Megan Rapinoe was the key to the U.S. attack, with four assists and a goal of her own, as the USWNT defeated Mexico, 6-2, in the second international friendly of the break — this time at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX. Carli Lloyd also scored her 100th international goal, joining an elite group of USWNT players.
While Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan was the captain Thursday night, Lloyd was given the honor today as Jill Ellis sent out a 4-3-3 lineup again.
The biggest surprise of the starting 11 was Jane Campbell getting the start in goal. The first goalkeeper not named Alyssa Naeher that fans have seen in a while.
Lloyd started looking for that 100th goal early and had an opportunity in the second minute, but wasn’t able to convert. However, barely a minute later, Mallory Pugh and Alex Morgan released on a break from a pass by Rapinoe. Pugh received it and deftly moved around Mexico’s goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago, putting it home for the Yanks’ first goal of the match.
Lindsey Horan went off the field in the eighth minute with a calf muscle injury, but she would make it back onto the field after getting some attention on the sideline.
Mexico played a higher defensive line this match, and it was able to put more pressure on the U.S., but it made the visitors more susceptible to a fast and confident U.S. squad. The U.S. had more chances, first in the 12th minute when Pugh turned up field to press the attack to no avail, and later when Rapinoe broke though on what was probably an uncalled offside, and put it right into the hands of the Mexican keeper.
Mexico had its first real chance in the 16th minute, when a counter attack resulted in a pair of corner kicks — the second of which Monica Ocampo bent into the goal while Campbell was too easily pushed into her own net and thus in no position to defend it.
The game opened up and both the U.S. and Mexico had chances as the teams went back and forth, testing the other. Mexico had more possession in the first half of this game, as its pressing style seemed to work against the U.S. squad. Indeed, it garnered another corner kick in the 24th minute and this time it was Kiana Palacios that scored for El Tri. Campbell did a better job of staying out of the back of her net, but got caught in open space and the ball went over her head and into the goal.
The U.S. would counter with its own converted corner kick less than a minute later, as Horan headed Rapinoe’s delivered ball into the net to pull the Yanks even.
Mexico kept up its high pressure and forced Campbell to actually make a few saves, but it wasn’t able to get a third goal.
Carli Lloyd finally got her 100th goal in bizarre fashion in the 35th minute. Rapinoe put the ball across the box, where it was kicked back to the center of the area and Santiago got a hand on it. However, it popped up for Morgan to put it closer to the goal but not quite all the way. Finally, Lloyd was able to simply step forward and head the ball into the back of the net.
Morgan had a chance in the 37th minute on a pass from Rapinoe, but couldn’t slip it past the keeper. She did have a second chance on the resulting corner, but wasn’t able to convert that one either.
Horan pulled up in the 39th minute with the same calf injury, and was finally subbed off for Haley Hanson, making her international debut. Hanson was one of three players making their debut. She was joined by Tegan McGrady in the 58th minute, and Hailie Mace in the 59th minute.
Alex Morgan finally got on the board with an assist from Rapinoe in the 44th minute to give the U.S. a 4-2 lead.
Both Mexico and the U.S. had chances before the end of the half, but the 4-2 scoreline would stand as the half came to a close.
In the second half, both teams settled in and tried to find their form. It would be the U.S. to do so in the 64th minute. Rapinoe put the ball ahead to Morgan, but the 50-50 ball between Morgan and the goalie bounced back to Rapinoe, who calmly chipped the ball back into the box and into the goal for her only goal of the match.
Cool as you'd like from Rapinoe. pic.twitter.com/XJwbbbzGjs— Our Game Magazine (@OurGameMagazine) April 8, 2018
Finally, in the 67th minute, the unthinkable happened. Jill Ellis put Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris in the game. Three players got their first cap and Harris made an appearance? Who are you and what have you done with the real Jill Ellis?
The U.S. started to dominate on the ball, and Rapinoe almost got her fourth assist but Allie Long wasn’t able to finish and the ball went out for a corner kick. However, Rapinoe’s fourth did come when her corner kick was sent in and Morgan scored her second goal in the 69th minute. The pair would try to do it again in the 76th minute, but couldn’t make it happen.
The U.S. had a few more opportunities before the end of the match, including a couple half chances for Morgan to complete her hat trick, but didn’t convert on any and finished the second friendly against Mexico, 6-2.
The United States now has a commanding 34-1-1 record against Mexico. The next scheduled match for the USWNT is June 7 against China at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.