On a different day, New Zealand would have held the United States Women's National Team to a smaller scoreline but tonight, the home side racked up five goals and gave themselves a great platform going into their final World Cup preparation match.
New Zealand falter after a solid start
The match began with New Zealand remaining resolute at the back and compact while also trying to spring while also trying to spring Sarah Gregorius on the break. The plan worked for the most part as they continually frustrated the USWNT and slowed down the game wherever possible. Unfortunately for the visitors, fatigue began to set in after the first 30 minutes. New Zealand had only arrived in the U.S. on Monday evening and the jet lag became more pronounced as the first half progressed.
The USWNT could not seem to get Alex Morgan into the game so it was left to the rest of the frontline to try and find the back of the net. That was exactly what Tobin Heath did in the 35th minute. A quick change of field allowed Megan Rapinoe to be one-on-one with Katie Bowen and Rapinoe skipped by the defender easily before putting in a great low cross that Heath finished at the far post. Rose Lavelle made it two five minutes later as this time, Lindsey Horan managed to get to the byline before swinging in a cross that Lavelle volleyed home. The USWNT could have had more as the half-time break approached but a combination of some poor finishing and some last ditch tackles from New Zealand left the score at two-nil after the first 45 minutes.
The substitutes steal the headlines
In the second half, both teams made substitutions but it was the U.S. changes that made the biggest difference on the night. Carli Lloyd came in and with her first touch scored the first of two goals after she was picked out by Lavelle. Lloyd energy and drive was evident to anyone watching the game and she got her second of the match in the 83rd minute, this time substitute Christen Press was the supplier after a fine move by the USWNT.
Mewis then got the fifth of the match with a long range effort that deflected past Erin Nayler in goal but it was no more than Mewis had deserved after a fine display in midfield. Although she did not get onto the scoresheet, it was a milestone game for Ali Krieger who came on for her 100th international appearance. She and the rest of the U.S. substitutes ran New Zealand into the ground and made sure that the USWNT would leave St. Louis with a performance they could be proud of.
USA 5 - 0 New Zealand
USWNT: Naeher; O'Hara (Krieger, min. 60), Dahlkemper, Sauerbrunn, Dunn; Lavelle, Ertz (Press, min. 73), Horan (Mewis, min. 46); Heath (Pugh, min. 72), Morgan (Long, min. 73), Rapinoe (Lloyd, min. 60).
New Zealand: Nayler; Bowen, Erceg, Percival, Green (Satchell, min. 69); White, Longo, Duncan (Chance, min. 60), Moore, Riley; Gregorius (Wilkinson, min. 75).
Goals: Heath (min. 35), Lavelle (min. 40), Lloyd (min. 61, 83), Mewis (min. 84).
Yellow Card: Green (min. 33).