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United States' Megan Rapinoe, center, celebrates with Samantha Mewis, left, and Crystal Dunn after scoring a goal against China during the first half of an international friendly soccer match Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/Associated Press

The United States women’s national team defeated China 2-1 in a friendly Tuesday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring in the 35th minute, with Tobin Heath delivering the winning goal in the 75th minute. It’s the United States’ second win over China in less than a week after the national team earned a 1-0 victory on June 7.

U.S. Still Looking for Cohesion Ahead of World Cup Qualifiers

The United States looked better Tuesday night than it did in its previous friendly with China, but the team is still lacking the fluidity necessary to be firing on all cylinders.

Although China isn’t a pushover on the national stage, the squad isn’t among the world’s elite either, sitting 17th in the FIFA ranking. A 3-1 score line over two matches is far from an emphatic result, and the United States ended up with the same number of shots on target as China (eight) during the friendlies.

It’s hard to blame coach Jill Ellis too much, though, when the point of friendlies is largely to experiment with the lineup and make mid-game adjustments:

But the United States is bound to make some mistakes as Ellis finds which starting XI best suits the talent at her disposal.

China’s only goal was a perfect example of that, as Becky Sauerbrunn and Tierna Davidson, the latter of whom was making her seventh USWNT appearance, went to clear the ball at midfield at the same time. That allowed Tingting Li to have acres of space down the left flank before finding Li Ying for an equalizer in the 72nd minute.

What’s Next?

The United States kicks off the Tournament of Nations on July 26 against Japan in Kansas City, Kansas. The USWNT will also play Australia and Brazil during the event, so the tournament will provide the squad with much-needed experience ahead of qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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