Coming off a 3-1 victory in Colorado last Friday, the United States Women's National Team faced New Zealand again in front of an anticipated crowd of 30,000 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rose Lavelle's hometown. Official attendance was 30,596 fans, making it the 7th largest crowd for a USWNT friendly.
Goals by Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh, Lynn Williams, and a brace by Alex Morgan gave the USWNT a 5-0 convincing victory to wrap up their September international play, giving them a boost of confidence after a year of transition.
90 Minutes, Five Goals
It was a slower start to this game compared to Friday's matchup after a 0-0 deadlock well into the first half. But in the 36th minute, Horan, who subbed in at the 33rd minute for Lavelle, who got the start to play in front of her home crowd and to allow her playing time as she works her way to fitness after coming off a hamstring injury, sent a perfect header into the goal to give the USWNT the 1-0 lead. The goal was Horan's fourth career USWNT goal.
Just before halftime, the U.S. would make it 2-0 with a combination play. Kelley O'Hara was in position to intercept a New Zealand presser. O'Hara's pass went to Christen Press who gave a short cross to Horan who found Pugh making a run. Pugh was able to take a couple of touches before setting up a shot towards the near post.
The second half picked up where the first left off. Morgan, coming in as a substitute for Megan Rapinoe, scored in the 46th minute on her first touch of the game. In the 55th minute, Williams, a second-half substitute for Press, connected with an O'Hara cross from the left flank.
The final goal for the night would belong to Morgan, who took a pass from Pugh after she dribbled on the left side. Morgan received the pass with her right foot, then the ball bounced into her favored left-foot that allowed her to send a rocket shot into the goal for the 5-0 USWNT win.
- The USWNT, without a doubt, looked dominant and confident. They controlled possession and continuously dominated the final third. Back-to-back victories against the 19th ranked New Zealand will surely give the team assurance for the remainder of their international schedule. Korea Republic is up next on the USWNT schedule for October. The USWNT closes out the year with friendlies in November against Canada, which will test the team's current form.
- Alex Morgan has appeared to regain her goalscoring form that propelled her into the USWNT. Morgan, who was coming off a superb month in August in the NWSL, was able to show Ellis that she is the choice for the striker position. The Orlando Pride forward now has 77 international goals, which places her in seventh place on the all-time scoring list for the USWNT.
- Julie Ertz can continue to be the defensive midfielder for the USWNT going forward. It is a position Ertz played in college at Santa Clara University and one she is currently playing for her club, the Chicago Red Stars, and it is clear it is a position she excels at. Ertz scored two goals against New Zealand.
- Both Rose Lavelle and Tobin Heath returned to the field tonight. Lavelle played 33 minutes, and Heath, who hasn't played since the SheBelieves Cup in March due to a back injury, subbed in at the 72nd minute.
- Jane Campbell, Sofia Huerta, Allie Long, and Crystal Dunn did not suit up for this game.