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USWNT bounces back with win over New Zealand

The U.S. women’s national team needed a bounce-back performance after suffering a shocking opening day loss to Sweden at the Tokyo Olympics, and Vlatko Andonovski’s side delivered that and more on Saturday to pick up its first three points of the group stage.

Four different players got on the scoresheet for the USWNT in a 6-1 romp over New Zealand, setting the Americans up in good position to advance into the knockout stage with a victory on Matchday 3 against Australia.

Andonovski opted for five changes in his starting lineup from Wednesday, but Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan rewarded him for leaving them in with their first-half contributions.

Second-half subs Christen Press and Alex Morgan finished things off with late goals, and New Zealand did not help itself with two own goals.

Rose Lavelle bagged her 15th international goal to finish a group effort on the break to kick off the scoring.

Just before halftime, Lindsey Horan marked her 100th cap with a header that doubled the lead.

The first half also had four American goals ruled offside, two by razor-thin margins.

Ultimately, those wasted opportunities did not matter much. New Zealand defender Abby Erceg sealed her side’s fate with an own goal to hand the USWNT a comfortable 3-0 margin in the 63rd minute.

Fresh legs killed things off. Press and Morgan ensured the lopsided victory that helped the team back to a positive goal differential.

Press’ goal came in the 80th minute thanks to a long ball from Julie Ertz.

Morgan, gifted with a great look, piled on moments later.

New Zealand’s second own-goal in second-half stoppage time was a moot point, but a gift nonetheless in the larger picture.

The margin of victory is impressive but it was not a perfect game. The Kiwis worked a goal late in the second half which marks the fourth conceded by the Americans in two games.

A botched sequence from Abby Dahlkemper dragged goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher out of the equation when Paige Satchell linked with Betsy Hassett for a freebie.

Otherwise, the USWNT looked more like itself.

The United States can now decide its own fate. Saturday’s win brings the team back to a +2 goal differential, ahead of Australia in Group G thanks to that statistic.

When the USWNT and Aussies face off on Tuesday, the Americans can guarantee advancement to the knockout round with a win or draw.

Comments

  1. NZ tried to pressure the US for about 5 minutes early each half like Sweden had throughout the whole game, but NZ just couldn’t do it, so very different game. US mentality much better too. Sonnett with the energy, and the power game returned with Ertz. NZ could have scored a couple others but so could the US. This was not the tactical nor physical test the Sweden team posed, NZ did not make the US uncomfortable on the ball, and the US responded well to that opening loss. They can play much better and will need to. we’ll see

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    • it’s very hot in tokyo and i don’t know if you could realistically press for very long. i was impressed with italy’s defensive approach but the physical demands of actively chasing attackers around would likely be more sustainable in london than say, florida, qatar, or tokyo. might factor that into our own tactical plans eg klinsi’s maligned empty bucket actually accounted for playing in brazil.

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      • Sweden was able to do it pretty effectively nonetheless. though your point is well taken, it’s doable especially with more subs these days and water breaks, as Sweden showed,and the US better today at it. The US spent a lot of energy when they defended, and it was in concert instead of solo after solo, and seemed more energized in attack mode vs. pressured and sluggishly reactive like against Sweden. Australia will be a good test, we’ll see. Heath still working her way back, hope she gets there, her dynamic play is missed but seemingly very close. Rapinoe put in the work up top as did all on the front line all game, can they continue that, build on that amount of effort today? I wonder if Vlatko rotates the players or sticks with this group now? Tierna was good, Sonnett too

  2. they have a dahlkemper problem. go back and watch the videos and notice where #17 is in proximity to pretty much every GA so far, including the concession in the laugher today.

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    • that was a tough one. teams are aware of her distribution skills, marking tight on players up the field and almost forcing her to go to her left, and then even on her good looks up field she’s been uncharacteristically a bit off so far. Nerves? Idk, I’m a big fan and hope Vlatko can solve some of these tactical challenges to get her on the bll with more options to distribute to. He can do it

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  3. Back on track. Hopefully, they’ll go into their remaining matches with a chip on their shoulders. The world is catching up and I wouldn’t put it past Sweden to be waiting for them if they make it to the final.

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