USWNT Take A Pair from New Zealand 5-0

By Sean McCaffery, January 21, 2023

There is a widely held axiom in sport that in back to back games, the losers of the first have an advantage in the following game. In that the Kiwis held the US goalless in the whole of the first half, if they are able to build upon that, it gives them a far better chance than if the reigning WC champs take the lead earlier. At the same time of course, the USWNT seek to score far earlier, they had control of the game but did not tuck away early chances.


Hatch, unable to catch a long ball as it is grabbed up by the NZ GK. Swanson catches up to another long one on the wing but it goes over the end line as she is unable to control it . Off a throw, too strong of a touch from NZ puts the ball over the touchline giving the US a throw in their offensive third. Sanchez is run through and stays down as she receives treatment. From a throw in from their offensive half, the ball was lost, recovered and has gone back to the GK 2x for the US. NZ gets to the end line and wins a corner, great pressure has given them the kick. It is cleared, the US gets a run on goal, Sanchez tackled to the ground in the area, but there was no foul. The relentless pressure by the Ferns has the US utilizing long balls as yet another one goes out of touch. Girma lofts one well over Cook on the far side. Huerta steals it away in the area, it bounces around to Girma again, then gets to Murphy who plays it out. Still trying to break the press with the long ball, it is not working now for 12’, try something else? Huerta finds Sullivan on a quick restart but she is just wide from very far out. Another long ball for Hatch is played out by the defense. Murphy again getting the ball, this time 3x in one possession as they can’t get it out of their defensive third. Now it goes back to their defensive half on the way out, a foul by the home team. Sanchez on goal drifts wide, but offside, she was off by a few feet. The great speed of Dunn keeps a ball in play but she then goes over the end line with Girma and Cook passing the ball back and forth on the backline is not a pretty sight. Hatch gets the ball taken just feet in the area by the GK again, well off her line. Another long ball played out by NZ as the US attacks, the throw in leads to a corner as Swanson went end line on her mark. The free kick is played into then barely out of the box, Swanson sends it in again finding the head of Sullivan, but her effort goes wide. Rodman wins it, sending her defender to the ground and comes back as it goes from Rodman to Hatch 1-0 at 22’, the US has found the back of the net first and early. Last game, the goals came in quick succession but took more than twice as long to begin. Will the press of the NZ team keep up or in that they are trailing now will they switch it up. NZ goes over the top, Murphy more than up to the task, brings it in without issue. Swanson turns on the jets, getting to the ball, cutting it back off an errant pass to the top of the 6, Sanchez under pressure bangs it off the GK for a corner. A high ball sent in from afar is reeled in by the NZ GK. A DFK taken by Sullivan is played long to Swanson, she does get it this time, plays it back, it is put goal ward and headed away, out of danger. Dunn to Swanson who goes end line then plays it back and the US moves the ball around. Swanson returns the favor to Dunn and then it comes back out again. A deep throw in taken and leads to a GK. Sullivan is rocked, hit in the back as her head is bouncing around but not struck, she stays down. The restart 2x goes over the midline and to the GK yet again, this pressure will work and get a run on goal for the home team. Over and back again, now played in from 15 yards out but partially cleared it’s lifted into the path of Swanson as a foul is called from about 20 yards out, just right of the goal, I would go on goal with this one. Lavelle does jus that, it goes  into the wall, she gets it again, loses it, cleared all the way back to her GK who gets it yet again. A foul is called for the US, right at midfield, it goes into the defensive end. With more back and forth at the midfield line.  Sullivan back to the center circle and sent into the US end, again Murphy gives to Girma, to Lavelle finding Rodman in the area, taken down stays on the ground but no call, she was tackled US football style but out of the area. Lavelle puts her foot in the path of the ball and scores on a ball played in from afar by Huerta. First goal, Hatch got it before Morgan, this time it was beyond Ashley and Rose sent it home, 2-0. Huerta with a great steal, yet it goes back another 30 or so yards, they are breaking lines yes, but in the wrong direction. Into the US end again, it has taken them many passes to get it out of their end, just over half field and the US commits a foul. Dunn steals a poor first touch away and again way into the US end. A poor pass is picked off, then tackled out for a deep throw for NZ. Girma, to the GK 2X, both unpressured.  Sanchez has the ball stuck under her feet and is fouled, hard driven off the ball and ground by the impact. Sweeper Keeper in full effect today yet again. Swanson for Rodman near the area but on the wrong side of Trinity and it’s poked away. An errant pass for Rodman is taken by NZ, they pay it over the touchline. It gets to Sanchez, just wide of goal near the center of the box, again pulled wide, her half chance is well wide.

At the half the only difference between this and their last match is the US has found the back of the net more, on fewer chances. The ball is far too much in the US backfield, Sanchez seems to be a bit off and Rodman may be suffering from a hard foul that was not called, they may be early subs. The defense has to not spend 5-10 passes just to get it past half field.


NZ will take the opening kick of the 2nd stanza. Immediate pressure has a US throw inside of 10 seconds and they keep it on a throw in, then a centered ball and another throw, this one coming out. You can hear the US players calling “NO OUT”, to keep the ball in the NZ end of the field. This pressure gave the US a close turn over but the ball was lost and it went down to their goal area. Rodman pressing deep, Hatch coming for the loose ball is sent sprawling. Sonnet a half time sub gives to Sauerberunn another sub. Murphy almost gets 3’ without a touch. Sanchez for Swanson who finds Hatch, she goes just wide with a high degree of difficulty, but a striker must bury those, getting the ball in the 6. A very close offside called on Swanson. Great control, a few one touches in their offensive third, the last pass was lacking and picked off for the US.  Ferns are still pressing a lot, the US is doing the same in returning the favor. Cleared out of the box for a US throw. Rodman can’t get on the end of the ball from the wing, it is played out onto the foot of Swanson. Again the US in the goal box, unable to finish. At this time last game it was 1-0, now 3. From the 6 on their defensive half, the US holds it but does nothing with it, a deep throw in their end for NZ. Again into the US defensive end. Sanchez with an unforced error and NZ pressing in the US area. Sonnet gets it and it’s out of danger. Lavelle beats three, feeds Hatch and Riley is down, she fell very awkwardly, a non contact injury, was stuck by Ashley but after she went down, she remains on the turf in pain. Ali is up holding here right wrist with the captain band on her left arm. Back on goes the captain. Three local pros are now up Purce, WiIliams and Mewis, is today the time for Mewis r Midge to get one as Lynn did last game? Rodman had Sanchez, but her body came around to much, sending the ball in the middle, not outside and NZ takes it away. Sanchez, Rodman, Sullivan and Hatch are out. Fox called for offside. Purce making her presence felt with a hit on a player. Huerta gets to the ball, but pays for it on the touchline. Swanson loses it on the end line as she mishits it. Williams holds it and a long shot brings the GK to ground but an easy save, there was no much behind it. Lavelle tries to get a bit fancy to Midge but did not work out well, but into the hands of the GK. 40 yards out NZ DFK, it falls in the 6, but they foul. Williams gets a high pass lets it hit, sends it into the six, Rose is there to left foot it home, 4-0 @ 74’. Murphy well out of her area with no pressure? Lavelle squares to Fox who has a run. Swanson taken down by a slide tackle was fouled and a corner? is awarded as she still writhes on the ground. Rose, over the ball to the tallest to ever score for the USWNT, for her 2nd, who does it off the header, Korniek at 81’, the US attacks again, Williams finds the side netting. Sonnet has a shot but gives to Hatch who is high and wide. Purce reels in a long pass from Girma, waits too long, has to beat the defender and GK who makes a foot save. Williams like Purce now with Gotham is wide on her attempt. Great ball movement gets it to Swanson in the 6, again it’s played out. Swanson from the side of the 6 earns a corner off a parried save by Nayler. Huerta wide on a ball headed back by Purce in the goal box. Huerta wide again from just beyond the area.

Despite the score, NZ played, I felt a better game, their constant pressure was a battle for the US to deal with. The difference here was the US being far better converting their chances, and did so earlier, changing the complexion of the game from the previous. The defense for the US was under pressure most of the first half and handled it well other than not getting the ball out of their half quickly. Nowhere near World Cup ready, but the US does have time to get it together and was without some of their more veteran players.