In the opening minutes, Sophia Smith got in a cross into the six-yard box, but her cross was cleared away. After that, the USWNT got a set of corners, the second of which led to a header from Rose Lavelle that went off the crossbar, with Alana Cook’s attempt to clean the play up also going off the post. A few minutes later, Lindsey Horan latched onto a cutback from the left in a dangerous spot in the box, but her attempt was blocked. After that, the US only managed a few half chances for a period, but the Uzbeks did well to keep an organized defense and stifle the attack. The most dangerous chances came from Mallory Pugh. Pugh has once chance when she drifted inside and latched onto a good through ball from midfield, but the Uzbeki goalkeeper, Laylo Tilovova, did well to come out and smother the chance right at Pugh’s feet. And then, again, a chance for Pugh. This one started when Kelley O’Hara released Smith on the right, only for the right back to be cut down. The ref played advantage, allowing for a cross to be whipped in by Smith towards Pugh in the box, who just couldn’t latch onto it for the finish.
Finally, the deadlock was broken in the 26th minute.
Macario swung a corner in, which goes all the way to the backpost. Horan got the first header, and then Cook got a second before Andi Sullivan finally nodded it in. And from there, the goals came flooding in. Immediately off the restart, the USWNT recovered possession and Lavelle played in Pugh, who calmly slotted home the team’s second goal.
Then, in the 33rd, Smith cleaned up a cross from Pugh that whizzed across goal past Lavelle. 3-0 For the fourth, Sullivan got on the end of a Uzbeki goal kick and plays in a one-time through ball to Smith, who’s in behind on the left. She scored her second with a clean finish.
The USWNT got a few more chances, but that 4-0 scoreline held on until the half. But not by much. The announcer had scarcely announced the substitutions of Horan and Sullivan for Sam Mewis and Jaelin Howell before Macario rounded the goalkeeper for a 5th goal. The Sixth goal game after a long pass from Kristie Mewis found Mallory Pugh. Pugh crossed it over to give Sophia Smith a tap in, completing her hat-trick. The hat-trick hero came off in the 61st, along with Macario, replaced by Ashley Hatch and Midge Purce. Then, in the 64th, Jaelin Howell scored her first ever goal for the national team off of a side-footed volley. 7-0.
Following substitutions for Emily Fox and Rose Lavelle for Sofia Huerta and Ashley Sanchez, respectively, the USWNT’s play fell into a little bit of a lull. Most notably, the USWNT switched off for a moment and allowed Uzbekistan to grab a goal off a corner through Aziza Norboeva in the 70th minute. Despite the more muddled play, there were still a few chances, and, of course, a few more goals. Once again, Pugh was able to find a few chances, but couldn’t quite finish. She ran the length of the field with in the 75th minute, but, when she got her shot off, the goalkeeper tipped it up over the crossbar. And then Pugh couldn’t turn a cross into a wide open goal just after the 80th minute mark.
Finally, the USWNT got back on the scoresheet as Ashley Hatch made it 8 in the 86th minute, putting the ball into the net after the Uzbek goalkeeper made a mistake and missed an in-swinging ball. Then, Ashley Sanchez sealed the game off with a curling shot in the 89th, her first international goal. And that’s how the game ended, 9-1.
Sophia Smith will, of course, get a lot of attention for the hat-trick, and deservedly so. But Mallory Pugh also particularly deserves attention for her trio of assists. All told, it was an excellent night for the USWNT.