USWNT bounces back with win over New Zealand

USWNT bounces back with win over New Zealand

U.S. Women's National Team

USWNT bounces back with win over New Zealand

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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.

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