AUKLAND, New Zealand — Sophia Smith scored twice for the USA within the opening half and the two-time defending champions kicked off the Girls’s World Cup with a 3-0 victory over match first-timers Vietnam on Saturday.
Lindsey Horan added a aim for the favored People, who’ve received 4 World Cups general and are vying for an unprecedented three-peat on this 12 months’s match.
Vietnam drew comparisons to Thailand, the group the People routed 13-0 in of their 2019 World Cup opening recreation. However Vietnam was surprisingly resilient, saved the sport nearer than anticipated, and goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh stopped Alex Morgan’s first-half penalty try.
Morgan was knocked to the sector clutching her calf after making an attempt for the rebound off her missed penalty, however she shortly returned. It was simply her second penalty miss for the USA.
Smith, one among 14 People taking part in of their first World Cup, confirmed why she was named each U.S. Soccer’s Participant of the Yr and the Nationwide Girls’s Soccer League MVP final 12 months together with her two first-half objectives.
Smith scored off a cross from captain Lindsey Horan within the 14th minute. Smith and Horan celebrated with a choreographed handshake after the aim. She scored once more in first-half stoppage time to make it 2-0 going into the break. The US was at first flagged as offside earlier than a video evaluate confirmed the aim.
The U.S. group was infused with younger expertise together with Smith and Trinity Rodman after settling for a disappointing bronze medal on the Tokyo Olympics. Among the many veterans, 38-year-old Megan Rapinoe made her 2 hundredth worldwide look in opposition to Vietnam.
Rapinoe, who scored within the World Cup ultimate in France and was named that match’s finest participant, didn’t begin. She introduced earlier than the group left for New Zealand that this might be her final World Cup and he or she would retire from her skilled group on the finish of the season.
Rapinoe and midfielder Rose Lavelle, who have been each restricted by accidents within the run-up to the match, each got here in as substitutes within the 63rd minute. Rapinoe sported vivid blue hair.
The youngest participant on the group, 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson, was additionally a second-half sub.
Horan scored right into a wide-open internet off a cross from Smith, who was rushed by the goalkeeper and deftly despatched the ball again to her. Horan, who was not too long ago engaged, kissed her ring in celebration.
There was early drama when Rodman, the daughter of former NBA nice Dennis Rodman and one of many younger newcomers on the group, appeared injured after falling laborious on her again when she was tackled by defender Tran Thi Thu. Rapinoe warmed up on the sidelines and a stretcher was introduced out on the filed, however Rodman stood and returned to the match a couple of moments later.
Saturday’s recreation was the primary assembly between the USA and Vietnam. The Vietnamese misplaced two exhibition matches forward of the match and fell 9-0 to Spain in a closed-door tune-up match in Auckland final Friday.
Additionally in Group E are the Netherlands and Portugal, which meet Sunday in Dunedin. Portugal can be making its first World Cup look.
The group performs all of their matches in New Zealand, which is co-hosting the match with Australia. The US performs the Netherlands in a 2019 ultimate rematch on Thursday in Wellington.
Ought to the USA high the group, the group will head to Sydney for the spherical of 16.
Again dwelling in the USA, an indication was erected on the North Garden of the White Home that stated “Go Workforce USA! We’re all behind you.”
AP Girls’s World Cup protection: and