USWNT beat Australia 3-1 in Women’s World Cup Opener
The first half wasn’t great and the second half wasn’t always pretty, but the USWNT pulled off a win against Australia to start their World Cup campaign on the right note in a 3-1 victory.
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring in the 12th minute when her shot from outside the 18 deflected off a Australia’s Alleway and found the back of the net.
The Aussie’s tied it up in the 27th minute off a shot by Captain Lisa DeVanna who was open on the right, inside the 18. The USWNT defense was caught ball watching, and DeVanna scored with a clear view of goal.
In between the goals, Hope Solo made two big time saves in the opening half. The first coming just five minutes into the match when she had to go into a full stretch to stop a shot, which even with Solo’s intervention, still glanced off the top of the crossbar. Her second key save came in the 13th minute where she stopped an almost point-blank range shot from Samantha Kerr.
Overall, the first half saw the USWNT overmatched and outplayed by a tenacious and confident Australian side. As was expected, the Aussie’s speed stretched the American defense and the team was unable to maintain any meaningful possession.
Australia was able to keep USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd, usually a force in the middle, was quiet and away from making any dangerous plays.
In the second half, the USWNT received another boost off a goal by Christen Press. Her shot found the net in the 61st minute and was assisted by Sydney Leroux. The forward turned on her jets to turn the corner on her defender and dish the ball out to Press, who was sitting wide open.
A turning point in the game came in the 68th minute when Christen Press made way for Tobin Heath. Heath is known for a more possession style game and her skills made an impact almost immediately. The United States followed her lead and maintained much more possession from the 68th minute on.
Rapinoe scored again in the 78th minute, providing a bookend to the evening and an insurance policy for the team to ride out the rest of the match.
Also of note was the appearance of Alex Morgan who came on for Leroux in the 79th minute. Morgan coming off of a knee injury did not make much of an impact in her few minutes on the field. Abby Wambach missed a few clear headers, which is usually her scoring bread and butter; her missed headers could be due to her lack of play after electing to skip the NWSL season this year to focus on the USWNT’s World Cup run.
The USWNT return to Group D action on Friday against Sweden, who blew two separate leads in a 3-3 tie against Nigeria earlier on Monday. With the win, the USWNT sit atop Group D with three points. During the game, Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday were each given a yellow card. If they are given another yellow card during group stage, they will miss the next game.