After not playing since April, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) was back on the pitch Thursday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, winning a slow, flat game over China 1-0.
Head coach Jill Ellis trotted out a somewhat experimental lineup, giving non-regulars McCall Zerboni, Tierna Davidson, and Savannah McCaskill a start.
The Starting XI did not work particularly well however, with China creating a few chances getting behind the U.S. defense and the U.S. not able to generate offense with Alex Morgan sitting up top getting very few touches. After a mostly uneventful first half, the sides went into the locker room tied 0-0.
Ellis made a few changes to the lineup in the second half, bringing in Sam Mewis for Lindsey Horan and Sofia Huerta for McCaskill. Crystal Dunn, who was particularly active throughout the game, was able to find space up the field, drawing a foul in the 56th minute, earning a free kick.
Megan Rapinoe delivered the free kick with perfect precision to the head of Alex Morgan for what turned out to be the game-winning goal. It was Morgan’s team-leading sixth goal of 2018, and her 13th in 14 games. The assist from Rapinoe marked her ninth in the last 11 games.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) June 8, 2018
Despite subbing in fresh legs and creating multiple chances in the later part of the half, the U.S. were not able to add to the lead but were able to keep China off the board, sealing the 1-0 victory.
It wasn’t the most beautifully executed win for the U.S. but after not playing for nearly two months and a different lineup, some rust and lack of chemistry in understandable, but must get better in preparation for World Cup qualifying in October.
After the victory, the U.S. will take on China in a rematch on Tuesday, June 12 at 5 p.m. MT. The game can be viewed on ESPN2.
The USWNT is now 6-0-1 so far in 2018, with wins over Denmark, Germany, England, Mexico (twice) and China, along with a tie against France. The USWNT is also unbeaten over its last 15 matches and has outscored its opponents 47-12.
Alex Morgan scored her 86th international goal tonight in her 141st cap. At age 28, she sits in sole possession of seventh place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list. She’s scored 13 goals over her last 14 WNT matches.
Alyssa Naeher earned her 29th cap tonight and 15th career shutout. She is the seventh goalkeeper in U.S. history to earn 25 or more caps.