USWNT opens 2019 with 3-1 loss to dominant France

Harry How
After Jill Ellis' side went unbeaten through all of 2018, the opening match of the new year brought a loss to Les Bleues

A two-goal showing from Kadidiatou Diani saw the U.S. women's national team fall in the side's opening match of 2019, taking a 3-1 loss at the hands of France

After going unbeaten throughout 2018, the USWNT came into the World Cup year riding high, kicking off the 2019 slate with a friendly against World Cup host France in Le Havre. 

But Diani's star showing was enough to doom Jill Ellis' outfit to a defeat to one of the few teams to have taken points off of them last year. 

Her first of the night came following a brilliant run down the right from Delphine Cascarino​, who cut back into the box for Diani, who had started the move in the midfield, to slam home just nine minutes in. 

The U.S. seemed to repond well enough to the early strike, but Diani broke the game open with her second of the night 10 minutes after the break.

 A ball in down the right gave the 23-year-old just enough space to send a lofted shot to the back post, leaving USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher​ stranded. 

Marie-Antoinette Katoto made it 3-0 in favor of France in the 78th, cementing the win for the French side. 

Mallory Pugh​ pulled one back for the USA late on but it would not be enough to salvage a result. 

The loss broke a 28-match unbeaten run for the U.S. but shouldn't have come as a huge shock. 

France has earned three wins and two draws against the USWNT over the course of their last 10 meetings and the French side is among the favorites to win this summer's World Cup, having stretched its own unbeaten run to nine games. 

The two teams faced off just once in 2018, playing out a 1-1 draw.