Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan scores sixth Olympic goal in cameo
By Official Florida FC
A five-goal win over New Zealand is not out of the ordinary for the United States women’s national soccer team. Saturday’s five-goal win was an emphatic and cathartic result that has invigorated the Americans’ chances for advancing to the knockout rounds of the 2020 Olympics.
The USWNT had four goals ruled out but had enough firepower to flame New Zealand 6-1.
Rose Lavelle got the party started with a ninth minute goal that counted. The Wisconsinite made a run from midfield that wasn’t checked. New Zealand keeper Anna Leat was off her line and didn’t have the near post nor the far post covered.
That was enough for Lavelle who scored her first Olympic goal.
The USWNT improved to 16-1-1 all-time against New Zealand. Both of the program’s most recent victories over New Zealand – in St. Louis in 2019 and in Cincinnati in 2017 – were by five-goal margins.
Lindsay Horan, Christen Press and Alex Morgan also scored for the USWNT. New Zealand produced a pair of own goals in the 63rd and in stoppage time to make the result appear further one-sided.
Morgan’s goal was her first for club or country in seven matches. The Orlando Pride forward entered the match in the 74th minute and scored her sixth career Olympic goal in the 88th. She drifted into space at the backpost and produced a two-touch finish past Leat to give the USWNT a 5-1 lead.
Morgan’s Orlando Pride teammate Ali Riley captained the Football Ferns onto the pitch in Saitama, Japan. Riley played all 90 minutes at fullback. Considering two members of New Zealand’s back four conceded own goals and the third was a center back who did not track the midfield runs of Lavelle and Horan, Riley may have had the best night of the quartet.
Riley and Morgan were not the only players with Sunshine State ties who stepped onto the pitch. Former Florida State defender Casey Krueger made her Olympic debut in the 84th minute for the Americans.
Krueger,who was one of the last cuts for the 2019 World Cup roster, was able to represent the United States at a major international tournament for the first time.
The USWNT’s convincing win all but sealed a spot in the quarterfinals. The Americans have three points from two games and are in second place in Group G behind Sweden. A win or draw against ninth-ranked Australia in the final group stage match would likely set up a quarterfinal contest against either Brazil or the Netherlands on July 30.