The Super Falcons need to “clean up” defensively boss Randy Waldrum says, after watching his side give away cheap goals in the 3-3 draw with Portugal in the WNT Summer Series game at the BBVA Stadium in Houston on Monday.
Rasheedat Ajibade’s equaliser deep inside added time rescued a draw for the Falcons against the Europeans in their second game of the tournament. The three-time African champions had lost their tournament opener against Jamaica.
Chidinma Okeke’s unfortunate own goal and strikes from captain Carole Costa and Encarnacao put Neto Francisco’s side on the road to victory with Michelle Alozie and Diana Gomes’ own goal reducing the deficit before Ajibade’s 96th-minute equaliser.
His team’s spirit and belief to fight till the end against a team of Portugal’s pedigree left Waldrum very pleased.
“Well, I just think that the players fought till the very end, I think that’s something we have within us, and I’m really, really proud of the way they continued the fight and Rash certainly got us a great goal there in extra time to pull off a great comeback,” Waldrum said.
“We were down two goals on two different occasions, and against a good team like Portugal that’s disciplined and organised it’s very difficult to do. So, I’m very proud of them from that standpoint.”
While Waldrum was proud the Falcons never gave up, the American was less enthused with the manner of goals conceded, saying massive improvements are required.
“We have to clean that up,” Waldrum said about their defending. “Actually, if you go back and look at the three goals, we really gave all three goals away.
“We scored an own-goal off a deflection, we didn’t communicate, and got a deflection own-goal. The second goal was off a free-kick, we didn’t have the player picked up on the back post. On the third goal, when we tried to clear, we cleared it short and they picked up the loose ball.
“That part is disappointing for us, that we made those three mistakes because you can’t do that against good teams. But like I said, to take the positives away, I think we have to look at the fightback and the way we worked our way back into the game.”
The Super Falcons next face hosts the USA in their final game on Wednesday at the Q2 Stadium in Austin.