After a shocking loss to Sweden in their first match of the Tokyo Olympics, the USWNT got back on track with a 6-1 win over New Zealand on Saturday. They come away with three very important points & a positive goal differential.
Julie Ertz was the driving force with two assists. She’s in absolute top form at the moment, just two months after suffering a knee injury. But the whole of the attack looked very strong and they even forced two own goals along the way.
But the score line doesn’t tell the entire story. The US still has several holes that need some patching up.
It didn’t take long to get things started. Rose Lavelle got the Yanks on the board in the ninth minute, finishing off a great sequence.
The Americans continued to dominate the entire first half. But after having four goals get disallowed because they were offside (looking at you Carli Lloyd), New Zealand was still hanging around just before halftime.
Lindsey Horan would have none of that, though. A classic Horan Header gave the USWNT a two goal lead going into the break.
The Kiwis were able to expose the American defense a couple times on the day. It was just enough to serve as a reminder that there is work to be done. Betsy Hassett pulled one back for New Zealand in the 72nd minute, making it too close for comfort at 3-1.
But then the US found themselves. Alex Morgan replaced Carli Lloyd and three more goals would come after the 80th minute. Cue Julie Ertz:
Alex Morgan had to make her mark on the game, of course. As if to make sure Vlatko Andonovski knows she doesn’t belong on the bench. In the 88th minute, she took a fantastic first touch on a cross from Christen Press before firing it into the net.
The win sets up an exciting final match of the group stage against Australia on Tuesday. Because of the three late goals they piled on today, the US only needs a draw to advance from the group stage.
That being said, Andonovski has some tightening up to do if the Yanks are going for gold.