The US women's national team had to work for it, but eventually emerged from their SheBelieves Cup encounter with Spain at Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 win, keeping a perfect record in the three-game tournament.
Julie Ertz got her head on an in-swinging free kick from the left side in the 87th minute, breaking the deadlock in what had been a tense affair. Although the two-time defending World Cup champions often had the upper hand on Spain, the European foe gave a composed account of themselves, defending well and showing flashes of strong technical ability.
The result follows a 2-0 win over England and leaves the USWNT in pole position to clinch the annual invitational tournament for the third time in five years. They will just need to tie Japan on March 11 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas to secure the title.
USWNT lineup (4-3-3): Alyssa Naeher; Emily Sonnett, Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn; Rose Lavelle, Julie Ertz, Samantha Mewis (Lindsey Horan 71'); Lynn Williams, Carli Lloyd (Tobin Heath 67'), Megan Rapinoe (Christen Press 67')