Again, merciless United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) thrashed co-host New Zealand 5-0 in the second match of the two-match international friendlies between both countries ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final billed for July in Australia and New Zealand.
By this result, Team USA completed a sweep in the Down Under Tour against New Zealand on Friday, closing out the January camp window with another win against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland to bring the overall score to 9-0.
The reigning World Champions had earlier hammered New Zealand 4-0 in the first international friendly tie played in Wellington in the early hours of Wednesday.
But in late Friday’s match, Ashley Hatch, Mallory Swanson, Rose Lavelle, and Taylor Kornieck scored goals in the victory.
The game was a better 90-minute performance by Team USA after the slow opening half against New Zealand last Wednesday as the coaching staff led by Coach Vlatko Andonovski continued to take a closer look at the middle third, making some slight adjustments as Lindsey Horan was unavailable.
Horan returned to France with her club team Olympique Lyon, and Lavelle got the start in the midfield with Andi Sullivan and Ashley Sanchez.
The team ended their first half with two goals and extended the scoreline over the second half just as the scoring opportunities are reflective of the creativity, athleticism and technical ability of the team.
The clean sheet by the defense means the game-winner goes to Hatch, who scored the opening goal after an effective build along the left side between Crystal Dunn, Sanchez, and Trinity Rodman who delivered the assist on Hatch’s goal.
With the Superstars Megan Rapione and Alex Morgan not in the line up, rising star Trinity Rodman earned the trust of Coach Andonovski to lead the line on the night. The winger earned the start after a great second-half appearance off the bench on Wednesday.
She provided a level of selfless play for the team and constantly looked for passes into the box as Team USA is now on a two-game win streak to begin its 2023 campaign.
Coach Andonovski’s wards will have another test in February in the SheBelieves Cup with USA hosting Brazil, Canada, and Japan on home soil.
Meanwhile, with five months to the start of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final in Australia and New Zealand, Nigeria’s Super Falcons are still inactive since their better forgotten international friendly match against Japan on October 5, 2022.
Super Falcons lost 2-0 to a dominant Japan side in their friendly clash at the Noevir Stadium, Kobe last October with striker Mina Tanaka scoring the two goals for the Nadeshiko. The encounter was the third ever between both teams at competitive and friendly matches.
Before then Nigeria has been on a losing streak of seven games including losing to South Africa, Morocco and Zambia to end the 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco empty-handed with Super Falcons Head Coach Randy Waldrum who is also the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Head Coach becoming the first foreign coach not to lift WAFCON trophy with the Nigerian team.
Yet, the coach whose contract has just been renewed by his first employers, University of Pittsburgh, for another four-year term running up to 2027 and his second employers, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are yet to make public when Nigeria will embark on the preparations for the global football fiesta which will feature 32 countries for the first time in the history of the competition which started in China in 1991.
Nigeria has been drawn in the same Group B with co-host Australia, Olympic Games Champions Canada and Europeans Ireland.