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World Cup Recap: USWNT 3 - 0 Vietnam
USWNT holds Vietnam shotless as they pick up three goals and three points in
Over 41K people packed into Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, to see the United States Women’s National Team open the group stage as they faced Vietnam.
Vlatko Andonovski and the USWNT enter their Group Stage opener following a 2-0 victory over Wales in their send-off game inside PayPal Park in San Jose. Mai Duc Chung and Vietnam entered Friday’s contest following a 2-0 loss to host nation New Zealand and a 9-0 defeat to Spain.
Andonovski rolled out a 4-3-3 formation as Alyssa Naeher started in between the sticks. Crystal Dunn, Naomi Girma, Julie Ertz, and Emily Fox provided the defense, while Lindsey Horan, Andi Sullivan, and Savannah DeMelo comprised the midfield. Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, and Trinity Rodman provided the attack.
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Morgan displayed great intelligence in the 17th minute as she backheeled Horan’s pass forward to Smith, who ran onto the ball and pushed toward goal before slotting a left-footed shot past Tran Thi Mim Thanh to give the United States a 1-0 lead.
Morgan looked to double the U.S. lead in the 28th minute, but an awkward touch led to the forward momentarily losing possession. She was able to regain the ball but found herself at an awkward angle on the left side of the box as she looked to curl a ball to the lower right corner. Morgan’s ball failed to bend as it trailed right of the goal post.
Controversy struck in the 39th minute as Rodman pushed her way into the box and looked poised to shoot. Hoàng Thi Loan looked to dispossess Rodman but got all leg as as the USWNT player fell to the pitch. As play looked to resume, head referee Bouchra Karboubi was sent to the monitor to check for a possible pen. After review, Karboubi awarded the Stars & Stripes a penalty kick in the closing minutes of the first half.
Morgan stepped up to the spot as she looked to double the lead but came up short as her shot to the left side of the net stayed centrally as Thi Kim Thanh dove to her right and blocked the penalty kick. Morgan paced forward and attempted to get the rebound on the save, but the Vietnamese defense sprung forward and cleared the ball out of play before the United States could get to it.
Smith appeared to double the United States lead in stoppage time as she got onto Thi Kim Thanh’s clearance in the box and slotted the ball through a sea of red and white jerseys and into the back of the net. The celebration ended abruptly as the assistant referee raised the flag as they deemed Morgan to be in an offside position in the lead-up to Smith’s goal.
Karboubi went to the monitor for a second time and again ruled in the U.S.’ favor as Karboubi waived the call off as Smith’s goal stood and she notched her second goal of the match while the United States took a 2-0 lead entering halftime.
Rodman got the offense rolling in the 50th minute as she crossed the ball to the left side of the box to an open Horan. Horan attempted to send a shot to the upper half of the net but put too much on it as the ball sailed over the net. Horan became the first U.S. player to enter the book as she received a yellow card in the 56th minute after fouling Nguyen Thi Bích Thùy.
A pair of substitutions came in the 63rd minute as Megan Rapinioe and Rose Lavelle entered for Alex Morgan and Savannah DeMelo. Rapinoe’s appearance marked the USWNT legend’s 200th international cap. Alyssa Thompson entered the match in the 75th minute as she replaced Trinity Rodman.
Ertz got the United States offense rolling in the 77th minute as she lobbed the ball up the right flank to Smith. Smith turned toward goal and pushed forward as Thi Mim Thanh came off her line to prevent Smith from getting the hat trick.
But Smith timed a pass perfectly as she cut the ball centrally to Horan, who slotted the ball into the empty net to give the U.S. a commanding 3-0 lead.
The final two substitutions came in the 84th minute as Kelley O’Hara and Sofia Huerta came on for Crystal Dunn and Emily Fox.
It was an amazing World Cup debut for Sophia Smith, as her two goals and one assist awarded her the Woman of the Match award.
While it wasn’t the performance the USWNT envisioned, they still had a dominant performance as they ended the night with 66% possession while preventing Vietnam from taking a single shot!
The United States will look to refine their performance on July 26th, as they take on the Netherlands inside Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand at 9:00 PM ET on FOX.