Morgan now has 46 goals in 72 appearances for the United States. She passed Julie Foudy on the all-time scoring chart, moving into 10th. Morgan hadn’t scored in any competition since August 4, 2013, when she scored for her club, Portland Thorns FC.
“I wasn’t expecting a lot out of her when I initially came in, but through the camp she’s done really well in the game, she’s improved,” U.S. head coach Jill Ellis said. “I’m just really pleased for her; she’s worked very, very hard to come back from this.”
France midfielder Amandine Henry looked like she would end the United States’ historic home unbeaten run with a 68th minute shot that beat U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Starting goalkeeper Hope Solo missed the match due to a family commitment.
Louisa Necib gave France the lead in the 27th minute, finishing a penalty kick after being brought down in the box by Harris.
“It’s one of those things that she knows she can’t beat me,” Harris said. “She can’t go through me, she can’t go around me, so like any forward they are going to touch it out of bounds and just flop, so that’s what she did.”
The goal gave France a confidence boost and saw the visitors dominate much of the possession following the goal. Eugénie Le Sommer and Gaëtane Thiney dropped deeper into the midfield from their forward roles to get on the ball, and Necib and Elise Bussaglia pushed forward.
“Before coming here, I told the players it is very important to come here and see the difference in level, if there is a big difference or not,” France coach Phillipe Bergeroo said postgame, via a translator. “We see we are lower, but not too far. It is still a lower level, but getting closer and closer.”
The U.S. played direct soccer for much of the first half, unsuccessfully looking to play Sydney Leroux in over the top. France center backs Laura Georges and Renard thwarted three 1-v-1 U.S. chances in the first half with relative ease.
Thanks in part to five second-half substitutions, the U.S. settled down in the final 45 minutes and stymied the French attack.
“Overall, our ball movement was better in the second half and I think we stepped the line a little bit defensively,” Ellis said. “Then obviously in the attack I think we were able to play out a little bit better. There were some good adjustments; they did well.”
The Americans last lost at home on Nov. 6, 2004, falling 3-1 to Denmark in Philadelphia.