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USA begins World Cup Victory Tour with simple 3-0 win over Ireland

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No injuries...mostly.

Ireland v United States - USWNT Victory Tour Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

Starting XI: Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, Lindsey Horan, Julie Ertz, Sam Mewis, Crystal Dunn, Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlekemper, Kelley O’Hara, Alyssa Naeher

There’s really not much to learn, tactically, from a game like this, where the United States played the game almost exclusively in Ireland’s half of the field. Victory Tour games aren’t meant to show you anything new about the team, although many NWSL fans would probably welcome the idea that these games had more meaning to justify pulling players from their teams this weekend.

There were certainly a lot of fun moments, all three goals included.

The goals all came in the first half, with Tobin Heath kicking things off in the 16’, then Lindsey Horan in the 31’, and finally Lloyd in the 41’. The best goal might have been Lloyd’s, with her way-outside-the-six-yard header earned over the heads of her defenders. But you can’t discount the little things either, like Christen Press’ clever one time touch and eyes-in-the-back-of-her-head awareness to redirect the ball right into Horan’s path. Or Rose Lavelle subbing into the forward line instead of the midfield but quite nimbly drifting all over the box and dipping in and out of scrums of defenders, with a particularly nice dribbling clinic in the 79’ that resulted in a ball poked right through the defense into space. Or Lindsey Horan looking confident in the midfield, setting the pace and direction of play with some simple passing.

Could the USWNT have scored way more goals? Sure, if they had put their foot down on the pedal. As it were, they still peppered Ireland’s goal with plenty of crosses and some long-range dingers while not having to go all out at 100% speed for 90 minutes.

Plenty of players got a runout too, with Jess McDonald, Emily Sonnett, Ali Krieger, Allie Long, Rose Lavelle, and Ashlyn Harris (!) subbing in at one point or another. It was particularly nice for Harris to get on the field given she had zero minutes during the World Cup.

There was a bit of a dicey moment with Sam Mewis, who took a blow to the face that resulted in a bloody nose and prompted her subbing in the 60’ for Long, though she seemed in good spirits as athletic staff stemmed the bleeding. Mewis would probably prefer a bloody nose to an injured knee or ankle, and it was nice to see both Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe getting a well-deserved rest as they recuperate from short-term injuries.

Three goals, no serious injuries, field time for a lot of different players. That’s really about all you can ask for from a game like this.

Next up: USA vs Portugal on August 29 in Philadelphia