The United States Women’s National Team took an emphatic first step toward qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 6-0 win over Mexico at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe each scored a brace and the U.S. also got scores from Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath in a comprehensive victory.
With the win, the U.S. grabbed three early points in Group A and improved to 35-1-1 in the all-time series against Mexico and 28-1-0 in Concacaf Championship matches. The Yanks now lead Group A on goal differential after Panama beat Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0, in the other group match.
Jill Ellis offered up no real surprises in her starting XI. Rapinoe wore the captain’s armband.
The first half saw only one goal but the entire 45 minutes seemed to be spent in Mexico’s defensive third. The visitors didn’t muster a single shot attempt in the opening half as the one-way traffic was all toward goalkeeper Bianca Henninger.
The U.S. scored just three minutes in. Rose Lavelle found Morgan, who tried to slip Rapinoe in alone on goal but the defense cut out the pass. It only went as far as Lindsey Horan, who sent it back in front for Pinoe to redirect home, putting the USWNT on top, 1-0.
RAPINOE!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 4, 2018
The USWNT finds the back of the net only 3 minutes into the match. pic.twitter.com/wjj2V6wSvJ
Lavelle fired just wide of goal in the 11th minute and that was indicative of the first 20 minutes or so for the U.S., as players were a bit off, just missing decisive passes. Lavelle just missed Rapinoe in the 17th minute, putting her pass just behind the Seattle Reign star. Four minutes later, Heath got to the end line and crossed one into the area but it was too close to Henninger. Lavelle then smashed a shot off the left post in the 26th minute.
The Mexican defense then threw a block party, getting in front of shots by Horan in the 34th and 35th minutes, and also deflecting a Rapinoe effort wide. A minute later, Morgan fired a right-footed shot from distance right at Henninger. Morgan then slipped Rapinoe into the area in the 37th minute, but Henninger barely got the outside of her left foot on the shot to deflect it wide and keep the score at 1-0.
Horan’s free header on a corner in the 40th minute was off target and Lavelle fired way over the bar a few minutes later as the Yanks took their 1-0 lead into the locker room.
The U.S. had 74% of the possession in the opening period and an 11-0 shots advantage (4-0 on goal). The Yanks passed at an 81% clip compared to Mexico’s 52%.
It didn’t take long for the U.S. to extend the lead after the break. Horan was fouled just seconds after the restart, setting up a dangerous set piece. It looked like Mexican midfielder Nancy Antonio got a head on the service and the ball came off the crossbar and fell into the area, where Ertz smashed it into the back of the net to make it #DosACero.
Julie Ertz makes it 2 for the USA! pic.twitter.com/GlgZnzFglv— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 5, 2018
Mexico tried to pull the Ertz goal right back after an Abby Dahlkemper turnover. Stephany Mayor turned and fired in the box but the shot was wide, giving Mexico its first shot attempt 48 minutes into the game.
The United States kept coming. Crystal Dunn’s cross in the 50th was just behind Morgan in the area and two minutes later Heath found Rapinoe but the flag came up. It appeared Morgan was the player offside — not Rapinoe — but the whistle blew. Heath then stole a pass at the top of the area and chipped a shot just over the crossbar in the 54th minute.
Morgan made it 3-0 with a free header off a Rapinoe corner kick delivery in the 57th. She blew past her mark on the set piece and nodded home her 91st career international goal.
Rapinoe ➡️ Morgan = GOAL— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 5, 2018
Alex Morgan scores her 91st goal for the USWNT and puts the game away. pic.twitter.com/h5RE7cGnoz
Four minutes later, the U.S. scored again. This time it was Heath powering home a header off a great cross from Dunn to make it 4-0 in the 61st minute.
Another goal!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 5, 2018
Tobin Heath makes it 4-0 for the home side. pic.twitter.com/CTrZu0WmCq
Nine minutes later, Rapinoe bagged her brace. A Horan header fell for second-half sub Carli Lloyd, who had her touch deflected by Henninger and Rapinoe waltzed in and cleaned up by tapping it into the empty net to make it 5-0 in the 70th minute.
Rapinoe again!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 5, 2018
The USWNT forward scores her second goal of the match and makes it 5-0. pic.twitter.com/7AUIUQxUQZ
Morgan wanted a brace of her own and she missed a couple of good opportunities to get it right after Rapinoe’s second goal. She sent a flick wide of the net in the 73rd minute. Just seconds later, she got a second free header on a corner kick but didn’t hit it squarely and missed wide from point-blank range. But Morgan kept coming and finally got her second of the game in the 80th minute, taking a ball from Becky Sauerbrunn — making a rare attacking run from her center back position up the left side — and tucking it home to make it 6-0.
The goals keep on coming for the USWNT!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 5, 2018
Alex Morgan scores her second goal of the night ⚽️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/YrpWshlgFN
It was Morgan’s 19th goal in her last 21 international matches and her 92nd career goal with the USWNT.
Katie Johnson hit one wide in the 86th on a half chance in a last-ditch effort for Mexico to get on the board. Mexico only took a few shots and only one from distance was on frame, though it didn’t trouble Alyssa Naeher.
The USWNT never let up and continued to press the attack for the rest of the game. Horan thumped a strong header right at Henninger in the 87th and nearly set up Mallory Pugh but she was ruled offside.
After two minutes of stoppage time, the full-time whistle blew mercifully for the Mexicans.
The United States is now 8-0-0 in matches played at WakeMed Soccer Park, 14-0-0 in home World Cup qualifiers, 12-0-2 in 2018, and 19-0-3 dating back to last year’s Tournament of Nations.
The USWNT will be back in action on Sunday night against Panama at 5 p.m. ET. Another performance like tonight’s on Sunday would have all of us feeling like this: