Matildas score late to share spoils with US women

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NEWCASTLE, Australia (AP) — A late goal by Kyah Simon earned Australia a fortunate 1-1 draw against the world champion United States and denied the American women a second win in the two-game series on Tuesday.

The U.S. scored early again through Ashley Hatch and created the best attacking chances but paid the price for not converting. Simon’s strike in the 88th minute gave the Matildas a morale-boosting draw against the world's top-ranked team.

The Americans' star midfield of captain Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle didn't have the influence they enjoyed in the first game won 3-0, and coach Vlatko Andonovski defended them.

“It’s not an easy task to come here against a super good team in a hostile environment,” Andonovski said. “We had the opportunity to create opportunities a little bit faster but they chose to break them down a little bit more.

“But it was a good opportunity to try new things and I was happy they were brave to try something like that and happy with the outcome that we had.”

After scoring after just 24 seconds on Saturday in Sydney, in their first appearance in Australia since 2000, the Americans took just over three minutes to take the lead in Newcastle. Hatch again took advantage of some poor Maltidas defending to bag her second career goal in as many matches.

Australia’s Tameka Yallop turned over possession cheaply which led to Lynn Williams threading a pass to Margaret Purce, who calmly played the ball into the path of Hatch to finish coolly past Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

Australia almost leveled in the 20th when Kyra Cooney-Cross' volley from the edge of the box hit the post.

Lynn Williams started the second half as she did the first, tormenting the Matildas defense, and only a fine diving save by Lydia Williams denied the American a goal almost an hour in.

“The last game, their goalkeeper kept them in the game. In this game, our goalkeeper kept us in the game," Australia coach Tony Gustavsson said.

Sam Kerr, third in Ballon d’Or voting on Monday for the world's best female player, was kept largely in check by the American defense which swarmed her nearly every time she found possession. But the Chelsea star set up Simon in the 88th.

Simon's strike deflected off substitute Becky Sauerbrunn and wrong-footed goalkeeper Casey Murphy to the delight of the near capacity crowd of 20,495.

Kerr, with 49 goals for the Matildas, still needs two more to overtake Tim Cahill and become Australia’s top goalscorer in men’s or women’s internationals.

The U.S. has won the Women's World Cup four times, including the last time in France in 2019. Australia and New Zealand will co-host the next World Cup in 2023, with the tournament’s first match scheduled in just under 600 days from Tuesday.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Keiran Smith, The Associated Press

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