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USWNT vs. China review: A night to remember for rising star Jaedyn Shaw

After what has been a disappointing year for the United States Women's National Team, they managed to win back-to-back games against China with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.

The US have been building confidence back up after a round of 16 exit at the 2023 World Cup and showed good character to respond to going behind against the Chinese at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

It was certainly a night to remember for Jaedyn Shaw, as the 19-year-old had a dream goal-scoring performance in her hometown in her very first start for the senior side.

Hosts show character to bounce back

Looking like the game was drifting into a goalless stalemate at the break, the home crowd was stunned when Shen Mengyu found the back of the net for the visitors.

The Chinese fans might well have been just as surprised, as the team had failed to score in any of their seven previous games. This was just the third goal China had scored in the entirety of 2023.

There were bound to have been some harsh words at halftime from interim USA boss Twila Kilgore after what was a somewhat lackluster first 45 minutes from the hosts.

The US failed to find their rhythm in the opening exchanges of the second half before the favorites sprang into life, as they found an equalizer in the 62nd minute thanks to Samantha Coffey.

Shaw was then on hand to steal the show and the headlines, as the 19-year-old scored in the 79th minute to put the US in front for the first time in the contest.

It was the teenager’s very first start for the senior side and she did not look out of place on the big stage at Toyota Stadium.

In a year that has been one largely to forget for the USWNT, the discovery of Shaw has to be one of the highlights, with a potential big star in the making.

China could not find a way back into the contest and it was the US who were celebrating come the full-time whistle in Frisco, as they ended their 2023 schedule on a high note.

Kilgore eager to keep rising star grounded

While the hype is growing surrounding the future of Shaw, interim boss Kilgore has been happy to keep the forward from San Diego Wave grounded.

From the age of 14 Shaw’s talents have been well documented and she was even invited to train with Paris Saint-Germain at the age of 15.

With the Olympics taking place in Paris next year, Kilgore believes Shaw can feature in the major event, but the youngster must maintain her standards to be selected.

"Something we talk a lot about is just doing the next right thing," Kilgore said.

"She's somebody that should have her sights on the Olympics, but the next step to that is simply to show up in the next camp and give her best. And in order to do that, she's going to have to be well-prepared at home.

"But first she's going to rest."

Shaw could be key to US revival

The US are looking to the next generation to take the national side forward after what was a disappointing World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this year.

After winning their opening game 3-0 against Vietnam in Auckland, the US went on to draw with the Netherlands, before playing out a 0-0 draw against Portugal to scrape their way through to round of 16.

That was where the World Cup journey would end for the US, as they suffered a 5-4 defeat on penalties to Sweden in Melbourne.

The competition was the end of the road for a number of the old guard, with Megan Rapinoe the biggest name to call time on her international career.

Looking ahead to the next World Cup in 2027, the likes of Shaw and other rising stars can have a big role to play in the major tournament.

The 2-1 win on Wednesday over China was another stepping stone for Shaw and this US team, as they continue their transition after the disappointment of the 2023 World Cup.

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