Becky Sauerbrunn evolves along with US defense

Published 4:04 p.m. ET June 4, 2019

LONDON (AP) — As the U.S. women’s national team’s defense has evolved over the past four years, so has Becky Sauerbrunn.

Normally quiet and studious, the center back who is about to embark on her third Women’s World Cup has embraced her role as a veteran and has started to use her voice, both as a leader and as a mentor to the younger defenders.

“Obviously, she’s a player with tremendous experience and just a player that really kind of embodies what it means to be part of this team. She’s a great professional and very popular with her teammates because of how she contributes both on and off the field,” coach Jill Ellis said. “She’s a fierce competitor and one of the nicest people that you’ll ever meet.”

Sauerbrunn anchors a back line that has changed significantly since the group won the World Cup in Canada four years ago.

That unit was stellar: The United States went 540 minutes without conceding a goal, the longest streak in the tournament since Germany’s record 679 scoreless minutes from 2003-11.

Hope Solo allowed just three total goals and won her second straight Golden Glove for the tournament’s top goalkeeper….

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