USWNT Finish Send-Off Series With 3-0 Win Over Mexico
Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports
The United States Women’s National Team took on the Mexico Women’s National Team on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. It would be the final friendly in the Send-Off Series, and the final match before the team heads to France for the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.
It was quite the attendance for the team, with 26,332 fans filling the stands on Sunday. The growth in women’s soccer has truly shown around the USWNT with the attendance for the last send off game in 2015 roughly 5,000.
A solid performance and a healthy squad is what the team was looking for out of the last game before Europe. It was exactly what coach Jill Ellis’ side gave in New Jersey, taking only 11 minutes to find the back of the net.
It would be forward Tobin Heath to score, capitalizing on a poor pass from Mexico’s goalie Cecilia Santiago, using fancy footwork to get by the defender and slot the ball into the back of the net giving the US an early 1-0 lead.
The United States would control the game, as the 2015 World Cup winners should. The team’s talent going forward showed, with moments like midfielder Rose Lavelle showing off her talent on the dribble, and an outrageous scorpion kick touch to control the ball in the first half. But the chances wouldn’t fall, and it would be 1-0 at the half.
Ellis made five changes at the break, most notably subbing Carli Lloyd for star forward Alex Morgan, Christen Press for captain Megan Rapinoe, and Mallory Pugh for Becky Sauerbrunn. Each team would be quiet for the first 25 minutes, with the USWNT making another change in Emily Sonnet for the goalscorer Heath.
Only five minutes after the change would the team double their tally, as Carli Lloyd received the ball down the wing, cutting into the box with speed and taking the ball to the near post, then playing a great ball across the middle of the box for Pugh to tap home for the 2-0 lead after 75 minutes. The crashing of the near post was perfect from Pugh, as the defenders and goalie left her loads of space to score.
Three quick changes to Mexico’s lineup would be made before Press would top off the game with a phenomenal solo effort to put the USWNT up 3-0. Julie Ertz would deliver a one touch pass to Press at the top of the box, and a magnificent fake-shot created her all of the space she needed to drive the ball into the bottom corner in the 87th minute.
The game would end 3-0 at the final whistle, with Ertz picking up the Woman of the Match after playing all 90 minutes and picking up an assist. It was the perfect send off before the team takes off to Europe next week, training at the Tottenham Hotspur grounds in London before getting to France somewhere around June 7 for their first game.
The USWNT kicks off their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup bid on Tuesday, June 11 against Thailand at 3 p.m., with other group stage games against Chili and Sweden to follow. The women will hope to continue their dominance at the national level, and repeat their World Cup winning performance of 2015.