By Zola Elder
SOPHIA SMITH BECOMES SECOND YOUNGEST USWNT PLAYER TO SCORE MULTIPLE GOALS IN A WORLD CUP GAME; LINDSEY HORAN SCORES HER THIRD CAREER WORLD CUP GOAL; EIGHT USA PLAYERS MAKE THEIR WORLD CUP DEBUTS; MEGAN RAPINOE BECOMES THE 14TH USWNT PLAYER TO REACH 200 CAPS
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (July 22, 2023) – The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a 3-0 win against Vietnam in the team’s opening match at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. A brace from forward Sophia Smith and a goal from midfielder and team captain Lindsey Horan led the team to victory in front of a crowd of 41,107 mostly American fans at historic Eden Park.
The USA improved to 7W-2D-0L all-time in opening matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and have started each of the last four tournaments with a win. The USWNT has now won 13 consecutive matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, extending its own record for most consecutive wins in the competition.
While Vietnam, one of eight debutants in this year’s tournament and now the 39th nation to play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, played a tough match defensively, the USA dominated the proceedings and ended up piling up a 28-0 margin in shots. Vietnam tackled hard and played in a compact 5-4-1 formation, packing its defensive third when the USA was in possession.
The match was physical from the jump as a gritty Vietnam side made its presence known with several fouls. The USA had an early scare in just the first minute as forward Trinity Rodman fell hard after a challenge and needed attention from the medical staff before returning to the field moments later.
The U.S. created plenty of scoring chances and surely had enough excellent looks at goal to more than double the scoreline, but never stopped looking for ways to break down Vietnam. With Horan pulling the strings in midfield, the U.S. created the opening goal in the 14th minute as she received the ball near midfield and played a brilliant, driven pass toward Morgan at the top of the penalty. Morgan flicked a first-time pass with her heel into Smith’s path as she ran into the left side of box. Smith then took a touch and fired low with her left foot through the legs of goalkeeper Tran Thị Kim Thanh to open the scoring. Her goal marked the fastest at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup thus far.
After continuously threatening in the attack, the USA nearly doubled the lead in the 44th minute when a VAR review awarded the USA a penalty kick for a foul on Rodman moments earlier. Morgan stepped up to the spot, but Tran, who made four saves on the night in an impressive performance, came up with a diving stop to deny her attempt.
Smith then struck again before the halftime whistle, this time in the seventh of eight minutes of stoppage time that were awarded in the first half after Vietnam consistently tried to waste time. Tran came off her line and punched out a cross from defender Naomi Girma, but the ball flew directly to Smith just inside the box where the reigning U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year finished once again with her left foot through the legs of Tran with Julie Ertz and Morgan providing distraction in front of the net.
In the 63rd minute, forward and USWNT legend Megan Rapinoe earned her 200th cap after coming on as a substitute for Morgan. Rapinoe, who announced in early July that she will retire at the end of the 2023 NWSL season, becomes just the 14th player in U.S. Women’s National Team history to reach the milestone.
The USA then capped off the match in the 77th minute with a goal from Horan. Captaining the squad for the first time at a world championship event, Horan finished with a poised and powerful strike from the center of the penalty box following a brilliant effort from Smith to strip the ball from a defender inside the penalty area on the right side. She then cut a pass back to Horan who had time to settle and smash her shot home past several Vietnam defenders.
By the end of the match, eight USA players made their Women’s World Cup debuts – Savannah DeMelo (who also made her first USWNT start), Girma, Emily Fox, Andi Sullivan, Smith, Rodman, 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson and Sofia Huerta.
The U.S. will now face the Netherlands on July 27 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara (1 p.m. local / 9 p.m. ET on July 26 on FOX, Telemundo, Universo and Peacock) in its second Group E match and will finish group play against Portugal on Aug. 1 back at Eden Park in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau (7 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET on FOX, Telemundo and Peacock).
- The USA’s starting lineup to open the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup featured five players who were part of the USA’s 2019 Women’s World Cup championship squad and six players making their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut.
- The lineup to open the match against Vietnam averaged 27.8 years of age, making it the youngest lineup to start a World Cup match for the USWNT since 2007.
- Midfielder Savannah DeMelo made her first career start against Vietnam, becoming the first player in USWNT history to make her World Cup debut – and start at a World Cup – in one of her first two caps.
- Sophia Smith’s goals marked her first career World Cup goals, her 13th and 14th career goals and her first and second scores of 2023.
- Smith became the 34th USWNT player all-time to score at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- Alex Morgan’s assist was the 50th of her career and her fifth all-time at the FIFA Women’s World Cup
- With Smith’s assist and two goals today, 16 of the USA’s 21 goals in 2023 (76%) have been scored or assisted by a player under the age of 25.
- At 22 years and 346 days of age, Sophia Smith is the second-youngest player in USWNT history to score multiple goals in a World Cup game and the youngest since Cat Whitehill in 2003. She is the youngest USWNT player to score multiple goals in her World Cup debut.
- With her brace, Smith became the first player to score multiple goals at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- After coming into the match in the 75th minute, at 18 years, 257 days old, Alyssa Thompson became the second-youngest player to appear for the USA at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the fourth teenager all-time to appear for the USWNT at the WWC.
- Lindsey Horan’s goal marked her third career World Cup goal and the 28th of her international career.
- With her assist to Horan, Smith has now recorded assists in back-to-back games, also setting up Rodman’s opening strike against Wales in the USA’s July 9 Send-Off Match.
- In a nice piece of news for the USA, midfielder general Rose Lavelle got on the field to earn her first minutes in several months and look sharp, hitting the crossbar late and almost scoring, but the ball bounced down just in front of the goal line.
-U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Women’s National Team vs. Vietnam
Date: July 22, 2023
Competition: 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand; Group E
Venue: Eden Park; Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand
Kickoff: 1 p.m. NZT (9 p.m. ET on July 21)
Weather: 58 degrees; partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
VIE 0 0 0
USA – Sophia Smith (Alex Morgan) 14th minute
USA – Sophia Smith 45+7
USA – Lindsey Horan (Sophia Smith) 77
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 23-Emily Fox (3-Sofia Huerta, 84), 4-Naomi Girma, 8-Julie Ertz, 19-Crystal Dunn (5-Kelley O’Hara, 84); 17-Andi Sullivan, 10-Lindsey Horan (Capt.), 9-Savannah DeMelo (16-Rose Lavelle, 63); 11-Sophia Smith, 13-Alex Morgan (15-Megan Rapinoe, 63), 20-Trinity Rodman (7-Alyssa Thompson, 75)
Substitutes not used: 2-Ashley Sanchez, 6-Lynn Williams, 12-Alana Cook, 14-Emily Sonnett, 18-Casey Murphy, 21-Aubrey Kingsbury, 22-Kristie Mewis
Head coach: Vlatko Andonovski
VIE: 14-TRAN Thi Kim Thanh; 17-TRAN Thi Thu Thao, 13-LE Thi Diem My, 2-LUONG Thi Thu Thuong (3-CHUONG Thi Kieu, 61), 4-TRAN Thi Thu, 5-HOANG Thi Loan; 10-TRAN Thi Hai Linh (16-DUONG Thi Van, 90), 23-NGUYEN Thi Bich Thuy (22-NGUYEN Thi My Anh, 62), 11-THAI Thi Thao, 7-NGUYEN Thi Tuyet Dung (21-NGAN Thi Van Su, 46); 9-HUYNH Nhu (Capt.) (12-PHAM Hai Yen, 76)
Substitutes not used: 1-DAO Thi Kieu Oanh, 20-KHONG Thi Hang, 6-TRAN Thi Thuy Nga, 8-TRAN Thi Thuy Trang, 15-NGUYEN Thi Thuy Hang, 18-VU Thi Hoa, 19-NGUYEN Thi Thanh Nha,
Head coach: Duc Chung Mai
Stats Summary: USA / VIE
Shots: 28 / 0
Shots on Goal: 7 / 0
Saves: 0 / 4
Corner Kicks: 10 / 0
Fouls: 13 / 13
Offside: 5 / 0
USA – Lindsey Horan (Caution) 56th minute
VIA – HUYNH Nhu (Caution) 75
Referee: Bouchra Karboubi (MAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Fatiha Jermoumi (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Soukaina Hamdi (MAR)
4th Official: Ivana Martincic (CRO)
VAR: Juan Martinez (ESP)
AVAR 1: Ella De Vries (BEL)
AVAR 2: Michelle O’Neill (IRL)
Visa Player of the Match: Sophia Smith
COURTESY USA SOCCER COMMUNICATIONS