 31’
USA: Ertz 72’
U.S: Naeher, Fox, Girma, Sauerbrunn, Dunn, Lavelle, Sullivan, Horan, Smith, Swanson, Morgan
Subs: French, Murphy, Sonnett, Cook, Korniek, Ertz, Mewis, Huerta, Sanchez, Williams, Hatch,
Ireland: Brosnan, Caldwell, Quinn, Connolly, Mannion, Farrelly, O’Sullivan, McCabe, Payne,
Subs: Moloney, Walsh, Scott, Stapleton, O’Riordan, Littlejohn, Barrett, McLaughlin, O’Gorman,
Lu Quinn, Nolan, Larkin, Grant, O’Hanlon