Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan tied a World Cup record by scoring five times — and added three assists — as the United States Women’s National Team crushed Thailand, 13-0. It was a stunning open to Group F play for the USWNT, which also got braces from Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis. Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh, and Carli Lloyd also scored for the United States, which also set a record for largest margin of victory in the tournament’s history.
The final match in the opening round of group games, the U.S. had earlier seen Sweden battle to a hard-fought 2–0 win over Chile in the other Group F game. The Yanks came into the tournament with a combined 1,893 caps, the most of any team and also having the oldest average age in the competition by seven months, at 29. That experience showed as an injury to Becky Sauerbrunn, described by the team as a minor quad issue, did little to unsettle an America team that wasn’t defensively tested through 90 minutes.
It didn’t take long for the Yanks to get their first sight of goal, Morgan thought she had stroked the U.S. into the lead in the opening five minutes only to see a late flag from the assistant rule the goal out for offside — a decision confirmed by VAR, which is being used at the tournament for the first time. Morgan eventually opened the scoring in the 12th minute. An initial cross from Rapinoe fizzed its way back out to Kelley O’Hara, who produced a delightfully chipped cross to evade a Thailand defense lacking in height and pick out an awaiting Morgan at the back post.
This one counts! @AlexMorgan13 scores her 4th career #FIFAWWC goal to give the U.S. the early lead on a @Kelleymohara assist. pic.twitter.com/hiCgNcLYbr— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
By the 20th minute, the U.S. had doubled its lead. Morgan fed through the Washington Spirit’s Lavelle, who opted to test 5-foot-5 goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying from distance, a decision that proved fruitful with Charoenying left flat footed and straining to reach.
YES WE WILL ACCEPT THIS ROSE! @roselavelle doubles the @USWNT lead with a sweet strike from distance pic.twitter.com/52BmByOjLw— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
Three minutes later, the referee controversially decided not to award Mewis a penalty, with VAR checking the incident but deciding not to intervene.
Thailand’s first venture into U.S. territory came in the 28th minute — a brief foray forward that ultimately ended in a long range strike from Rattikan Thongsombut, one of 10 players in the Thailand squad who play their club soccer for Bundit Asia, which was easily collected by an untroubled Alyssa Naeher.
Tobin Heath appeared to mishit a free kick that she had herself won on the very edge of the box, but the loose ball eventually fell to the feet of Horan, having rebounded off Mewis, with the Portland Thorns midfielder blasting home from all of five yards out just past the half hour mark.
IT'S THREE! @LindseyHoran pounces on the loose ball in the box off a Tobin Heath free kick. #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/73zdchSWeA— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
The U.S. continued to dominate: Morgan nearly doubled her tally in the 38th minute, skillfully turning in the box to buy herself a yard and get a shot off, only to see a Thai defender make the block. Horan then whipped a cross into the box, narrowly missing both Rapinoe and Morgan before Heath danced to the byline before eventually being squeezed out by a swarm of light blue shirts.
The oft-busy Thai goalkeeper saw an onslaught on her goal in first-half stoppage time, first denying a diving Julie Ertz header before a well-struck Horan shot cannoned off a defender. Charoenying remained alert to parry a Lavelle header that narrowly missed an onrushing Heath on the way towards goal as the U.S. looked to heap further misery on a Thailand team that ended the half with 28% possession and one shot. There was still time for a second penalty appeal before halftime — this time Horan was sent to the ground from a sliding challenge but VAR did the U.S. no favors for the third time in the opening half.
Saying the second half was more of the same would be an understatement, with the U.S. dominating possession, carving out chances with ease, and firing at will against a Thailand side that continued to fade as the game went on. Mewis opened her World Cup account and took the U.S. goal tally to four inside the opening five minutes.
Sam Mewis got the @USWNT’s second-half goal fest started with her 1st career #FIFAWWC goal pic.twitter.com/GgC19jlGAu— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
With Thailand looking confused and dejected, the USWNT netted a further three goals in as many minutes. Morgan’s second made it 5–0, once again proving clinical at the back post to guide home a Heath free kick flicked on by a towering Horan as the Americans continued to flex their height advantage and organization on set pieces. Then it was Mewis’ turn to get her second, with Crystal Dunn working the ball well out wide before pulling it back to Lavelle in the box, whose shot deflected kindly to Mewis who made no mistake. Mewis then turned provider as Lavelle made it a hat trick of braces, thanks in part to some more wide play from Dunn as the U.S. fullbacks continued to set up camp in the attacking third with Thailand offering no attacking threat.
The rout is on!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
Alex Morgan’s 5th career #FIFAWWC goal gave the @USWNT a 5-0 lead on Thailand early in the 2nd half pic.twitter.com/idp7TgXoUB
With the score at 7–0, Jill Ellis turned to her bench before the hour mark with Lavelle and Heath making way for Lloyd and Christen Press. The changes perhaps temporarily tempered the U.S. as the Yanks continued to probe but didn’t find a clear opening for their quietest 10-minute spell of the game before Ellis made Mallory Pugh her third and final substitute, an attack-minded one as the 21-year-old entered the fray for center back Ertz, who had spent a lot of the game as a midfield stopgap, helping cover what was essentially a back two.
It wasn’t until the 74th minute that Morgan finally bagged her hat trick, bringing a Press pass under her spell before lashing a shot past the Thai keeper who was increasingly struggling to stop anything fired towards her.
Header ✅— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
Left Foot ✅
Right Foot ✅@alexmorgan13 with a PERFECT hat trick at the #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/xhzUklhBDD
In a break against tradition, the 78th minute saw Thailand’s second shot of the game as substitute Taneekarn Danga, who plays for Bangkok FC in the Thai capital, fired in from distance but failed to test Naeher.
The tournament’s biggest win of the opening round had previously been host France’s 4–0 win over South Korea, a scoreline that the Yanks would replicate in the final 10 minutes alone as they seemed increasingly more determined to make as big a statement as possible. Rapinoe, who had perhaps been America’s least productive forward despite seeing a lot of the ball on the left wing, finally put her name on the score sheet, stretching to poke a curling Pugh pass into the goal.
RAPINOE JOINS THE PARTY! 9-0 USA!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
Come for the @mpinoe goal, stay for the celebration pic.twitter.com/DhF7Th17qj
Morgan then hit her fourth, curling a shot into the top corner in the 81st minute, taking the lead to double digits.
ALEX MORGAN SCORES AGAIN— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
Her 4th goal of the match makes it 1️⃣0️⃣ for USA pic.twitter.com/Pq9zwbbhR4
Substitute Lloyd squandered her best chance of the game so far in the 84th minute before Pugh rounded the keeper as the U.S. regained possession from a Thailand goal kick, continuing to dominate in the air and on second balls to take the scoreline to 11–0.
Morgan sealed her player of the match performance with her fifth goal as she equaled fellow American Michelle Akers’ record for number of goals in a single World Cup game — first set against Chinese Tapei in 1991. This time, the Orlando forward showed off some great skill to set herself up for a sweetly hit volley. The goal also pulled Morgan to within one of Akers’ fifth-place total 107 career goals for the USWNT.
ALEX MORGAN FOR THE RECORD! @alexmorgan13's 5th ties Michelle Akers' single-game #FIFAWWC record ... and makes it 12-0 USA! pic.twitter.com/52Z0ePG6vI— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
Finally, three minutes of stoppage time was enough for Lloyd, who had scored a hat trick the only time the two sides had previously met — in a 9–0 U.S. win — to become the seventh different goal scorer as the Yanks once again sprung an attack directly from a weak Thailand goal kick. Lloyd coolly slotted home to put a bow on the performance and hand Thailand an unlucky 13th.
The U.S. stands atop the group after one round, a full 11 goals ahead of Sweden on goal differential. The Yanks will look to seal their qualification into the knockout round on Sunday against Chile before facing Sweden on Thursday, a repeat of the most-played fixture in Women’s World Cup history.
Well, THAT was fun.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 11, 2019
Sit back, relax and watch the @USWNT's record-breaking #FIFAWWC performance in our 90 in 90 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/0LdFIaKVHs