The U.S. Women’s national team started 2018 in the form it left 2017 in, thrashing Denmark, 5-1, on Sunday at SDCCU Stadium.
It was a fully dominant display from the home side, though it did not start that way. Just 14 minutes into play, the U.S. was on the back foot, as Denmark’s Nadia Nadim scored the match’s first goal. Zooming past Abby Dahlkemper and Julie Ertz, the forward scored from close range in an attempt to swing momentum Denmark’s way.
However, it was not enough, as the reigning world champions grabbed their equalizer only three minutes later. Alex Morgan, captain on the night, found herself in front of goal, and took a shot, saved by Lykke Petersen. The goalkeeper could not stop the rebound, and so the match was level. From there, there was no stopping the Americans
A goal from Ertz followed just two minutes later. Debutante Tierna Davidson’s header found Ertz near the six-yard box, and the midfielder quickly volleyed it behind Petersen.
The third and fourth goal came in the second half, courtesy of Mallory Pugh. Playing her first minutes with the national team since October, she scored only two minutes into the second half after going on a long run and shooting from distance. Her second came in the 65th minute after receiving the ball via turnover in Denmark’s half.
A final nail in the coffin came from substitute Crystal Dunn, who combined with fellow substitutes Lynn Williams and Christen Press. In the 82nd minute, Williams found Press in the middle of the penalty area, and her shot was stopped by Petersen. The deflection fell to Dunn in front of goal, and she scored.
The match also saw debuts for college players Tierna Davidson of Stanford and Savannah McCaskill of the University of South Carolina. Davidson got the start in place of injured co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn, while McCaskill made her debut after coming on in the 70th minute.