The U.S. WNT cruised to a 5-0 win over New Zealand, closing out a feel good two game set against the Football Ferns following Friday’s 3-1 win in Colorado.
In front of a crowd of 30,000 plus the Americans dominated from the opening whistle, with the game’s biggest surprise being that New Zealand managed to keep the home team off the scoreboard for 36 minutes.
Lindsey Horan broke the deadlock just three minutes after replacing local girl Rose Lavelle, who was on a minutes limit after recovering from a hamstring injury. That goal kick started an excellent night for Horan in an attacking midfield role.
A brief flurry from New Zealand around the half hour mark threatened to disturb the U.S. hegemony but with Mewis and Ertz dominating the center of the park and O’Hara and Rapinoe flying on the wings it was inevitable when Horan’s header beat a poorly positioned Erin Nayler in the New Zealand goal.
Goals on either side of the half by Mallory Pugh, 44th minute from Horan and halftime sub Alex Morgan, 30 seconds after the restart, ended any hopes New Zealand may have harbored for an upset.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis used every player available with the exception of reserve goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. The changes did nothing to slow the U.S. down with Morgan standing out as she maintained her recent top form for club and country.
Tobin Heath returned to action, ending a long injury absence when she replaced Mallory Pugh in the 72nd minute, a positive for anyone who enjoys the game of soccer while Lynn Williams and a second Morgan goal closed out the scoring for the dominant Americans sending the Cincinnati crowd home home happy.
Ellis will be happy too, in particular one would think with several performances. Ertz was a powerful presence in the middle of the field and paired with the equally impressive Mewis, Ellis may have found her central midfield going forward – keeping in mind that France 2019 is still a long way off.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 3 5
NZL 0 0 0
USA – Lindsey Horan (Samantha Mewis) 36th minute
USA – Mallory Pugh (Lindsey Horan) 44
USA – Alex Morgan 46
USA – Lynn Williams (Kelley O’Hara) 55
USA – Alex Morgan (Mallory Pugh) 69
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 14-Casey Short, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.) (22-Taylor Smith, 46), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara; 3-Samantha Mewis (6-Morgan Brian, 57), 8-Julie Ertz, 16-Rose Lavelle (9-Lindsey Horan, 33); 15-Megan Rapinoe (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 23-Christen Press (12-Lynn Williams, 46), 2-Mallory Pugh (17-Tobin Heath, 72)
Substitutes not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis
NZL: 1-Erin Nayler; 7-Ali Riley (capt.), 5-Meikayla Moore, 6-Rebekah Stott, 2-Ria Percival (4-CJ Bott, 86); 11-Kirsty Yallop (16-Olivia Chance, 58), 14-Katie Bowen, 12-Betsy Hassett (22-Katie Rood, 90+3), 10-Annalie Longo (8-Daisy Cleverley, 80); 13-Rosie White (18-Aimee Phillips, 76), 17-Hannah Wilkinson (15-Martine Puketapu, 89)
Substitutes not used: 3-Anna Green, 20-Malia Steinmetz, 21-Anna Leat, 23-Victoria Esson, 25-Liz Anton, 26-Jane Barnett
Head coach: Tony Readings
Stats Summary: USA / NZL
Shots: 19 / 5
Shots on Goal: 9 / 0
Saves: 0 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 4
Fouls: 2 / 10
Offside: 1 / 2
NZL – Hannah Wilkinson (caution) 35th minute