Alex Morgan, USWNT vs. Ireland, 11.28.12
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Thorns FC International Notebook: Morgan guides U.S. WNT to ninth Algarve Cup championship

It was quite the Algarve Cup for members of Portland Thorns FC. After defender Rachel Buehler earned her 100th cap on March 6 and scored the opening goal of a 3-0 win against Iceland, forward Alex Morgan scored two goals to help the U.S. Women’s National Team clinch its ninth championship in the Algarve Cup with a 2-0 win against Germany in the final on Wednesday. Morgan tallied in the 13th and 34th minutes, finishing the tournament with three goals. Morgan also scored the game-tying goal on March 11 against Sweden in the final group-stage game for the United States and registered four assists overall during the competition.

The brace in the championship match brought Morgan’s international goal-scoring total to 41, making her one of just 12 players to record 40 or more career goals for the United States.

“It felt really good to get a good rhythm and score a couple goals,” Morgan told following the final. “Yesterday I was at the press conference and a reporter asked me if I hope to score, and I said as a forward, I always hope to score and maybe a couple and it actually came true. I got two in and almost a third, but most importantly we won the tournament. The team had a good run and I’m really proud of all the girls.”

Former University of Portland standout midfielder Megan Rapinoe was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The Mexico Women’s National Team joined the United States in Portugal for the Algarve Cup and earned an eighth-place finish with a 3-0 loss to Denmark on Wednesday. Thorns FC defender Marlene Sandoval started and played 90 minutes in two of Mexico’s four matches.

Canada earns second-place finish at annual Cyprus Cup

The Canada Women’s National Team, which features Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair and goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, reached its third consecutive Cyprus Cup championship match following a 1-0 win on Monday against the Netherlands. Sinclair, who earlier scored goals against Finland (March 8) and the Netherlands (March 11) to lead Canada to the title match, started and played 90 minutes as Canada finished the tournament in second place with a 1-0 loss against England on Wednesday.

Canada had beaten England 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the London 2012 Olympics, bouncing the host nation from an opportunity to earn a medal in front of its home fans. Nine players on each side who started in the Olympics also started in Wednesday’s match.

In the Cyprus Cup’s six editions all-time (the tournament began in 2008), Canada has never finished outside of the top two positions.

Thorns FC goalkeeper LeBlanc started and played the opening 45 minutes of a 2-1 win against Finland on March 8.