Going into this opening match, it was well-known that the American women would have a sizeable advantage over their opponents from Thailand. The record-breaking result was a clinic in dispossession and ball control by the USWNT in their all red kits. The American side controlled the ball a whopping 75% of the duration and was passing with great efficiency throughout the match. One notable exception might be left winger Megan Rapinoe, who seemed a bit amped up throughout, lifting several balls to the stands in threatening positions. As for scoring, what started as a trickle in the first half became a flood in the second, as the U.S. wore down a Thailand side that simply looked overwhelmed. The Thai defensive concept seemed to be to put the ball out of play at every opportunity. It was, at best, a flawed strategy that kept the ball at the feet of the world’s top-ranked team.
- 12th minute Alex Morgan on a slick feed from Kelly O’Hara
- 20th minute Rose LaVelle left-footed in space between three defenders after a pass from Morgan
- 32nd minute Lindsay Horan on the rebound in front of the net after a Tobin Heath set piece
- 50th minute Sam Mewis on a laser strike after a cross from Megan Rapinoe
- 53rd minute Alex Morgan playing cleanup off a second Tobin Heath setpiece
- 54th minute Sam Mewis off a rebound from a strike by Rose LaVelle
- 56th minute Rose LaVelle off a beautiful cross by Mewis
- 74th minute Alex Morgan on a glorious back dribble between two defenders before sending the ball to the far post
- 79th minute Megan Rapinoe in a rare US counterattack, beautiful long feed from Morgan and a dashing run by Rapinoe behind the defense
- 81st minute Alex Morgan on a feed inside the box from Rapinoe. One quick dazzling touch before poking the ball to the back of the net before the keeper could even react
- 85th minute Mallory Pugh slickly dribbling past the keeper for her first World Cup tally
- 87th minute Alex Morgan with a clever soft touch over her defender’s leg before poking a nifty half-volley into the back of the net
- 92nd minute Carli Lloyd slips behind the defense on a feed from Morgan for her first goal of the night after two rare miscues. It was her fifth-consecutive World Cup match with a goal
While there was plenty of scoring to go around, this was clearly Alex Morgan’s night, she ran the offense and took over the match, scoring five goals and assisting on three others. Alex Morgan wasn’t at 100% in the last FIFA World Cup, dealing with a string of lingering injuries that slowed her preparation and limited her minutes and effectiveness. If this is her at full-strength, look out.
Fun fact. Alex Morgan has scored goals more than every other TEAM in the World Cup thus far. It’s early, but it makes her the clear favorite for the Golden Boot going forward.
There wasn’t much to learn about the American team’s defense tonight, as Alyssa Naeher faced only two shots all evening, and while both were on target, neither was particularly threatening. USWNT coach Jill Ellis chose to tinker with the offensive alignments, making all three subs in the second half once the rout was on. First Carli Lloyd and Christen Press for Rose LaVelle and Tobin Heath, then going all out on offense pulling defensive midfielder Julie Ertz for attacking wunderkind Mallory Pugh.
We shouldn’t look too much into this demolition of a clearly overmatched foe going forward, but 13-0 is still a nice cushion to have, should the U.S. end up tied at the top of the group and need to look at the goal differential to finalize seedings for the knockout rounds.
The USWNT will next face a Chile side that gave Sweden a run for their money on Sunday, June 16th.
Image Source: AP Images/Alessandra Tarantino