Stajcic remaining buoyant despite late heartbreak against United States

As late equalisers go, Lindsey Horan's stoppage time strike was a particularly bitter pill to swallow.

The Westfield Matildas were mere seconds away from another landmark victory over the United States in their thrilling clash earlier this morning.

REPORT: Late heartbreak for Westfield Matildas

But the American midfielder popped up with last-gasp header at the back post to break Australian hearts across the country and rescue a 1-1 draw for the tournament hosts.

Having masterminded Australia's first win over the world superpower little over a year ago, arguably no one felt the gut-punch of Horan's strike more than Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic.

The 44-year-old's game plan was so nearly executed to perfection yet again. Australia weathered an early storm before taking the lead through Chloe Logarzo’s sensational goal on the transition.

It was a strike inspired by Lisa De Vanna's surging run, but ultimately crafted from Stajcic’s meticulous approach.

Despite the disappointment, the Westfield Matildas boss said he was pleased with the hunger shown by his charges.

“We really limited them, despite all the pressure, to shots from outside the box," he told

"They didn’t really create too many clear-cut chances which was an indication of how well organised and how hard our players worked.

“There were a couple of little calls that went against us but it’s hard to argue that the USA didn’t deserve a draw.

"They certainly deserved something out of the game but the way it happened was a little bit unfortunate for us - but that’s what happens in football.”


Stajcic singled out teenager Ellie Carpenter for praise after the 18-year-old's impressive showing against American superstar Megan Rapinoe.

The veteran attacker of 138 national team appearances loomed dangerously on the left flank but the United States’ attempts to restore parity were consistently repelled by Carpenter and the rest of the Westfield Matildas' defence.

“Ellie Carpenter is only 18 years old and playing against probably - apart from Sam Kerr -the best player in the world in my opinion in Rapinoe and really tried hard to limit the amount of opportunities she created for the US team.

“I feel Elise Kellond-Knight did a great job on Tobin Heath. They’re two - three if you include Alex Morgan - of the best attacking players in the world and to limit them to the opportunities they did, I thought we did a really good defensive job."

Australia are now level on four points with Jill Ellis’ side, but the United States enter the final match day on Friday morning in pole position on goals scored.

It means the Westfield Matildas will have little margin for error when they take on Japan at 7.45AM (AEST).


Although they excelled without the ball against America, Stajcic says his charges will need to improve with it when they take on the reigning AFC Asian Champions – who beat the Westfield Matildas in April’s Final in Jordan.

“The defensive part of the game we’re proud of, the other part with the ball we probably lost a bit of composure tonight and that something that we certainly have to work on to improve.

“I’m so, so proud of the group for the way they knuckled down and did the hard yards and really fought to the end.”