My 3 Thoughts on USWNT 5, New Zealand 0
The U.S. Bounces Back After a Surprising 0-0 Tie vs the Czechs
The USWNT beat New Zealand 5-0 on Sunday in the SheBelieves Cup. Here are my three thoughts on the game:
• U.S. pressure = three Kiwi own-goals. How often you have ever seen a team score three own-goals in one game? That’s what happened in the first half on Sunday as the U.S. took advantage of New Zealand’s high back line and poured on the pressure, creating a trifecta of own-goals. Midge Purce and Sophia Smith created a lot of that pressure from the wings, and the U.S. was able to produce a rebound performance after an unexpected 0-0 tie against the Czech Republic in the opening game of this tournament.
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• Ashley Hatch and Mal Pugh continued their good club form from last season. Hatch, the reigning NWSL Golden Boot winner, scored her third goal for the U.S. in limited time after coming on in the second half. And Pugh, who got her mojo back last season with Chicago, continued that resurgence by adding the fifth goal for the Americans. Neither player is young-young, but Hatch (26) and Pugh (23) are still plenty young enough to have a real future with this USWNT.
• New Zealand has been pretty disappointing. For a team that has competed in a lot of World Cup and Olympic tournaments, the Football Ferns appear to have regressed and fallen behind middle-tier European teams like Iceland (which it lost to in Game 1) and the Czechs (who have gotten impressive ties recently against the U.S. and the Netherlands). As the next World Cup co-host, New Zealand won’t have to worry about qualifying, but they do need to be concerned about performing well. And right now the signs aren’t encouraging.
What were your thoughts on the game? You can share them in the comments below.
Um...besides never seeing any team give up three own goals, they were by the SAME PLAYER! What should we call this--a "negative hat trick"?
These games are more about fitting the new parts into a working machine than the actual results. The camp itself is most important. It’s shame the competition couldn’t be a bit stronger, but the team itself has always been crazy competitive. I recall Grant’s pod before the WC. Vlatko was shocked at how competitive a training session had been, and the players looked at him like he was nuts, told him that was mild, and that every day would get more intense.
We expect too much from these women. Let them gel into a unit before they beat the rest of the world 8-0.