COLUMBUS — Newly installed U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski passed his first test in charge on Thursday night against Sweden, as his team held on for a 3-2 win.
Sticking with many of the regular contributors of the recent past, the star-studded squad didn’t take long to prove Andonovski right to stay the course.
In just the sixth minute, Carli Lloyd opened up the scoring with a shot from the middle of the box after Christen Press found her in stride. Press would go on to double the lead in the 29th minute with a goal of her own, as she danced around two Swedish shirts in the box to power strike past keeper Hedviq Lindahl.
Moments later, Lloyd tripled the lead in the 31st minute after chipping one over Lindahl, who was punished for being a bit too far off her line. It was Lloyd’s 120th international goal.
Press’ strike marked her 50th USWNT goal, and Lloyd’s brace was good for her 21st multi-goal appearance.
Despite opening up the second half with a barrage of threatening opportunities from the Americans, Sweden stood sturdy and made it interesting.
Anna Avengard earned a pair of late goals for the Swedes after an untidy clearance in the aftermath of the corner in the 75th minute and took advantage of an errant run from USWNT keeper Alyssa Naeher. Naeher left the goal open and Avengard made no mistake.
In the 81st minute, a foul on Casey Short presented Carli Lloyd with an opportunity to kill the game and leave Columbus with a hat trick, but her strike sailed over the bar.
The USWNT will face Costa Rica on Saturday for its last friendly matchup ahead of 2020 Olympic qualifiers in January.
Woman of the Match
Though the 81st-minute penalty miss will haunt her, Carli Lloyd’s two-goal, 90-minute shift made the biggest impact. With Alex Morgan out due to pregnancy, Lloyd showed she can fill the void at the No. 9 position.
Moment of the Match
Christen Press’ strike at the 29th minute and 50th international goal achievement prompted a flurry of chances that led to the third goal.
Match to Forget
The USWNT backline will be disappointed that they allowed a pair of late goals in Columbus after holding their own for most of the match.