U.S. held to draw by Japan in Algarve Cup opener

The Sports NetworkMarch 5, 2014 

Parchal, Portugal (SportsNetwork.com) - Aya Miyama scored on a free kick in the 83rd minute to help Japan claim a 1-1 draw with the United States women's national team in the opening match of the Algarve Cup for both sides on Wednesday.

The Americans grabbed the lead in the 59th minute through Sydney Leroux, but Miyama's goal forced the U.S. to settle for a point, with the team's next match coming on Friday against Sweden.

After a first half that saw the U.S. generate the majority of the scoring chances, the team finally found the breakthrough in the 59th when Japan goalkeeper Erina Yamane was lazy in making a clearance.

Yamane took a pass back from a Japan defender, but allowed Leroux to close her down and her attempted clearance struck Leroux and rebounded into the net.

Leroux nearly handed her team a two-goal lead when she fired a shot off the post from outside the penalty area, while Japan threw players forward in the final 10 minutes in an effort to grab the tying goal.

A free kick seven minutes from time handed Miyama a dangerous chance and she made the most of it by sending a curling shot past goalkeeper Hope Solo.

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