The United States Women’s National Team and Colombia squared off in front of 21,792 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut on Wednesday night. Except for the first 30 minutes of the game, the United States dominated Colombia winning 7-0.
The United States got goals from Crystal Dunn, Allie Long (two) Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath and Christen Press. The shutout was the 98th in Hope Solo’s career. She and the U.S. have only given up one goal this year while scoring 39.
Crystal Dunn Opens the Scoring
It took a little bit, but the United States finally got on the score board in the 27th minute. After a sequence the involved Colombia blocking two shots inside the penalty box, Carli Lloyd was able to snatch the loose rebound and dribble around the top of the box. She split the defense with a short pass to Crystal Dunn. After battling for the ball with Natalia Gaitan, she was able to use her left foot to send the ball towards the penalty spot. She was able to get to the ball before goalkeeper Catalina Perez and give the U.S. a lead that they would not relinquish.
Just five minutes later, Allie Long got in on the scoring. Lindsey Horan sent in a cross from the right side of the pitch that found Long right in the middle of the penalty box. Long was then able to send the ball into the left corner of the goal after redirecting it a header to give Allie her first ever international goal in just her fifth cap.
Teenage Sensation Gets on the Board
Barely a minute later, 17-year-old sensation Mallory Pugh got involved in the scoring. Once again Lloyd created some magic outside the penalty box. She used a spin move to give herself some space and found a darting Pugh making a run into the box. Pugh took two very quick touches and sent the shot into the lower right hand side of the goal for her second career international goal.
Pugh will be one to watch for the next 15 years as long as she stays healthy. As a 17-year-old, she has been capped ten times now and has two goals to her name. She plays like she has been a member of the senior national team for ten years already. She is beyond mature for her age and she has a bright future ahead of her.
Six minutes before half, Lloyd scored the fourth goal in 12 minutes. Pugh returned the favor that Lloyd gave her earlier in the game. She was able to send a low cross, that somehow found its way through the defense, to Lloyd who was crashing on the goal. From seven yards out, Lloyd was not going to miss. She used a left footed first touch to give the Americans a 4-0 lead going into halftime.
Second Half Much of the Same
It took only 17 minutes into the second half for the U.S. to get on the board again. This time it came in the 62nd minute when Tobin Heath found the back of the net. A majority of the work goes to Dunn as she was able to chase down a ball on the right side of the pitch and send in a far post cross that found Heath. It was Heath’s 15th goal in 115 appearances.
Allie Long added her second of the night and career just three minutes later. After Colombia tried to clear a U.S. corner kick, the ball found itself in the air near the far post. Julie Johnston was able to win the aerial battle and send the ball back across mouth of the goal. Long was there waiting and scored using her head again to give the U.S. a commanding 6-0 lead.
Christen Press finished the scoring in the 74th minute after Dunn led her with a beautiful diagonal through ball down the left side of the pitch. Press was able to bend a perfect shot in the right side of the net from the top left corner of the penalty box. The amazing part about this is she did it in full stride and never missed a beat in doing so.
Hope Solo Not Busy Most of the Night
Hope Solo had a rather quiet night in her 194th game for the United States. She only was forced to make two saves all night. The most dangerous shot came in the 57th minute when Colombia was finally able to hit the Americans on a very rare counter-attack. Liecy Santos found herself behind the U.S. defense and was essentially one on one with Solo. Santos sent in a hard shot, but Solo was able to step up and smother it to preserve the shutout.
The U.S. in 10-0-0 so far in 2016 and are average 3.9 goals per match. This was also the Americans ninth clean sheet of the year. Lloyd scored the 87th goal of her career and the 24th over her last 23 matches. That dates all the way back to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Round of 16 game against Colombia. Mallory Pugh now has five assists in 2016 and she is tied with Lloyd for the team lead.
The United States and Colombia square off again this Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00pm EST and can be seen on ESPN. This will be the last match for the USWNT until the face off against Japan on June 2nd at Dick’s Sporting Good Park in Commerce City, Colorado.