Morgan nets brace as U.S. draws with France

The USA's Alex Morgan (pictured) In action during an international women's friendly against visiting France at Rentschler Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut, on June 19, 2014. (Photo: Andrew Katsampes/

EAST HARTFORD, Connecticut – Alex Morgan struck late for her second goal of the evening to give the United States a 2-2 draw against France in a women’s international friendly on Thursday in front of 14,695 fans at Rentschler Field.

In the 85th minute, Morgan received a quickly taken throw-in from Tobin Heath on the left and slalomed her way towards the middle of the French box.  As she approached the penalty spot, the 24-year-old snapped a right-footed shot that goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi got a foot on, but could not prevent from finding the back of the net.

France took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute, when outstretched U.S. goalkeeper Ashlynn Harris tripped up Louisa Necib as both raced for a ball at the upper-left corner of the six-yard box.  Referee Quetzali Alvarado pointed to the spot and Necib fired straight down the middle to convert the penalty.

In only her second appearance since recovering from an ankle injury that kept her sidelined for seven months, Morgan replaced Heather O’Reilly at half-time.  The Portland Thorns star got into the swing of things immediately, taking only 11 minutes to level the score.

After receiving a short pass from Allie Long in the middle of the field, Morgan turned, took a few touches and drilled a left-footed shot from 25-yards out that hit the left post before crossing the line.  It was her first goal since recording a brace against Canada on June 2, 2013.

France stayed on the front foot, however, and was rewarded for its defensive commitment in the 68th minute.

Once Heath was dispossessed at midfield under extreme pressure, Amandine Henry started and completed a scoring sequence to give the French a 2-1 lead.  Henry ignited an attack that saw the ball move into the left side of the U.S. box.  Ali Krieger broke up the play, only to see her clearance settle on the foot of Henry, who slammed an effort just inside the right post.  The ball took a deflection off a U.S. defender to wrong-foot Harris.

Three minutes after Morgan knotted the score, Harris preserved the result by thwarting Gaetane Thiney’s one-on-one opportunity despite absorbing a hard hit in the process.

Currently, the U.S. has no scheduled friendlies ahead of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, the Confederation’s final round of qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

NOTES: The U.S. extended its record home unbeaten streak to 84 games, posting a 74-0-10 record since November. 6, 2004.