Captain Carli Lloyd lead the USWNT over the Republic of Ireland with a hat trick performance. The United States started 2016 by celebrating a 5-0 victory over the Irish at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday.
The 33-year-old midfielder shows no signs of slowing down as she scored her 80th, 81st and 82nd goals for the national team. She is now only 18 goals away from fifth place Tiffeny Milbrett in the all time scoring list for the USWNT. The New Jersey native also recorded her sixth hat trick with the U.S.; she is now just one hat trick away from fourth place Michelle Akers.
Lloyd was not the only American to make a bit of history last night. USWNT striker Alex Morgan earned her 100th cap with the national team while tapping in her 57th goal for the U.S. The 27-year-old is now just three goals away from eighth place Shannon MacMillan in the U.S. all time scoring list.
With both Lloyd and Morgan enjoying historic nights in San Diego on Saturday, the rest of the game was a walk in the park for the Americans.
An easy first half for the USWNT
The highly favored Americans outclassed the Irish in every aspect of the game. The Ladies in Green spent the majority of the match chasing the USWNT. Ireland struggled to slow down the United States attack as the Americans finished the match with 66 percent of possession.
The Americans did not waste their time on the ball as they created 27 shots in the game, with nine on target. If it was not for Ireland goalkeeper Emma Byrne's four saves, the final score easily could have easily been worse.
The Irish at halftime seemed to be suffering from a state of shell-shock. The Ladies in Green did not register a single shot in the first 45 minutes because the USWNT were doing whatever they pleased on the offensive end.
The Americans in the first half produced 16 shots-six were on target, and one hit the post. Lloyd had already completed her hat trick by the 28-minute mark.
The United States had grabbed control of this game before the 10-minute mark. Morgan was inside the left hand side of the penalty box, when she received a pass from Tobin Heath. The USWNT poster girl wasted no time controlling the ball and centered it to Lloyd.
The 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year was completing her run into the center of the box when the ball arrived directly in front her. The 33-year-old midfielder just simply tapped the ball into the back of the net to give the U.S. an early 1-0 lead.
The second goal for the United States had the same three people involved as the first one. Heath was at the edge of the left hand side of the box, when she crossed the ball to Morgan. The 27-year-old striker was near the center of the PK box when she headed the ball downwards towards goal.
Byrne failed to clear the ball out of the danger area, and Lloyd reacted quickest to the floating ball and headed in her second goal to give the USWNT a 2-0 lead in the 21st minute.
Lloyd went on to complete her hat trick seven minutes later. The captain punished a poor back pass from an Irish defender to her keeper. She kept her cool and slotted the ball into the bottom left hand corner to give the United States a commanding 3-0 lead.
The first half ended with Morgan making the score 4-0 as she was in the right place at the right time before slotting ball into an open net just before the halftime whistle.
Finishing touches from the U.S. and Mallory Pugh
In the second half the United States dominance continued as they outshot the Irish 11 to four.
The USWNT kept searching for more goals, but their shots were either an inch too wide or blocked by the defense or goalie.
In the 83rd minute, 17-year-old forward Mallory Pugh scored her first goal with the senior national team in her first cap. The U-20 United States international (who recently led the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship with seven goals) showed composure beyond her 17 years.
Pugh came crashing into the center of the box with two defenders around her before remaining composed to convert Christen Press’ cross with a header which secured the 5-0 victory for the USWNT.
After a resounding victory for the USWNT, head coach Jill Ellis now has to pick a roster that will compete in the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament. The United States will kick off their first step of defending their Olympic Gold Medal when they take on Costa Rica on February 10th at Toyota Stadium.