For the second time in four days, the USWNT took on Russia in an international friendly. This time, the teams met in BBVA Stadium in Houston, TX. The U.S. continued its domination of Russia with a 5-1 win. Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris got the start, and Alex Morgan would come on later in the second half.
How it Happened
The rematch started off with the U.S. looking as good as usual, however, Russia was a bit better to begin this game than they were Thursday. Russia actually pushed into the U.S. side of the field a few times in the early going. On one of the first breakaways by the U.S., Carli Lloyd slipped past the back line only to have Russian goalkeeper Yulia Grichenko come out to save it and take a knee to the head. It was a clean challenge on both sides and no fouls were given.
The USWNT had several chances, pressing forward again and again, but Grichenko did a good job stopping the U.S. until the 19th minute, when Crystal Dunn was fouled in the box for a penalty. Carli Lloyd stepped up and buried the spot kick for the first goal of the day for the U.S.
There were many more chances for the U.S. after that, but it was young phenom Rose Lavelle who scored her first international goal in the 37th minute. Fellow youngster Mallory Pugh launched a beautiful cross-field long ball to Lavelle on the run down the left side, allowing the Boston Breakers’ rising star to put it away like she’s been scoring international goals for years.
Seconds later, Meghan Klingenberg sent in a cross to Dunn for the third U.S. goal in the 38th minute.
Russia then pressed down the field, and in the 41st minute, Casey Short was called for a penalty in the box. Nadezhda Karpova stepped up and put it straight down the center and just under the crossbar to beat Harris for Russia’s only goal of the match.
Well, that’s not completely accurate. The Russians did have an own-goal to give the U.S. a 4-1 lead.
In the second half, things settled down a bit as legs got tired, especially on the Russian side, and the wave of goals abated, though not right away. Just a few minutes into the second half, Pugh made another perfect cross into the box for Dunn to get her second goal of the match, and make the score 5-1 for the U.S.
Harris made up a bit for the PK goal in the 49th minute when she came off her line and made a great save to keep the Russians to one goal. The U.S. produced several more chances through the remainder of the game, but ultimately would settle for a comfortable 5-1 win. Pride striker Alex Morgan came on in the 54th minute and had one good chance in the 69th minute, but again Grichenko came up with a save. The Russians’ best chance of the day in the run of play came in the 82nd minute but, ultimately, they couldn’t connect on the cross.
The U.S. once again dominated a Russian team they should dominate. There were plenty of offside calls to start the game off, but given the high defensive line that Russia plays, that was to be expected. Dunn continues to push her game forward with a brace today after netting two on Thursday. Lavelle and Pugh showed that they are the future of this team with both having veteran-like showings. What we couldn’t find out was anything regarding the ongoing goalkeeper rotation. There just weren’t enough opportunities to make any assessments in that regard. Jill Ellis has a lot to be happy about with these results after a disappointing SheBelieves Cup.
The USWNT will be back in action in June when the Yanks take on Sweden and Norway in more international friendlies — this time overseas.