USWNT defeats Brazil to win inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup

Lindsey Horan celebrates the win against Brazil during the final of the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup at Snapdragon Stadium.
Lindsey Horan celebrates the win against Brazil during the final of the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup at Snapdragon Stadium.

At various points in the Concacaf W Gold Cup, the U.S. women’s national team didn’t appear to have the juice to win in an increasingly competitive regional landscape.

Once the world’s most feared team, the USWNT has looked like a diminished force in recent years. That trend continued at the Gold Cup, particularly in a stunning group-stage loss to Mexico.

But the USWNT kept grinding through this tournament, beating Colombia and Canada in the knockout stage to reach Sunday’s final against Brazil. And though it hardly put together a vintage performance at Snapdragon Stadium, the U.S. managed to do what it has so many times over the years: win a title.

Lindsey Horan scored the game’s only goal just before halftime, giving the USWNT a 1-0 win in the final of the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup.

It was exactly what the USWNT needed in a transition tournament — coming off a disastrous World Cup, coached by an interim in Twila Kilgore, and looking ahead to the Olympics this summer under Emma Hayes.

After a first half that was low on quality and scoring chances from both sides, Horan came through with a clutch goal just before the break.

Trinity Rodman caught up to a long ball and held it up well, finding Emily Fox with a backward pass from the end line. The Arsenal right back floated up a deep cross and Horan simply ran past her marker to head home at the back post.

For a team that had won all five of its Gold Cup games and scored 15 goals in the process, Brazil offered precious little to threaten the USWNT’s goal.

The Seleção controlled possession in the game but struggled to connect passes in the final third throughout. Even as the game entered its closing stages and the USWNT dropped into a more defensive posture, there was little goal threat from the South Americans.

Two late set-piece chances were the best Brazil could get, but neither — including a free kick in perfect goalscoring range from Debinha — produced a shot on target.

Ultimately the final whistle blew with Alyssa Naeher not facing a single shot on target. The USWNT only had three, but it only needed a header from its captain to see out the title.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Concacaf W Gold Cup: USWNT defeats Brazil in final