SYDNEY - Australia coach Tony Gustavsson was scathing about an early defensive lapse but overall satisfied with 1-1 draw against the United States on Tuesday in the Matildas' last outing before the Asian Cup.
Ashley Hatch had opened the scoring after 24 seconds in the 3-0 friendly win for the visitors in Sydney on Saturday and the USWNT forward struck again four minutes into the contest in Newcastle.
"That goal is way too easy," Gustavsson told reporters after the match.
"We're actually in good positions when we lose the ball, so it's not the positioning itself, it's the attitude to get down and defend the goal better. And that has to be a learning moving forward."
Defensive frailties have plagued the Matildas since Gustavsson took over and they were again apparent in front of another bumper crowd of 20,495 in the port city north of Sydney.
The Swede was also unhappy with Australia's pressing in the first half against the four-times world champions but he was delighted that the Matildas persistence was rewarded with a late Kyah Simon equalizer, albeit from a hefty deflection.
"The number one thing ... is the never say die attitude," Gustavsson added. "That's the DNA of this team and I'm so proud to be part of a team that has this attitude."
Although Gustavsson was brought in to build a squad capable of contending at the 2023 World Cup, which Australia will co-host, his side's next assignment is the Asian Cup in India.
"I'm extremely happy with all the answers that we got and I feel very, very confident leading into the Asian Cup, especially when we get the chance to download this game as well," he said.
"I'm very, very happy with these two games in terms of learning and getting one day better."
The Matildas, who have reached the final of the last three Asian Cups and won the title in 2010, open their 2022 campaign against Indonesia in Mumbai on Jan. 21.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Editing by Himani Sarkar)