Slow-starting USWNT blitz New Zealand in second half as Lynn Williams scores on return


The United States ladies’s nationwide workforce opened 2023 with a 4-0 win over New Zealand on Wednesday in Wellington.

Mallory Swanson (nee Pugh) scored the opening purpose seven minutes after halftime, bringing life to a U.S. assault that regarded principally absent within the opening 45 minutes. Swanson added a second purpose 9 minutes later, and Alex Morgan and Lynn Williams additionally bought on the scoreboard.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Carabao Cup, FA Cup, extra (U.S.)

The groups will meet once more on Saturday in Auckland because the People use the journey to organize on and off the sphere for this summer time’s Girls’s World Cup. The U.S. will play the whole group stage of the World Cup in New Zealand and on the two venues getting used this week, giving the two-time defending champions a dry run of what their event life will seem like.

JUMP TO: Greatest/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Postmatch quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Fast response

1. The U.S. nonetheless must put its collective foot on the fuel

Urgency, urgency, urgency. Little has modified within the sample of collective U.S. type: the People are finest when enjoying at a sooner tempo. A significant piece of success in recent times has been excessive press that pressured opponents to show the ball over in harmful positions.

Wednesday’s first half was a dud from the U.S., who tried to methodically break down New Zealand’s compact 4-4-2 by enjoying central. The outcome was plenty of middle backs Becky Sauerbrunn and Naomi Girma enjoying between one another, adopted by unforced turnovers in the midst of the park. The saving grace for the U.S. is that New Zealand, lacking a number of beginning gamers because of the video games happening exterior of FIFA home windows, provided nothing going ahead.

Superior health and 4 substitutions to begin the second half was a part of the rationale the floodgates opened. However the basic urgency from the People was markedly totally different. Swanson and Trinity Rodman attacked house on their respective flanks. Emily Fox and Sofia Huerta pushed increased from their fullback positions.

The U.S. determined to take the sport to New Zealand. Why it took 45 minutes to take action stays a degree for enchancment.

2. The No. 6 place stays an enigma

The Julie Ertz-sized gap stays in place for the US. Wednesday introduced a distinct try at an answer. Taylor Kornieck made her first begin for the U.S., enjoying within the No. 6 position that Andi Sullivan principally occupied in 2022.

Kornieck performs increased up the sphere for San Diego Wave FC, so the transfer was a big gamble to some extent. U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski informed the HBO Max broadcast throughout pregame that Kornieck provided “an opportunity for us to try something different” and experiment with unpredictable actions.

The latter didn’t actually occur. Lindsey Horan typically dropped deep to create a double-pivot and get on the ball, however the Kornieck-Horan mixture discovered little room to play out within the first half, typically getting pulled large in makes an attempt to search out house. Kornieck was changed by Sullivan firstly of the second half, when the match modified considerably.

Whether or not Kornieck is a solution within the position or not, her very presence as a starter there on Wednesday means that Andonovski is but to decide on a solution within the place. Sam Coffey is one other, much less skilled possibility, as properly.

3. Lynn Williams is again at simply the best time

Lynn Williams is again on the sphere after practically a yr away as a consequence of a hamstring damage, getting into Wednesday’s match within the 67th minute. Williams final performed for the U.S. in February 2022 and didn’t play in any respect through the Nationwide Girls’s Soccer League common season. She was traded from the Kansas Metropolis Present to NJ/NY Gotham FC final week, on draft day.

A wholesome Williams affords the perfect defensive presence of any ahead within the U.S. pool. She alters the way in which the workforce defends from its highest level and permits for a better, extra relentless press. Williams returns at simply the best time for a U.S. workforce in want of that spark.

On Wednesday, she marked her return with a purpose, too — and a formidable one. Seven minutes after checking into the match, Williams adjusted her physique mid-air to get her head on Rodman’s cross and generate sufficient energy to comfortably beat New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler.

The purpose was an exclamation mark on Williams’ long-awaited return. Even in a crowded ahead pool, Williams affords two-way play that Andonovski will want on the World Cup.

Greatest and worst performers

BEST: Rose Lavelle — As soon as once more, Lavelle stays the one (wholesome) U.S. participant able to breaking strains towards defensively disciplined opponents. On the dribble or making a delayed run, Lavelle is the catalyst of this workforce. That backheel help? Come on.

BEST: Mallory Swanson — A quiet first half gave method to a fast brace within the second half. For membership or nation, Swanson operating at defenders in isolation is a recipe for achievement.

BEST: Margaret Purce — A boring first half from the People was highlighted by Purce’s need to assault defenders 1-v-1. It was an encouraging return for the winger who was dropped from the roster in October and November.

WORST: Ashleigh Ward — Caught out of place on a number of events and uncovered 1-v-1, significantly within the second half.

WORST: Gabi Rennie — Even because the hosts defended properly within the first half, they’d no outlet going ahead.

WORST: Grace Neville — The U.S. discovered its most pleasure by isolating Neville on her flank.

Highlights and notable moments

Within the first half, the U.S. dominated possession, however principally in areas that did not pose a risk to the New Zealand protection.

Swanson scored the primary two targets of the sport in fast succession.

After the match: What the gamers/managers mentioned

USWNT’s Lavelle: “We had to find the ball a little more in between their seams, and give it a little in the more in the middle for them to collapse and then find our wingers. Tough first half for us, obviously some things to clean up, but a really good response.”

USWNT’s Williams: “It feels amazing, but I give it to my teammates – they’ve been there with me through the whole way and supporting me and being like, ‘You’ve got this, Lynn.’ So it feels incredible.”

Key stats

– Swanson scored her fourth brace for the U.S. nationwide workforce

– Morgan scored her one hundred and twentieth worldwide purpose

– This was the most important ever dwelling crowd for a Ford Soccer Ferns sport with 12,508 followers in attendance

Up subsequent

United States: The U.S. face New Zealand in a pleasant once more on Jan. 20, earlier than enjoying of their first match of the SheBelieves Cup towards Canada on Feb. 16.

New Zealand: After their pleasant towards the U.S., New Zealand face Portugal in a pleasant on Feb. 17.

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