After last week’s facile 4-1 victory over Mexico in Jacksonville, Florida more of the same was expected when the USWNT faced off against the same opponent Sunday afternoon in Houston.
That prediction seemed right on the mark when Cecilia Santiago denied Carli Lloyd her 100th U.S. goal in the opening minute of the match and we certainly seemed headed for a U.S. rout two minutes later when Mallory Pugh effortlessly rounded Santiago after receiving a pinpoint pass from Megan Rapinoe to give the home side an early lead.
But despite the eventual 6-2 USWNT win this was far from easy, so let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of Sunday’s USWNT performance.
Carli Lloyd eventually did score her 100th career international goal, just the sixth U.S. player to reach the century mark. Congratulations.
Alex Morgan scored her second consecutive brace against Mexico, and also chipped in with an assist, 19-year-old Mal Pugh scored her fifth goal of 2018, joint leader with Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe scored one goal and assisted on four. Impressive.
The U.S. also showed composure to come back from a rare deficit when they fell behind Mexico 2-1 in the 24th minute. A loaded attack featuring Morgan, Pugh, Rapinoe, Lloyd, and Lindsey Horan will scare any country the U.S. faces but the brings us to …
There have been calls from many quarters, this one included, for coach Jill Ellis to open up the goalkeeping competition, so on Sunday Ellis handed Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell her first international start. It did not go well…
With the Americans leading 1-0 Monica Ocampo leveled the match when she scored directly from a corner kick, a rare Olimpico. Stationed at the near post Crystal Dunn fanned on Ocampo’s swerving inswinger and with Campbell inexplicably standing a step or two behind her own goal line the ball skipped into the U.S. goal for the Mexican equalizer.
One could put that goal down to bad luck, except that it happened again. No, not another Olimpico but a second goal from a corner kick that featured shoddy defense and less than dominant goalkeeping.
Mexico went ahead of the U.S. 2-1 in the 24th minute when Ocampo swung another dangerous ball into the U.S. goalmouth. Campbell was unable to fight through the crowd between her and the ball, ending up on the ground as Kiana Palacios slipped in between Becky Sauerbrunn and Morgan Brian to head home untouched from approximately one yard.
Campbell is a good keeper and may well bounce back from this, and set pieces can be fixed through repetition but as for the goalkeeper competition, it should be the turn of Adrianna Franch to challenge Alyssa Naeher.