THERE was no happy ending to the night which saw Denise O’Sullivan become an Irish centurion as the USA won at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Emily Fox and Lindsey Horan spoiled the party and ended an unbeaten 18 months for Vera Pauw and her players.
Ireland still caused a number of problems for the USA, who recently lifted the SheBelieves Cup and the Concacaf W Championship title. They are a team hurtling towards the World Cup with a sense of tunnel vision that only serial winners have.
Ireland had no interest in their aura, as they were chasing their own bit of history against the best team on the planet. They won a corner inside the opening two minutes and Katie McCabe’s ball was headed narrowly over by Louise Quinn.
Once the hosts settled down, there was no clear path to goal and chances were minimal despite the USA having the majority of possession. The best they could do during this phase of the game was a ball that narrowly missed Sophia Smith and a free that Rose Lavelle took.
She managed to pick out Horan but the ball had too much pace on and it narrowly missed the forward.
When Ireland did get forward, they won their second corner of the game and Quinn had a header taken off the line by Lavelle. Megan Connolly then forced a low save from Alyssa Naeher and O’Sullivan tried to score with the rebound. Naomi Girma blocked this and she then stopped Connolly from getting to the loose ball.
McCabe also tried a cross to O’Sullivan at the back post, and this was headed away by the USA before the midfielder could get a touch.
Then Fox got the ball and launched a shot towards goal from 25 yards out. It narrowly beat Courtney Brosnan and the USA took the lead.
An injury to Mallory Swanson led to Vlatko Andonovski bringing on Trinity Rodman, who totally transformed the US attack. She would have scored with her first touch inside the area if not for the stern presence of Diane Caldwell that put her off.
This was during a spell that saw the USA completely dominate the pace of the game. The only time Ireland got out of their own half, Katie McCabe was brought down and a free-kick was given, and that ended up in the hands of Naeher.
When the USA got forward after that, Ireland had to deal with a flurry of shots inside the box.
Then Caldwell was ruled to have pulled the shirt of Horan and a penalty was given to the USA.
Even though Brosnan got to the ball, it had too much pace on it and it went in. The hosts doubled their lead and the win was all but wrapped up with ten minutes left.
Alyssa Naeher; Becky Sauerbrunn, Mallory Swanson, Lindsey Horan, Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle, Andi Sullivan, Crystal Dunn, Emily Fox, Naomi Grima.
Trinity Rodman for Swanson (45), Ashley Hatch for Morgan (66), Emily Sonnett for Dunn (66), Julie Ertz for Sullivan (69).
Courtney Brosnan; Louise Quinn, Megan Connolly, Diane Caldwell, Denise O’Sullivan, Katie McCabe, Kyra Carusa, Marissa Sheva, Aoife Mannion, Niamh Farrelly.
Ruesha Littlejohn for Mannion (60), Aine O'Gorman for Farrelly (60), Tara O’Hanlon for Sheva (86).