HARRISON, N.J. — Outside of scoring or setting up the winning goal, the day could not have ended much better for Crystal Dunn.
Before the United States’ 1-0 victory over Spain in the SheBelieves Cup on Sunday, the Rockville Centre native was honored by U.S. Soccer for becoming the 39th women’s player in American history to play in 100 international games.
Dunn also captained the team that extended its unbeaten streak to 30 games.
“I’m relieved, obviously,” the left back said. “We know Spain was tough to beat. A little bit of frustration set in, but we had to grind through it to get the win. [Julie Ertz] getting the goal . . . was incredible.”
Ertz headed home second-half sub Christen Press’ free kick past goalkeeper Sandro Panos in the 87th minute before a capacity crowd of 26,500 at Red Bull Arena.
“I could say Christen, Tobin [Heath] and Pinoe [Megan Rapinoe] are probably the top three in the world and they’re all on one team,” Ertz said. “It’s pretty unreal . . . All I have to do is get my head on it. [Press made] it easy.”
The Americans (2-0-0, 6 points) can win the tournament with a draw vs. Japan (0-2-0, 0) in Frisco, Texas, on Wednesday night. England (1-1-0, 3) defeated Japan in the opening game of the doubleheader.
Minutes before kickoff, U.S. Soccer presented Dunn her uniform in a frame with her family and husband Pierre Soubrier by her side.
“Oh yeah, it was fun,” she said. “It was really, really great. It was really an honor to play in front of my family. They don’t get to make it to every game. My parents teared up a bit and that was really cool. My husband flew for just literally for the first 40 minutes of the game.”
Considered by many observers to be the world’s next women’s soccer power, Spain (1-1-0, 3) has forced the Americans the earn their three wins the past 15 months, including a 2-1 triumph in the Round of 16 at last summer’s Women’s World Cup.
“They’re a very technical team, no doubt about it,” Dunn said. “Whenever we play them, we just have to be super comfortable not having the ball all the time. Being able to dictate the play without the ball, it’s really hard to do. We get frustrated at times. Collectively, the group stayed together.”