Uswnt_-_asn_top_-_isi_-_celebrate_2019_wc_win_vs_thailand_-_6-11-19_-_brad_smith Brad Smith/ISI

USWNT starts strong, routs Thailand 13-0 in World Cup opener

The USWNT was expected to easily dispatch Thailand in its World Cup opener and the team lived up to expectations with a one-way dominant performace. ASN's John Halloran was in France for this report. 
BY John Halloran Posted
June 11, 2019
5:00 PM
REIMS, FRANCE - The United States women’s national team opened up the 2019 World Cup on Tuesday evening with a 13-0 victory over Thailand.

Head coach Jill Ellis made only one change from her preferred starting XI, moving Julie Ertz into the backline for an injured Becky Sauerbrunn and slotting Sam Mewis into the lineup. That left Lindsey Horan taking over duties in the No. 6 positon for the Americans on the night.

The U.S. knocked on the door early, even seeing an early goal from Alex Morgan disallowed when the linesman ruled Morgan offside on an early tally. On the play, Abby Dahlkemper had fed a long, lofted service into the box from near the half line which Horan knocked down to Morgan waiting on the opposite side of goal.

However, the Americans still managed to get on the board inside the first third of the half when Thailand gave Morgan a second chance. Taking the ball on the flank, Megan Rapinoe won the endline and served the ball across the face of goal. Thailand managed to knock the pass away, but it fell to Kelley O’Hara on the outside of the box who then took the ball down the other endline and back across the goal again.

This time, Morgan stayed onside, tucked the chance away, and the U.S. went up 1-0.

Eight minutes later, Morgan proved central again, this time flicking a pass from O’Hara to Rose Lavelle. The midfielder took the ball to her left foot and deposited it past goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying to double the Americans’ lead.

The final goal of the half came at the 30-minute mark when Thailand took down Tobin Heath on the edge of the area. On the subsequent free kick, Heath fired in a low, driven service which fell to Horan. The midfielder then hammered the loose ball into the roof of Thailand’s goal for the U.S.’ third score of the night.

In the final minutes of the half, the U.S. laid siege to their opponents, but couldn’t muster another tally before the break.

Coming out from the locker room, the Americans took full control of the game. Mewis added another goal only five minutes in with a cannon shot from distance. Then in the 53rd minute, Heath played in a set piece that Horan knocked down to Morgan for a fifth. Two minutes after that, both Mewis and Lavelle each added goals to widen the Americans’ lead and set the stage for a full-on rout.

Carli Lloyd and Christen Press entered the match as the U.S.’ first substitutes in the 57th minute and both had chances before Mallory Pugh joined the fray in the 69th minute. But despite the bevy of offensive substitutes, it was Morgan who would claim the Americans’ eighth goal of the evening in the 76th minute.

Megan Rapinoe added another in the 79th minute off a feed from Pugh with Morgan adding three more in the 80th, 85th, and 88th minutes. Lloyd added a final tally in stoppage time.

In total, the uneven scoreline proved a predictable result from such a mismatch. However, seven Americans were also able to make their World Cup debuts in the game, including the entire U.S. midfield—gaining valuable experience before tougher games down the road. The injury to Sauerbrunn also appears to be minor, a good sign for the Americans, as she participated in team warm-ups and her sitting out the match was reported to be “totally precautionary.”

The U.S. moves forward in group play on Sunday with its second group-stage match against Chile in Paris.

John D. Halloran is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

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