The United States Women's National Team faced Australia in their first game of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup to open up play in Group B, and came out victorious 3-1. The game, however, showed the world what the United States is ready to do in this World Cup: win games by scoring goals.
While the United States isn't Germany, they are the second ranked team in the world and the United States have a quality group of players ready to explode at any point in time. While tonight was Megan Rapinoe's night for goal scoring, there's many others who did not show their best skills against Australia. Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan were two of those players for different reasons. Wambach seemed to struggle against the Aussies, and couldn't seem to make good contact with headers tonight, missing quite a few scoring opportunities. Australia is the second best team the United States faces in group play, so she should get better opportunities as the World Cup goes on, but the captain's struggle against Australia is not a good sign should it continue into the deeper stages of the World Cup.
Alex Morgan did not struggle like Wambach did, but also has a lot more to show. One of the United States top players in the last cycle in 2011, Morgan is coming off an injury that sidelined her for two months did not get into action until the 79th minute in the first game. She missed all three tune-up friendlies before the tournament started, and the United States coaching staff seems to have a solid plan in place for her to increase her minutes as the tournament goes on. With one the more difficult group matches already over, it seems giving Morgan some rest early on and building up her minutes may be a good idea. Should she return to full health as expected shortly after the group stage is over, she could become an impact player once again for the United States, and might be a difference maker late in the tournament with her striking ability.
Hope Solo is a name that has had a lot of controversy associated with it recently after her reported domestic violence charge and has drawn much criticism recently. It doesn't seem to be affecting her play though, which is fantastic news for the United States team as she made a number of top class saves on Monday night, including a two key ones early in the first half. Every good team in any sport is built around a good goaltender, and if Solo continues playing as well as she did on Monday, there is good reason to believe she could help this team become world champions for the first time this century.
The best sign that the game against Australia showed was that the United States might not have the best defense in the tournament which seemed to struggle occasionally, especially against Australia's speed, but the whole team can score goals at any point, and the goal can come from any player. Megan Rapinoe scored two of the three goals, while Christen Press added the third, neither of which are completely known for their scoring ability. The United States seems to have had the ability recently to get production from all players in key moments and games, and if this continues the rest of the World Cup, as important as strikers like Morgan and Wambach are, getting the whole team involved in the scoring may just help the United States finally capture an elusive third Women's World Cup title.