USWNT's Kilgore on Shaw: 'Be patient, because there's more'

How USWNT recovered from 'horrendous start' to make SheBelieves Cup final (1:34)

Jeff Kassouf reacts to USWNT's 2-1 victory over Japan in the SheBelieves Cup semifinal despite conceding a goal after just 30 seconds. (1:34)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- United States women's national team forward Jaedyn Shaw is already in unprecedented territory after scoring in each of her first five starts for the team, but USWNT interim head coach Twila Kilgore said on Monday that the 19-year-old is only scratching the surface.

"I would say even though everyone is super pleased and happy, and we all see who she is, be patient, because there's more," Kilgore said. "She wants that challenge to bring everything she has to the table."

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Shaw scored the equalizer for the USWNT on Saturday in a 2-1 victory over Japan that advanced the Americans to Tuesday's SheBelieves Cup final in Columbus, Ohio, against rival Canada.

With the goal, Shaw became the first player in USWNT history to score in each of her first five starts and only the 13th player in team history to score in five straight matches.

She now has seven goals in 11 appearances since making her international debut in October.

On Saturday, Shaw started in the No. 10 role as the team's playmaker, rather than on the wing, where she had previously earned more minutes for the United States.

Shaw said recently that she prefers the central role, especially for her club team, San Diego Wave FC, so that she can get on the ball more often and deliver dangerous passes.

"I do feel like I play my best game when I have freedom and when I can be myself, but also have a starting structure," Shaw told ESPN on Monday.

"It's just gotten better since my first camp so I'm just excited for it to continue to go up."

One of Shaw's goals in her historic start at the international level came last month against Canada on a waterlogged field in San Diego in the semifinal of the Concacaf W Gold Cup.

The U.S. won the match in a penalty shootout before defeating Brazil in the final a few days later.

Kilgore said she expects a different game against Canada this time with ideal weather conditions expected in Columbus on Tuesday.

Kilgore, who will be coaching her final match as interim boss before Emma Hayes arrives on the sidelines in late May, said Canada will be a far more physical opponent than Japan was on Saturday.

Meanwhile, USWNT center-back Naomi Girma's status is unclear for Tuesday's game.

Girma is "day-to-day" with a thigh strain that forced her to come off the field in the opening 20 minutes on Saturday.

The defender played every minute for the USWNT at the 2023 World Cup and has won the National Women's Soccer League Defender of the Year award in each of her first two years as a professional player.

Girma stretched on the side of the field, away from her teammates as they began on-ball drills during the open portion of Monday's USWNT training session at Lower.com Field.

Girma's status will play a role in whether the USWNT is able to lift a SheBelieves Cup trophy for the seventh time on Tuesday. So will the continued emergence of Shaw as the team's new star.

Just over three months until the start of the Olympics, Shaw is developing into one of the team's most important players.

"Jaedyn has always been a really good goal scorer," Kilgore said. "I think finding her niche in this team and being able to score consistently is quite a feat, especially as you're being integrated.

"I would actually say even though she's here, she's doing a great job, we're seeing great things from her, and we're really pleased, I'd say she's still in the onboarding process. She's still working on all phases of her game -- excellent in a lot of them and being challenged in some others.

"I continually praise her not only for her attacking efforts but also her defending efforts," Kilgore continued. ".... In the last match, she was asked to play the roles that our 10 plays in attack and defense, which was different for her.

"She did a great job and that just shows that we have some flexibility with her moving forward in the types of positions that we play her in. But she's growing in all of those ways."