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Casey Murphy, take a bow

Three goals were scored but the star of this game was the North Carolina Courage goalkeeper

Australia v USA - International Friendly: Game 1 Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. The USWNT score some goals but Australia test them time and time again. The difference between the two sides? The USWNT goalkeeper has a worldie of a performance. In the past, Hope Solo was the difference maker but on Friday night in Sydney, Casey Murphy made sure that her first cap ended with a win and a clean sheet.

After the USWNT had taken a (very) early lead thanks to Ashley Hatch, Australia started to push the tempo and began to find ways to test Murphy. She rose to the occasion at every opportunity.

Cailtin Foord, Sam Kerr and Mary Fowler at different points in this match thought that they had found a goal for the home side, only to watch in disbelief as Murphy contorted her body to keep a clean sheet.

This sequence in a space of a few minutes showed just how switched on Murphy was and how she was determined to be a thorn in Australia’s side.

Sam Kerr had drifted away from Tierna Davidson and behind Alana Cook, looking to place the ball into the corner with her left foot. Kerr’s the type of player than can score from that angle but she was denied by Murphy. Not only did the NC Courage goalkeeper stick out a strong foot to stop the goal, she also managed to angle that stop towards her own defenders who then proceeded to clear the ball.

Murphy wasn’t done yet. Seconds later, Caitlin Foord forced her into another great save.

Australia won a free kick and the USWNT failed to clear the initial ball in. It fell to the feet of Foord who was unmarked and as she turned away to celebrate, thinking that she had put Australia back on level terms, Murphy stretched up and tipped the ball over the crossbar.

The disbelief on Foord’s face was something we would see regularly in the second half as Murphy continued to thwart Australia. At 6’1”, Murphy has all the height needed to cover every inch of the goal and the agility to be able to quickly position herself in the right place at the right time, this 25 year old goalkeeper an exciting prospect not just for the future but for the now.

Australia v USA - International Friendly: Game 1 Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Casey Murphy spent most of club season keeping the Courage in games as she faced shot after shot and had it not been for her form, the Courage would not have made it to the NWSL Playoffs. She was producing saves left, right and center as the Courage were uncharacteristically leaky at the back. During the playoffs, Murphy was the reason the game even went to extra time against the Washington Spirit and had her teammates found a goal before the Spirit did, who knows just how far Murphy could’ve taken the Courage. She took that form with her to Australia and put on a dazzling performance to keep the USWNT from conceding in this match, despite the number of times Australia got through on goal.

Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle added to the USWNT’s goal tally but the story of the day doesn’t belong to the goal scorers. It belongs to Casey Murphy who grabbed her opportunity to shine with both hands.