COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (April 4, 2019) – In a World Cup tune up friendly, the night belonged to the United States Women’s National Team and Colorado Native, Mallory Pugh. After going down in the second half to Australia, the Lady Yanks came roaring back to win 5-3.
Colorado Native Mallory Pugh Scores Winner, Brace As USWNT Defeat Australia 5-3
The Americans came out with a fire as red as their jerseys. They created numerous chances from the opening minute. The best early chance came from Tobin Heath on a volley in the box, but it went wide.
Alex Morgan opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Crystal Dunn had a cross deflect up in the air and bounce in the final third. Morgan ran onto the ball, dribbled into space, split the center backs, and fired a sliding chip over goalkeeper Lydia Williams to score. It was Morgan’s 100th goal for the USWNT.
While the Americans were going for chances in volume, the Matildas chose to commit numbers defensively and counter attack. The tied the match up the game in the 29th minute. A counter attack led to Lisa De Vanna getting the ball out wide. She cut inside and shot with her left foot over and past goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. The half ended 1-1.
Australia took an early lead in the second half. Caitlin Foord got the ball outside the box, dribbled up the middle, spun around a marker and scored.
After getting a number of chances, Tobin Heath finally finished one in the 53rd minute. Emily Sonnett sent the ball to the far post as Heath drifted into space. She headed the ball into the top of the net, giving Williams no chance.
Just eight minutes later, Megan Rapinoe got on the score sheet. Like two of the other goals on the night, she got the ball outside the box, moved into Zone 14, then fired a bouncing shot into the bottom left hand corner.
The feel-good story of the night belonged to Highlands Ranch, CO native Mallory Pugh. She subbed in for Rapinoe in the 64th minute. It only took her 38 seconds after stepping on the field to score. With some great passing in the box, she got the ball to the side of the net, and shot across goal, inside the post.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park erupted as the scoreline shifted to 4-2.
The two sides traded chances in the final minutes. Captain Sam Kerr scored on a header in the 81st minute to make it 4-3. The Socceroos could not find an equalizer. Pugh added a chip in stoppage time record a brace and the match finished 5-3.
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) April 5, 2019
Morgan reaches the century mark: This was a World Cup tune up friendly, but it will be remembered in USWNT history. Alex Morgan scored her 100th goal for the senior national team in this game to open the scoring in familiar fashion.
Sentimental moments: The Colorado-leaning crowd were audibly excited for the natives Mallory Pugh and Lindsey Horan. It had to be spectacular for Pugh to come on as a substitute and immediately score in front of her friends and family. Never mind it being the game winner. Or getting a second in stoppage time.
Work to be done: Both teams showed spectacular attacking prowess in this friendly, as expected. Both center back pairs however struggled with players come at them to ultimately score. The USWNT will be a force in possession at the World Cup this summer. Australia was good in transition. Both have some sharpening up to do if they want to win knockout round game 1-0.