England Women earned a credible 2-2 draw with World Cup holders USA in their second match at this year’s SheBelieves Cup.
Goals by Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris put Phil Neville’s side ahead after Megan Rapinoe volleyed the hosts into the lead just after the half-hour mark.
Tobin Heath rescued a point for the Stars and Stripes when the Lionesses failed to clear their lines from a corner.
- SheBelieves Cup
- Saturday 2 March
- in Nasville, USA
There were four changes to the starting XI that defeated Brazil 2-1 on Wednesday.
Karen Bardsley replaced Carly Telford in goal, Demi Stokes came in for Alex Greenwood at left-back, Toni Duggan took Karen Carney’s spot out wide, while Rachel Daly came in for Isobel Christiansen, with Lucy Bronze pushed into central midfield.
It was an even contest throughout, evidenced by the fact there were just three minutes between USA’s opener and England’s equaliser.
Kelley O’Hara sent a right-sided cross into the box which Daly headed clear – only for Rapinoe to chest the loose ball down and volley past a helpless Bardsley.
Houghton restored parity almost immediately courtesy of a free kick from inside the box. Duggan rolled the ball to her skipper and the 30-year-old bent a shot into the far corner of Adrianna Franch’s goal.
England tails were up and some wonderful link-up play led to their second goal of the evening.
Bronze found Kirby who played the ball, first-time, round the corner into Parris’s path – and the FA WSL’s all-time top goalscorer drilled home a low, angled effort.
Ellen White, the match-winner when England defeated USA at the SheBelieves Cup two years ago, came close to her second goal in two games but her shot zipped narrowly wide of the upright.
And Heath took full advantage, earning USA a point with a close-range finish from a corner.
England now face a winner-takes-all encounter against 2015 World Cup runners-up Japan in Tampa on Tuesday night.
Neville has lined up four home matches in the build-up to France 2019, against Canada and Spain in April, Euro 2017 runners-up Denmark in May and New Zealand on Saturday 1 June.
Tickets for all four matches are on sale now with children able to attend for just £1.
England (4-4-2): 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City); 17 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 5 Steph Houghton (capt; Manchester City), 6 Abbie McManus (Manchester City), 12 Demi Stokes (Manchester City); 7 Nikita Parris (Manchester City), 2 Lucy Bronze (Lyon), 4 Keira Walsh (Manchester City), 11 Toni Duggan (Barcelona); 10 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 18 Ellen White (Birmingham City).
Substitutes: 22 Beth Mead (Arsenal) for Kirby 73, 19 Georgia Stanway (Manchester City) for White 80, 9 Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign) for Parris 88.
Substitutes not used: 13 Carly Telford (Chelsea), 3 Alex Greenwood (Manchester United), 8 Isobel Christiansen (Lyon), 14 Gemma Bonner (Manchester City), 15 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 16 Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride), 20 Karen Carney (Chelsea), 21 Mary Earps (Wolfsburg), 23 Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City).
Goals: Houghton 36, Parris 52
Head coach: Phil Neville