Carpenter: Plenty of positives for Westfield Matildas in loss to USA

Canberra United's Ellie Carpenter believes the lessons learned in Friday’s loss to the USA will hold the Westfield Matildas in good stead as they build towards June’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Westfield Matildas led 2-1 early in the second half, but a 17-minute blitz from the world’s No.1-ranked side saw the hosts run out 5-3 winners in a thriller in Denver.

It was Australia’s first loss against the reigning world champions in their last three meetings.

And while admitting to “disappointment and frustration” at the manner of the defeat, Carpenter can see plenty of encouraging signs on the countdown to France.

“We can take positives from how we played in the first half. We kept to the game plan and it was 1-1 at that stage,” she said.

“As a team we’re improving every match. We have our style of play we want to execute and we have to keep working on that.

“But there’s a lot of positives. Lisa [De Vanna’s] goal was amazing with the build-up to that, and a lot of players had great solid games.

“There was just a couple of lapses of concentration that cost us.”

Despite going behind to Alex Morgan’s early strike – the US forward's 100th international goal – Ante Milicic’s side stuck to their task and were level before the break.

Lydia Williams tips a shot over the bar
Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams tips a shot over the bar

De Vanna accompanied the impressive Caitlin Foord on a rapid counter before lashing an unstoppable left-footed effort from the edge of the area into the far top corner.

Foord then did it all herself just after the break to give the Westfield Matildas the lead, but the USA hit back with quick-fire goals from Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe and substitute Mallory Pugh.

Sam Kerr pulled one back with a bullet header to spark hopes of a fightback, only for Pugh to put the result beyond doubt with her second at the death.

“We played very well in patches. We definitely brought it to them and we’re playing our style of play, which is what we want to keep improving on,” said Carpenter, who featured 11 times for Canberra in 2018/19's Westfield W-League.

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“It’s disappointing and also frustrating we lost and conceded five goals, especially considering how we played in parts of the match.

We put ourselves up there in the top 10 in the world and we know what we’re capable of,” added the teenage right-back, who pulled off a heroic goal-line clearance in the first half.

“There was some moments in the game where we weren’t at our best and we copped goals.

“We can’t do that, so we still have a few things to work on. But overall it was a pretty good performance and what we wanted to execute we did… but not in some parts.”

Alanna Kennedy makes a brilliant tackle against the USA on Friday
Alanna Kennedy makes a brilliant tackle against the USA on Friday