Scotland "matched" World Cup holders USA "mentally and physically" in their 1-0 friendly loss, according to proud head coach Shelley Kerr.
An Alex Morgan volley separated the sides in Paisley, with USA captain Carli Lloyd missing a penalty.
Scotland threatened in the closing stages but could not find a leveller.
"We created chances against the world champions and at the end they were putting on subs and wasting time to see the game out," Kerr told BBC Scotland.
"They showed their quality at times. The speed in the final third and in the wide areas caused us some problems. For long spells we didn't have the ball and that's something we need to develop.
"It's the small margins that make a difference but it does give us a measure of where we are at."
Kerr has steered Scotland to the World Cup for the first time, with the draw for France 2019 taking place on 8 December.
"Although we don't like losing, it's a great way for us to end a fantastic year with a narrow loss to the world champions," she said.
"What I am confident about is the way we tactically set up. We covered every single detail and prepared well. We had a game plan and we matched them mentally and physically."
Captain Rachel Corsie turned in a player of the match performance at the heart of Scotland's defence and was heartened by the tenacity and strength of her team-mates.
She said that the strong finish was a "big step forward" for the squad.
"It epitomises the year we've had," she said. "We worked so hard and the togetherness and unity we have showed. They found it hard to break us down.
"We'll face a team of this calibre at the World Cup, possibly quite early on, and it's important we are ready for that."