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Swanson scores again as US beat Brazil to clinch SheBelieves Cup

In-form Mallory Swanson scored again as the United States beat Brazil 2-1 to clinch a fourth straight SheBelieves Cup crown Wednesday.

Striker Swanson has now netted in six matches in a row, the longest such run for the US women since Christen Press did the same from November 2019 to February 2020.

Swanson is hitting form at the right time, with the top-ranked United States preparing to defend their crown in July’s Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

The 24-year-old scored twice in the tournament opener against Canada and again in the 1-0 win over Japan. She kept her streak going with a 63rd-minute strike that put the United states up 2-0.

She seized on a through ball from Rose Lavelle and fired past Brazilian goalkeeper Lorena.

Alex Morgan had put the United States ahead in first-half stoppage time, curling a left-footed shot past Lorena.

Brazil clawed back a goal in the 90th minute as substitute Ludmila headed past Alyssa Naeher — the first goal conceded by the USA in 2023.

It wasn’t enough to stop the tournament hosts from winning the event for the sixth time overall.

Japan snatched second place on goal difference after snapping a four-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over Olympic champions Canada earlier Wednesday.

Brazil were third and Canada were fourth. It was a disappointing end to a turbulent tournament for the Canadians, who were playing amid their ongoing dispute with their federation over pay and conditions in which they are seeking parity with the men’s team.

Swanson said the tournament had been a good chance for younger US players to gain experience and stake their claims to World Cup spots.

“I think it’s just overall a really good experience for everyone, especially some of the younger girls that don’t have as much experience,” she said. “They played a lot of minutes.”

Brazil applied plenty of pressure in a frenetic first half. After American Crystal Dunn’s shot in the fourth minute bounced off a Brazilian defender and off the post, Brazil saw Bia Zaneratto and Debinha both come close in the eighth minute.

Morgan went wide off a cross from Lindsay Horan and Brazil’s Kerolin went just wide with an angled shot on the half-hour mark.

Morgan’s goal to send the US into the interval ahead was “huge,” Swanson said.

“We needed the momentum to kind of shift.”

Brazil did all they could to shift it back, but Adriana’s fierce shot from outside the area bounced off the crossbar in the 48th. By the time Ludmila broke through it was too late — Swanson had already struck again.

Putting away chances

“I’m really just trying to focus on being present and taking it day by day, game by game,” she said, “and when I do find myself inside the 18 just putting away the chances that I’m given.”

Japan will be breathing a sigh of relief after ending a four-match skid that included defeats to England and Spain last November.

They broke out in a big way with goals from Kiko Seike, Yui Hasegawa and Jun Endo.

Seiki fired Japan ahead in the 26th minute against Canada, slotting in after  a cross from Rikako Kobayashi.

Hasegawa converted a penalty after Kadeisha Buchanan’s clumsy tackle on Endo, and Endo capped the scoring with a left-footed blast in the 77th minute.

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