U.S. Women: Standout Performance for Crystal Dunn as USWNT Beats Haiti 5-0

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Detroit (September 16, 2015) – It took the United States Women’s National Team just under 6 minutes to get on the scoresheet, with Carli Lloyd heading home a cross from Crystal Dunn to give the U.S. women the lead and Dunn her first ever national team goal or assist. In front of 34,538 fans, the largest crowd ever at Ford Field for a soccer game, the United States won 5-0 over Haiti. 

In a game that was never expected to be much of a contest, it took Haiti about three minutes to get the ball out of their own half and almost four minutes to complete their first pass.

The  best chances for the U.S. throughout the first half came when they got the ball wide and crossed into the box. Dunn, Press, and full-backs O’Hara and Klingenberg routinely found space on the wings creating chance after chance on crosses. However, the Americans were a bit wasteful with chances, and took until the 32nd minute to double the lead, with Christen Press burying another Dunn cross for the 2-0 lead.

Carli Lloyd added a third on a 38th minute on a penalty kick after Christen Press was taken down in the box. The World Cup Golden Ball winner completed her hat-trick in the 69th minute, heading home a corner.

Jill Ellis’ starting lineup was a bit interesting, as she started Tobin Heath in the deeper central midfield role next to Morgan Brian. Heath, who normally plays as an attacking winger, looked uncomfortable in her new position. Had the opponent offered more attack, her lack of defensive quality might have been a significant problem.  

Speaking after the game, Ellis said that with Lauren Holiday retiring, they have a hole to fill in the midfield and she sees Heath as a potential solution.

A game against an opponent like Haiti is never going to be one to take too much from. The U.S. was 4-0-0 against Haiti coming into the game, scoring 29 goals and conceding none. However, with Olympic qualifying just months away, Ellis can’t waste any opportunities to learn about her team and start preparing for the absence of players like Shannon Boxx, Lauren Holiday, and Lori Chalupny, who have already announced their retirements from the national team.

One player who certainly added to her case for a spot on the Olympic team was NWSL Golden Boot winner Crystal Dunn. Dunn, who scored 15 goals for the Washington Spirit in the NWSL in 2015, was a constant threat from wide, assisting on the first two goals for the U.S in the first half from the right side. The midfielder capped off a great night with her first national team goal in the 93rd minute. It was a standout performance for Crystal Dunn as she hopes to earn a spot on the Olympic roster. 

Ellis said she was happy to see Dunn perform so well and in multiple positions, starting wide right, moving centrally next to Alex Morgan, and even playing on the left.

Both Ellis and Dunn emphasized the confidence she was able to build during her NWSL season as key to her emergence with the national team.

Asked about the impact her fantastic NWSL season had on her status with the national team, Dunn had this to say:

“I gained a lot of confidence over the last four months, and everyone asks, ‘how did you deal with not making the team?’ I think I just went back to the basics and tried to get better as a player. I think coming into this camp a different Crystal stepped into this camp. I’m definitely looking forward to a future with this team.”

Photo via Getty Images, Credit: Duane Burleson