The US women’s national team defeated New Zealand 5-0 on Sunday, with Kiwi defender Meikayla Moore unfortunately scoring a hat-trick of own goals to secure the victory.
Moore began the match with the first of three own goals at the five minute mark, derailing a pass from Sophia Smith into the net. Her second and third goals came from assists by Margaret Purce.
The Liverpool player was ultimately subbed off after 40 minutes on the pitch.
“This is a game and own goals are part of the game – it just happens,” said head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “It’s unfortunate that it happened to the same player, but she’s incredible and I actually thought her positioning was very well — it’s just unlucky sometimes.”
The American side then took matters into their own hands as Ashley Hatch and Mallory Pugh added to the scoresheet.
“We’re excited about the win. They needed to see goals and that’s good. We’re hoping that this is just the beginning,” Andonovski said. “I thought that we were able to impose ourselves early on and set up a rhythm of pace that that suits us.”
The victory over New Zealand was an improvement over their first SheBelieves Cup clash, where the reigning world champions side managed just a 0-0 draw against Czech Republic.
The USWNT concluded the game with 19 shots and four on goal compared to New Zealand’s six shots and on goal.
While Andonovski praised his side for the effort on the pitch, he admitted there is still a long way to go before the young generation of USWNT works well together.
“We all understand this is a process,” Andonovski said. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, now we scored five goals and all of a sudden we’re so good.’ No, we still have a lot of areas to build on and grow in.”
The starting lineup on Sunday also averaged slightly older than Thursday’s group, but with less USWNT caps among them at just over 36 per player. Becky Sauerbrunn skewed the numbers as she made her 201st appearance for the American side.
The US women’s national team play their final match of the tournament on February 23 against Iceland.
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