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The women’s soccer world was robbed of Becky Sauerbrunn’s first USWNT goal by INCHES

Veteran United States women’s national team center back Becky Sauerbrunn was celebrated in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, on Tuesday at CITYPARK ahead of the USWNT’s friendly vs. Ireland for reaching 200 international appearances.

She reached the 200-mark last year during the SheBelieves Cup but was honored for reaching the milestone in front of family and a massive home crowd. Tuesday's friendly was her 216th cap for the USWNT.

Head coach Vlatko Andonovski tried planning the biggest gift of all for Sauerbrunn and women’s soccer fans everywhere: A Sauerbrunn goal for the national team.

She has yet to find the back of the net for the Stars and Stripes.

Andonovski told the media after the first friendly vs. Ireland that the USWNT had a designed play to try and get Sauerbrunn a goal. The Irish defense did its job too well in that first friendly on Saturday, so the USWNT kept the play in their back pocket.

On Tuesday the USWNT tried the plan to get Sauerbrunn her first goal and the attempted effort was only inches away.

In the third minute the USWNT had a corner and attempted what we're calling the “Sauerbrunn Special.” All the American players in the box either crashed the goal or cleared out the area near the penalty spot. Sophia Smith whipped the ball into the vacated space, Sauerbrunn snuck into the box completely unmarked and headed the ball goalward.

Time stopped for a moment.

Becky Sauerbrunn header vs. Ireland

WE WERE INCHES AWAY. What a moment that would have been for the 37-year-old captain.

She wouldn’t get another chance as she was substituted out of the game in the 29th minute for Tierna Davidson. The first half substitution was a planned move for load management and wasn’t injury related.

Ironically enough Sauerbrunn’s center back partner Alana Cook scored her first international goal in the 43rd minute. Tuesday was Cook's birthday so it's only fair she got herself a goal.

Perhaps Sauerbrunn’s first international goal will be a last-minute game-winner in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. We can dream.

This story was written at halftime with the U.S. leading Ireland 1-0.

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