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U.S. Women's soccer team ties France at the Rent

POSTED June 20, 2014
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

EAST HARTFORD - France made the U.S. Women's national team work but Alex Morgan helped make sure it's long unbeaten string stayed in tact.

Coming on as a sub to start the second half, Morgan scored a pair of goals and the U.S. ran its home unbeaten streak to 84 games with a 2-2 tie with France on Thursday night at Rentschler Field.

France led 1-0 at the half and 2-1 with about 22 minutes to play but was unable to hand the Americans their first home loss since November of 2004. The U.S. Is 73-0-11 during the streak, including a 3-0-2 at Rentschler Field.

"I thought it was a great show of character," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. "Overall in the second half we stepped it up. I was really pleased with some of the adjustments and som of the things we did."

The main thing the U.S. did was get one of it's most lethal offensive weapons back on the field in Morgan. With Abby Wambach sitting out the game with a knee injury, Morgan's offensive skill was much needed after a first half that saw the Americans threaten at times, but fail to connect in the final third.

France took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute on a penalty kick goal by Louisa Necib. France also led 2-1 on a goal by amandine Henry in the 68th minute after the French midfielder intercepted a failed clearance attempt and slotted one home past a diving Ashlyn Harris.

Each time Morgan equalized and her two goals gave her 46 for her U.S. national team career, allowing her to pass Julie Foudy (45 goals) for 10th on the U.S. all-time goal-scoring list.

"It feels good to be back scoring goals," Morgan said.

Morgan was out for seven month with a foot injury that was initially thought to be a sprained ankle but turned into a stress reaction. She got her first action of 2014 with the national team on Saturday in a 1-0 victory over France in Florida, coming on in the second half as a sub.

Trailing 1-0 at the half, Ellis insterted Morgan into the game to start the second half and she found the back of the net not lopng after. Settling a pass in the midfield, Morgan moved to the top of the penalty area and ripped a left-footed shot that glanced off the left post and in to make it 1-0.

She celebrated the goal by going over to the Amercian Outlaws section in the stands and exchanging high fives.

"It felt good to see the ball go in the net," Morgan said. "And I wanted to do something for the Outlaws, it's always good to have their support."

Time was running out on the U.S. after Henry's goal and it looked like the Americans were headed for a rare home loss before Morgan delivered more magic. Taking a throw in from Tobin Heat on the left side, Morgan raced into the box and split a pair of French defenders before putting home her second taly of the game in thr 85th minute.

"After I scored I thought it was a little similar to Clint's goal against Ghana when he split the defender and slotted it home," Morgan said. "All I remember was being on the ground and seeing the ball in the net and I was so happy to tie it up.

The second goal sent the crowd of 14,695 into a frenzy and while the U.S. wasn't able to pull out the win, it was agood night for everyone involved.

Playing without Wambach, goalie Hope Solo and midfielder Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. got some players valuable experience against the fourth-ranked team in the world, while the French showed they can compete with the best.

"This is a great game for us to get ready for World Cup qualification," Morgan said. "You can't get a better team than France to come here to the U.S. and play us twice. There are a lot of positives to take forward from this."

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