By Mason Cavalier
Boyds, Md. – Washington Spirit players Andi Sullivan, Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh were all picked to start by coach Jill Ellis for the U.S. Women’s National Team’s first game of their European Tour against Portugal.
A close-range finish by Jessica McDonald in the 42nd minute was the only scoring as the U.S. secured a 1-0 win at the Estádio António in Lisbon, Portugal, the 500th win in their history. By securing the shutout, the U.S. extended their clean sheet streak to eight games (797 minutes) and their unbeaten streak to 27 games, going all the way back to July of 2017.
The Spirit midfield pairing of Lavelle and Sullivan made their 19th and 11th appearances for the USA respectively, with Sullivan making her first start since April 5 against Mexico. Lavelle shined during the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, in which she netted the championship-clinching goal.
Pugh, who also played in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, earned her 42nd career cap for the national team, her 13th appearance for the stars and stripes in 2018.
Lavelle and Sullivan controlled the ball in the midfield for the U.S., helping to own 61 percent of the possession in the first half. Lavelle made a crucial defensive play in the 14th minute, blocking an open-net shot from Portugal that threatened to break open the scoring.
Sullivan was substituted for Danielle Colaprico at halftime after a hard-nosed and physical 45 minutes, while Pugh was given a rest in the 73rd minute after a solid showing, subbed off for Emily Sonnett to see the game out. Lavelle played 82 minutes before being switched for Julie Ertz.
The U.S. will play their last game of 2018, a friendly against Scotland, on Tuesday, November 13 at 2 p.m. EST.