Alex Morgan was representative of everything the United States was in the first half, taking too many touches, looking lethargic and firing weak shots at goal that was never going to scare Australia.
In the second half, Morgan was once again representative of everything that the U.S. was in the stanza, running at defenders, taking control of the match and eventually adding a goal and drawing a penalty to lead the Americans past the Socceroos 2-1 in front of 19,851 fans at the Home Depot Center.
The Americans were downright dreadful in the first half against an Australia team that started six players 19 years old or younger. They couldn't create any great chances and didn't inspire any confidence in the midfield as Australia created several chances, only to be denied by some poor finishing and the bar twice.
When Lisa de Vanna sprinted through the midfield and beat two defenders before finishing past Hope Solo, everyone who watched could only nod their heads and say that the Socceroos' lead was every bit deserved. Australia finally had their goal and went into halftime leading.
The U.S. came out in the second half as a completely different team than the one that jogging around without much inspiration in the second half and it was Morgan, who looked so lost in the first 45 minutes who led the turnaround.
Morgan got the U.S. even in the 55th minute when Heather O'Reilly spotted her just outside the box. The Diamond Bar, CA native, playing in her hometown for the first time with the national team, then beat Stephanie Catley with a quick cut before her shot from 15 yards found the net.
Just six minutes later, the U.S. was in front and it was Morgan at the heart of it once again. This time she got on the end of a Tobin Heath pass before being taken down down in the box. Shannon Boxx, another local girl, took the penalty and buried it, giving the Americans the 2-1 lead that they would hold onto.
The match was a celebration for the several Americans from the Southern California area and was played in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd, but the loudest cheers may have been for Pia Sundhage. The Swede, managing her penultimate match for the U.S. before taking over her home country's team, was given an autographed guitar b her players after the match before playing and singing a stanza of "Jailhouse Rock".
Wednesday's match in Colorado, also against Australia, will mark the end of the U.S. victory tour, which has become the Pia Sundhage farewell tour.