June 8, 2015
US opens World Cup with 3-1 win over Australia
WINNIPEG--Megan Rapinoe scored two goals and Christen Press added another as the United States defeated Australia 3-1 at Winnipeg Stadium Monday night. With the win, the U.S. takes the lead in Women's World Cup group D.
|Megan Rapinoe scored two goals in the USA's 3-1 Women's World Cup opening win.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
A couple of early saves by Hope Solo kept the game scoreless before Rapinoe struck for her first in the 12th minute. A long free kick was sent into the area. The ball went off two players who were attempting a header and fell to Rapinoe. The U.S. midfielder settled the ball, made a cheeky spin move and sent a shot that deflected off a defender into the lower right corner.
The Australians had a pair of good chances, in the 13th minute, when Samantha Kerr beat Ali Krieger and volleyed a shot that a diving Solo managed to get a hand on. Seven minutes later, after a nice buildup, Lisa DeVanna's shot at the near post went just over the corner.
DeVanna got that chance back in the 27th minute with the equalizer. Michelle Heyman split two U.S. defenders in the box, and left the ball for DeVanna who was wide open and able to slip the ball into the lower right corner for her fifth career World Cup goal.
The goal seemed to wake up the U.S., who put some pressure on the Matildas in the closing minutes of the half. in the 39th minute, Rapinoe played a free kick from the left side into the box for Abby Wambach, who missed getting a head on it. A minute later, Press put a shot right at Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri. Wambach had a weak header in the 42nd minute that was easily handled by Barbieri.
Barbieri made a two handed stop of a header by Julie Johnston in the 39th minute, that led to a breakaway by the Aussies. Kerr broke through and looked to have a clean chance on goal, but Becky Sauerbrunn chased her down and blocked the shot away for a corner kick.
The heat, the artificial turf and the U.S. began to wear down the Australians, whose legs appeared to get heavier as the game wore on. The U.S. got the go-ahead goal in the 61st minute on a play that started with a long goal kick by Solo. Rapinoe trapped the ball at the midfield line and played it forward to Sydney Leroux on the left. The Canada-born American made a long run before slipping the ball for Press to put into the lower right corner.
Rapinoe put an exclamation point on the game, that was actually closer than the score indicated, in the 78th minute. Carli Lloyd won possession of the ball at midfield and got the ball to Rapinoe on the left. The U.S. midfielder made a run into the penalty area and ripped a shot into the right side of the net.
Alex Morgan, the big question mark going into the World Cup, got into the game in the 79th minute, coming on for Leroux. Her first touch of the ball minutes later resulted in a shot that went wide left.
With the win, the U.S. sits atop the group with three points, after Nigeria and Sweden played to a 3-3 draw earlier in the day.