The United States Women's National Team finished their preparations for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup against one of their continental rivals, Mexico. This game was played in Harrison, New Jersey and Tobin Heath, a New Jersey native, scored her 30th goal for the U.S. in 150 appearances.
Despite their dominance, the U.S. only have one goal to show for it at half time
The U.S. dominated the game and looked dangerous in the final third, launching attacks and taking advantage of the speed of their wingers and forwards. But it wasn't until the 11th minute when a miscommunication between the Mexican keeper Cecilia Santiago and her defender Rebecca Bernal, helped the hosts to get the first goal of the match. A pass from Santiago to a distracted Bernal, give way to a lose ball that Heath chased down, got rid of Bernal and finished inside the box.
After the goal, the U.S. kept creating chance after chance but the brilliant Santiago made save after save to stop the attacks. Noteworthy were the ones against Crystal Dunn in the 42nd minute, when she stopped Dunn' shot from a very close range, and the other against Alex Morgan in the 34th minute. The forward received a long pass from Megan Rapinoe and she had the time and space to shot, having left all the defenders behind with her speed, but Santiago came up big to stop Morgan's shot.
The substitutes make their mark in the second half
Jill Ellis made five changes at half time, subbing in Christen Press, Carli Lloyd, Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh and Allie Long. As a result, Ellis put Heath as a left back and played there until the 71st minute, when she was subbed off for Emily Sonnett.
We could see some chances created by the Mexican team in the second half but all of them were controlled nice and tidy by the US team. The second goal of the afternoon was a result of a Lloyd-Pugh combination, with the veteran sending the ball near the goal line where a bunch of Mexican players tried to clear it but failing at the task and where a nearby Pugh put that goal in.
The third goal was created by Press. She received the ball at the edge of the box and although she was covered, she created some space with a self pass from her right leg to her left and then shot, giving Santiago no chance to save that ball.
The send off series ended with a 3-0 and although the final score reflected a good win, with the many chance the US created and couldn't finished, it did not reflect what really happened in the game. It is true that Mexico had a decent game, not parking the trailer and trying to give the ball to Lizbeth Ovalles and Katty Martínez to lead the attack and create good looks but couldn't do much in the final third with the US defence controlling the Mexican forwards.
Alex Morgan couldn't score again and didn't show much, except for some runs that were ruled as off-sides. In the other hand, Carli Lloyd came up at the second time showing that she's ready for the World Cup and to shine at a world stage after doing that four years ago in Canada.
The USWNT will leave for France now and already has its eyes fixed on Thailand, the nation they will face on June 11th at the Stade-Delaune in Reims and that will mark the U.S. debut at the World Cup.
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (2-Mallory Pugh, 46), 19-Crystal Dunn (20-Allie Long, 46); 8-Julie Ertz, 3-Samantha Mewis, 16-Rose Lavelle (9-Lindsey Horan, 46); 17-Tobin Heath (14-Emily Sonnett, 71), 13-Alex Morgan (capt.) (10-Carli Lloyd, 46), 15-Megan Rapinoe (23-Christen Press, 46)
Substitutes not used: 18-Ashlyn Harris, 21-Adrianna Franch, 6-Morgan Brian, 11-Ali Krieger, 12-Tierna Davidson, 22-Jessica McDonald
Head coach: Jill Ellis
MEX: 1-Cecilia Santiago (capt.); 2-Kenti Robles, 13-Arianna Romero (3-Jocelyn Orejel, 89), 4-Rebeca Bernal, 5-Jimena López; 7-Daniela Espinosa (18-Alexia Delgado, 90+1), 6-Karla Nieto, 11-Lizbeth Ovalle (17-Yamilé Franco, 63), 8-Joana Robles (14-Belén Cruz, 85), 10-Katty Martinez (20-Dinora Garza, 85), 9-Kiana Palacios (19-Andrea Sánchez, 82)
Substitutes not used: 12-Emily Alvarado, 15-Karen Díaz, 16-Zulma Hernández
Head coach: Christopher Cuellar