The United States Women’s National Team blanked Russia, 4-0, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX, in the first of two friendlies between the two teams. Allie Long and Crystal Dunn led the way for the Americans, scoring two goals apiece, though Long missed several golden chances to complete her hat trick. The U.S. improved to 8-0-1 against Russia all-time, and 7-0 in Dallas.
How it Happened
It was the U.S. that looked the better side right from the start, Crystal Dunn scored in the 10th minute after a lovely through ball from Carli Lloyd. The attack continued and the second goal of the match came off a corner kick in the 18th minute. Rose Lavelle sent a ball into the box and Long was there to put it home.
Lavelle was a star throughout the first half as she danced her way past defenders and was a danger to the Russian back line. She almost recorded her second assist of the night, but Long’s attempt hit the post.
The USWNT did struggle to stay onside at times, as the Yanks had five offside calls in the first half alone.
A third goal would come in the 41st minute, as Dunn caused a turnover and finished her opportunity with a fantastic strike into the bottom right corner.
It was a similar story in the second half. The USWNT was the far dominant side and had multiple opportunities to extend the lead. Long missed a penalty in the 67th that Pride forward Alex Morgan helped set up by sending Mallory Pugh in alone on goalkeeper Alena Belyaeva. But Long would redeem herself a few minutes later with her second goal of the match.
In the end, it finished 4-0 as the U.S. takes the first of two friendlies between the two sides this week. The second will be played Sunday in Houston.
Alyssa Naeher picked up the clean sheet in net as she only had to make one save, meaning Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris could get the start Sunday. Russia only managed to produce five shots.
The 4-4-2 was the formation of choice tonight for the USWNT. The wings were a strong part of the U.S formation. Pugh and Lavelle had the pace to wreak havoc on the Russian back line. Both of these two young players have a bright future ahead in the starting lineup.
The experiment with Long continues and it appears she may have found her place in the defensive midfield. She was a presence in the air and was a versatile player in the midfield, winning challenges and the all-important aerial battles in the middle of the pitch.
Despite producing 33 shots, the Americans only had seven shots on frame. A total of nine offside calls was also a stat that wasn’t a positive takeaway. It appears the experiment up top will continue. There hasn’t been a clear-cut favorite to become the starter up top.
Two Orlando Pride players were featured in the match. Morgan and Ali Kreiger came off the bench to start the second half. Morgan produced two shots, one of which was on goal and looked dangerous throughout. Krieger missed a shot over the bar.
The U.S. returns to action on Sunday for the second match against Russia at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.