World Cup Qualifying: Lloyd’s Hat Trick Leads U.S. To Victory Over Panama

After a dominating win over Mexico to start World Cup qualifying on Thursday, the USWNT continued their quest to qualify for France 2019 with an easy 5-0 win over Panama.

Despite nearly changing the entire Starting XI, the start was much like the last match and it didn’t take long for the U.S. to get on the scoreboard. In the fifth minute, Sam Mewis headed in a corner kick for an early 1-0 lead.

Carli Lloyd doubled the U.S. lead in the 23rd minute when she knocked in a header after missing multiple opportunities to score earlier in the match.

Lloyd netted her second goal of the match just six minutes later, beating three Panama defenders with a nasty stepover, firing into the upper right corner for a 3-0 U.S. advantage.

Next up for the U.S. was Christen Press, who scored in the 32nd minute on a breakaway, her 46th career international goal, giving the U.S. a 4-0 lead.

That lead held until the halftime whistle. The game slowed down in the second half with a large lead and a sub, with Rose Lavelle coming on for Julie Ertz.

Lavelle made an immediate impact, dropping a free kick in the box in the 48th minute that found Carli Lloyd, who headed it in past the keeper, securing a hat trick and making the U.S. lead 5-0.

After bagging another goal the U.S. seemed to relax, with Panama creating a few chances, even forcing a save out of U.S. goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris in the 70th minute. Despite the late pressure, the U.S. kept Panama off the score sheet and secured the 5-0 shutout win.

Through two matches the U.S. has already clinched the top spot in Group A, with six points and a +11 goal differential. With a spot already secured in the semifinal round, the U.S. turns its attention to Trinidad and Tobago in the group finale. That game will be on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. MDT and can be seen on FS2.

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